Perhaps the best season in the history of the Sandwich High School football program continued its upward trajectory on Saturday, April 10, as the Blue Knights remained undefeated for the season with a convincing win at Nantucket. SHS pulled away late against the Whalers for a 30-9 win on the island, improving the team’s record to 5-0 overall.
Coach Matt McLean said that he is impressed with the way that his team has been performing, but has not been caught off-guard by the squad’s rise this spring. “It’s not that I think that they’re exceeding my expectations. I just needed them to know that that they were capable of this,” he said. “There’s been a change in attitude overall, the culture has changed and it’s paying off. The offseason training has started to take hold.”
After falling behind by a field goal in the first quarter, the Knights started to turn the game in their favor, thanks to the defense. Sandwich’s second interception of the first half was taken 30 yards to the house by defensive back Tim Bengtson, to put SHS ahead by a 7-3 score. SHS then forced Nantucket to punt on its next possession and wasted no time adding to the lead as Bengtson went up top to Aiden Spurr for a 50-yard touchdown pass that put the Knights ahead 14-3.
Nantucket kept it close by finishing off a strong drive to reach the end zone in the final minute of the first half. Justin Bloise punched in a TD run for the Whalers with 41 seconds to go in the second quarter. The two-point conversion play was stopped by Sandwich, and the Knights took a 14-9 lead into the half.
Midway through the third quarter Sandwich got a gift of two points from the Whalers. The snap on a punt attempt sailed over the kicker’s head and out of the back of the end zone for a safety that made it 16-9, which is where the score stood after three quarters.
In the fourth, SHS put the Whalers away. A hit by Connor Coutinho loosened the football, and SHS recovered it and used that possession to increase their lead. Driving from near midfield, Sandwich charged all the way to the 1-yard line where Bengtson called his own number and sneaked the ball across the goal line to make it 23-9.
After another stop the Blue Knights put the game away. Patrick Morin, who had 102 yards on 14 carries, broke free for a 20-yard touchdown run with 2:11 to play in the game.
The SHS line opened up the hole to free Morin for the score, and coach McLean said that the group of five up front was a big difference in the game. “Our line in general has been the strongest it’s been,” he said. “We wouldn’t be where we are without them.” Juniors Connor Gill and Dan Bader and seniors Nick Tully, Luke Anderson and CJ Aycock have been the standouts up front for SHS.
SHS will put its undefeated record on the line at Monomoy High School on Friday, April 16, with a 5 PM kickoff.
“Monomoy is in a bit of a tough spot right now, but we have to prepare well and then execute if we want to win,” coach McLean said. “We have to get better. There are still things that we aren’t doing right.”