One last game.
That's what the senior class for the Mashpee High School football team is looking forward to as they strap them on one last time, on Thanksgiving Day, in Sandwich against the Blue Knights.
MHS has posted a 6-3 record heading into their season finale, and a win would make it 13 of the last 14 years in which the Falcons have won at least seven games in a season. Sandwich enters the game with a 3-7 record for the year.
History is on the side of the Falcons. Despite being the smaller school in the rivalry, Mashpee has gotten the best of Sandwich eight times over the last 10 years. In one of the Falcons' two losses, a 7-6 defeat in 2015, MHS rested the majority of its first team players with that year's Super Bowl looming a few days later.
MHS has won the last three games in the series since that time, all by no fewer than two touchdowns. Last year the Falcons won by a 34-7 score. The year before they handled the Knights 28-15 and in 2016 Mashpee took a 39-18 decision.
The Knights have been reeling in the month of November. SHS closed out the month of October with a demonstrative 36-6 victory at home against an overmatched Monomoy squad.
Having missed the state playoffs, they entered the consolation round of the postseason and went 0-3. The first two defeats were both close games. They dropped a 27-21 decision at home to Dartmouth High School on November 1 and then the next week lost a heartbreaker on the road at Pembroke, 22-20. In their penultimate game of the 2019 season the Blue Knights were routed by Middleboro High, 48-7.
Mashpee earned its way into the state playoffs, but ran into a buzzsaw in the first round. After having routed Nantucket in the first week of the season, when the Whalers were missing the heart of their offense—Torraine Burton and Devonte Usher—a full-strength NHS team ferried over and exacted revenge with a blowout win in Mashpee. MHS rebounded in their consolation games, riding strong defensive performances to tame Martha's Vineyard, 20-6, and Bellingham, 22-6. Both of those wins came on the road.
Injuries have not been kind to the Falcons this year. Senior Kendall Rose was expected to be the team's leading offensive threat out of the backfield this year, but a balky ankle cost him the bulk of the season.
Nick Santos has handled the bulk of the carries in the backfield for MHS and has averaged about 5.5 yards per carry. Jared Barr and Jack Vinitsky have been gaining the tough yards. Ryan Hendricks has adapted well to taking over as the starting quarterback for the club this year, with Ian Miller moving to wide receiver because of an arm injury. Hendricks has led the offense consistently, with his legs proving to be a weapon.
Coach Triveri said that slowing down the Knights passing game will be key. Sandwich will have to give freshman quarterback Tim Bengtson time to throw the ball. CJ Wiper, a dynamic player after the catch, is also a concern.
Protecting Bengston won't be easy for SHS. Mashpee's defense has been excellent the last few weeks, with lineman Tyrese Charlton proving to be nearly unblockable last week.
“It's a big game, it always is, and we want to finish off strongly,” Triveri said.