It wasn’t that the Mashpee High School football team hit a switch and everything went right for them September 17 against Nantucket High School. It was more like the Falcons finally reached the inevitable tipping point after dominating and dominating for most of the game, just to see their 8-0 halftime lead slip down to just two points early in the third quarter.
Rather than wilt under the pressure of seeing Nantucket begin a comeback, they simply continued to apply pressure on the Whalers. That allowed them to blow the close game open and run away with a 28-6 victory over NHS for the first win of the 2021 fall season.
“At a certain point we just kind of wore them out,” Head Coach Matt Triveri said following his team’s win.
The wearing down was in large part due to the work put in by Mashpee’s linemen on both sides of the ball. NHS looked big up front, especially on defense, but the Falcons were stronger and more determined. All night long the MHS offensive line was able to get a big push, which allowed Kayden Eaton and the rest of the MHS backs to pile up some big runs, and the defensive line dominated the Whalers up front. A week spent worrying about the potential for Justin Bloise and Makai Bodden to make big plays had the defense fired up to prevent exactly that.
“We forced them into one thing. (Bloise and Bodden) every time they touch the ball you hold your breath because the minute they slip by they’re not going to be caught. They have really good athletes,” Triveri said.
Neither Bloise or Bodden really had any impact on the game because Nantucket was unable to get them the ball in space. Mashpee’s defensive line was in the backfield all night, with Eaton and Danny Mitchell making big plays from the linebacker spot thanks to the work of their front support.
“We tried to take the outside stuff away and force them to chip away,” Triveri explained.
Even with the defense doing work all night long, the Falcons led by just a touchdown at the half, thanks to an Eaton two-yard dive and a Thomas Hogan conversion run. Things got a bit dicey in the third quarter when Bloise hit a punt that pinned the Falcons deep in their own end and the subsequent return punt that the Falcons had to strike a few plays later wobbled out of bounds at the team’s own 14 yard line. Nantucket cashed that in with a TD by Carlos Aguiar with 2:34 left to play in the third quarter. MHS stuffed a Wildcat run by Bloise for the conversion to preserve an 8-6 lead.
From that point on it was all Mashpee. Eaton broke a long run on the next drive and found the end zone to push the lead and then Brady Johnston drilled the all-important extra point to make it a two score game at 15-6 with 11:34 to go in the contest.
“The way that we bounced back from everything was unreal,” Johnston said.
Less than a minute later MHS got the ball back. With the defense getting some great pressure they forced a desperation heave by Aguiar that was up for grabs and Ethan Costa picked it off to get possession back for Mashpee. This time it took a little over two minutes to find the end zone again as Johnston shimmied through some nice holes opened up by his line and scored to make it 21-6 with 8:14 left.
After the defense forced another punt, MHS put it away with Eaton’s third TD of the night. The line, led by Tighe Ferzoco, opened up a nice hole for the senior back and he broke away for a 50-yard scamper that put a bow on the victory.
The big run capped a 131-yard, three TD night for the Falcons feature back. Hogan and Aiden Cuozzo also had nice nights running the ball, as did Johnston, the QB.
“I really could not have done it without my linemen,” Eaton said. “I probably didn’t get touched until five yards, so it was like a guaranteed five yards, five yards, five yards. We just get pushing and punching them in the mouth. I couldn’t have done it without my linemen.”
Lineman Chris Dostilio said that the work of the guys up front started during the week and was a continuation of what the team had accomplished on the practice field in the days leading up to the game.
“We sold out all week, worked hard every day. Coach (Mark) Doucette’s working us, and when it came down to it, we just wanted it. We got off the ball. I don’t think it was just one thing, just continuous work in the offseason and practice this week came down to it.”
Mashpee will look to build on its gained momentum with a road trip to Weston High School tonight. WHS has gotten off to a poor start to the season, losing its first two games by a combined score of 93-12 following last week’s 51-6 loss to Boston Latin Academy.
MHS will line it up against Weston Friday, September 24, at 7 PM on the road.