Sixteen months is a long time to have a bad taste in your mouth. After having had to wait that long the Mashpee High School football team finally rinsed away the halitosis of a blowout loss in the 2019 state playoffs to the Nantucket Whalers by dominating the opener of this year’s Fall 2 campaign. In resounding fashion the Falcons stomped NHS by a 43-0 score, beginning their season in flying fashion.
“I don’t think (our players) really forgot what happened,” MHS head coach Matt Triveri said. “There was a degree of wanting to make amends.”
And make amends they did. From the opening kickoff, which hit a Nantucket lineman and was recovered by Mashpee, the visitors to the island made big plays. Mashpee ran out to a 16-0 lead by the end of the first quarter and was up by 30 at the half.
While the offense was certainly showing signs of clicking, there was no doubt that the defense was already in fine form. Mashpee gave up just three first downs all game long and rarely allowed a trip into the red zone. NHS had one chance in the first half to do some damage, after a big throw put them down to about the Falcons’ 20, but MHS stuffed Nantucket on four straight plays after that to take the ball back, and then marched right down the field to score their last touchdown of the first half.
The defensive showing by Mashpee was top-notch. Shea Eaton had four tackles for losses, and Jack Vinitsky piled up nine tackles and a sack. Dakohta Dias added five tackles and a sack, and Kayden Eaton had six tackles.
“We were flying to the football,” Triveri said. “Our defensive line and our linebackers played exceptionally well.”
Mashpee made sure that its defense had a lead to protect by scoring on the first drive of the game. The early plays were a bit out of sync, but MHS finally punched it in on a five-yard run by Caesar Hendricks. A Ryan Hendricks to Matt Bowen pass gave the visitors an 8-0 lead.
After a three-and-out by Nantucket, Mashpee forced a punt by the Whalers that went awry for the home team. The snap to the kicker sailed far over his head and the ball was downed inside the Nantucket five. One play later Caesar Hendricks had his second TD of the first quarter on a run off right tackle. With the conversion, MHS led 16-0.
In the second quarter it was more of the same. The defense forced a kick, and Mashpee went in to score shortly after. A 15-yard run by Nick Santos put the Falcons ahead, 22-0. NHS then put together its best drive of the game, and got down to the 20, but the MHS defense held the fort and got the ball back, moving Nantucket back to the 25. From there Santos broke a 25-yarder to put the ball over midfield and then Ryan Hendricks turned a designed QB draw into a gain of 47 that ended at the NHS two. Jared Barr then bolted in on the next play for six more points, and a two-point throw gave MHS a 30-0 lead.
In the second half Barr and Aidan Cuozzo scored TDs to cap off the scoring.
Mashpee now preps for a game on the road Friday, March 19, at Norwell. The Clippers are a young team this year after going to the D6 south finals a year ago. Coach Triveri said he expects his team to face a squad that is well-coached and talented.
The game with Norwell does not count as a South Shore League contest. Triveri said that he hopes that his senior-laded team is able to continue to improve and gain more cohesion as they ready for the games that lay ahead.
“I’m not sure what we are yet. We’ll know in a few weeks. This is kind of what we expect. You expect kids to go out and make plays and they’re excited to be playing.”