Junior running back Patrick Morin had the best game of his high school career so far, including a game-sealing 86-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter, to lead the Sandwich High School football team to an opening day win against Martha’s Vineyard on Sunday, March 14, at DeConto Stadium. In a windblown matinee at SHS, the Blue Knights scored a touchdown in each half and rode a great defensive showing to defeat the Vineyarders by a 14-0 score to begin the 2021 Fall 2 season.
Morin, who ran for 195 yards and scored both of his team’s touchdowns, said it took a team effort to vanquish the Vineyarders on the Knights’ home turf.
“It was a lot better than last year. Last year we weren’t the best-organized team. This year it’s definitely a lot better,” the game’s leading rusher said. “It feels great. Like I said, I can’t do it without any of the guys around me. It’s not a one-person team, it’s a whole team that was there and made that 195-yard game.”
With wind gusting at the stadium from sideline to sideline regularly between 20 and 30 miles per hour, the passing game for both teams was limited. That left things in the hands of the teams’ offensive and defensive lines to establish dominance, and it was the Blue Knights who did the better job in that capacity.
Defensively the Knights made plays all game long, none bigger than a fourth-down stop on the first play of the fourth quarter that turned the ball over to SHS at its own 14-yard line. On the very next play Morin was able to hit a hole on the right side of the line, pull away from an arm tackle and break it all the way to the house for a game-sealing 86-yard touchdown run.
“That was great blocking by my line. I can’t really do any of this stuff without them. He had me by the shoulder on that run, but it was just about willpower, the end of that game was all just straight willpower and doing whatever we needed to do to get that win,” Morin said.
The stop on the previous play was one of several that the Sandwich defense came up with over the course of the afternoon.
The first touchdown for Sandwich came on a fortuitous occurrence early in the game. After having forced a punt by MV, the snap by the Vineyarders to the kicker sailed high and toward the end zone. The kicker for MV ran it down, but his scurrying attempt to boot the ball up the field was blocked by Chris Cronin, who had earlier recorded his first sack of the year, and rolled dead at the Vineyard 10.
Two plays later Sandwich was on the board. Morin’s first TD run of the year came from five yards away and he was able to get to the right corner and sneak inside the pylon. Quarterback Tim Bengston then ran in the conversion to make it an 8-0 game.
Sandwich threatened again late in the half, but was unable to get any separation. A pass for the end zone with a little over a minute to go in the first half was picked off by MV’s T.J. Lett, who made a great play to secure the takeaway.
While turnovers are certainly something that SHS wants to clean up going forward, coach Matt MacLean said he was pleased that the bad plays did not sink his team’s day. He said past teams might have allowed that to happen.
“As the game goes on, we have tended to submit to the negativity, and getting on each other,” the coach said. “This can go wrong, things might go wrong, but it’s how are we going to respond. They did a hell of a job digging in, and we made some adjustments with personnel that worked. They were just running the ball up the gut on us, and something had to give, and this game really came down to desire more than anything.”
The Knights return to action on Saturday, March 20, with a home game against St. John Paul II High School at DeConto Stadium. They will then play MV for a second time the following weekend, but on the island.