If the Sandwich High School football team had simply felt sorry for itself and mailed in their performance at Norwell High School it would have been tough to blame them.

The Knights learned just two days before their first ever MIAA state playoff game that their defensive coordinator, John Napoleon, had succumbed to an illness and died unexpectedly. The team later found out that starting quarterback Brady Carroll’s ankle injury that he suffered in the regular season finale against Carver had not healed quickly enough for him to play in the biggest game in the history of the program.

The excuses were loaded up and could have been fired at will.

SHS (5-2) wasn’t having any of that, though. Head Coach Matt McLean said that his team gave the type of effort that made him beam with pride as the Blue Knights simply got after it from the start and took it to the Clippers. In a game that they never trailed in, Sandwich secured a 27-14 first round win over the Clippers and advanced to the Division 6 Elite Eight.

One of the players that would not allow the Knights to rely on excuses was senior running back Patrick Morin. The go-to guy for the team all year long came up with yet another elite performance, rushing for three touchdowns with 164 yards on the ground. Morin also made four tackles in the game. His first-quarter 10-yard TD put the team up by a 7-0 count.

Norwell rallied to tie the score, but another of the team’s would-be excuses came up big to reclaim the lead. With Carroll out of action the Knights had to call upon a freshman to make his first-ever varsity start. Adam Ferreira delivered, completing five-of-six passes for 74-yards, which included a go-ahead eight yard toss to Aiden Spurr on a bootleg to the right. Spurr went down and hauled in a low throw and the PAT put the team up 14-7 with just three seconds left in the first half.

Morin’s longest run of the game, which came in the third quarter, put the team up 21-7. Morin broke to the edge and pulled away for a 47-yarder that pushed the lead to two TDs. After a Norwell score, Morin came up big again, scoring from the 3-yard line with 3:44 to play to sew things up.

“We had a rough week. Our kids were playing for (Coach Napoleon). They did a great job of controlling the clock,” McLean said.

In a game that highlighted the next man up mentality necessary in football for success, it wasn’t just the young QB that came up big. McLean said that Cam O’Malley was fantastic filling in on the line for an injured Ryan Gill.

The win did not come with a great prize, though. Instead it came with a supreme challenge, a trip to play against a very good Abington team on the road in the second round. McLean and company are quite familiar with the Green Wave, and know that they will have their hands full.

McLean played at Abington High School, graduating there in 2007. He also served as an assistant coach at AHS before finding his way to the Cape.

The players were introduced to the Wave way back in August. Abington was one of the teams that Sandwich scrimmaged against during the preseason.

That exhibition game, McLean said, allows the team some familiarity. “The best thing for us is that we matched up against them in our first scrimmage. We’ve lined up against them before,” he said. “We know that they’re good.”

AHS (8-1) advanced to the second round by knocking out St. Paul, the 15 seed, by a 48-13 score in round one.

The game was supposed to be played Friday, November 12, but with inclement weather expected all weekend the date was moved up to Thursday, November 11. The late game was too late for this edition of the Sandwich Enterprise.

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