One can only hope that the Falmouth and Mashpee High School athletic departments decide to continue to schedule one another in football going forward, because its seems that a legitimate rivalry has been born. A year ago, the Falcons visited Guv Fuller Field and ran away with a victory over the Clippers. On Friday night, FHS returned the favor by winning a hard-hitting game at Horne Stadium, taking a 13-8 decision that went to the wire.
Falmouth used two Jack O’Rourke-to-Tom Tobey touchdown passes to build a 13-2 lead through three quarters and then held on for dear life late to secure the victory. Mashpee nearly pulled off the come-from-behind win at the end, but DeShaun Dias’s halfback option pass to a wide-open Kevin Frye with two minutes to play in the game sailed just out of reach of the home team’s senior captain, who could have tip-toed into the end zone had the throw been on the money.
While the Clippers’ defense got lucky on that one, they were the tone-setters and took it to Mashpee for much of the game. Led by Tobey, who not only scored two TDs in the game but also came up with a team high-leading 10 tackles from his linebacker position, Falmouth hit hard and created turnovers.
The defense did not allow a point against them until the fourth quarter, thanks to a good push up front and strong tackling that kept the Falcons’ home run hitter, Dias, in check for the most part. Dias ran for 99 yards in the game, but was kept from turning in any game-changing type of plays.
MHS quarterback Nick Carptenter had a rough outing against the Falmouth defense as they made the freshman look like a rookie. Carpenter completed just two of 12 passes in the game, for 24 yards. When his throws were on the money, his receivers did not help him out much. Carpenter nearly gave his team a ton of momentum going into the locker room just before the half, but consecutive long throws that were on the money were dropped near the goal line.
Falmouth dominated the first half, but had just a slim lead to show for it. FHS forced a three-and-out on Mashpee’s first possession and then marched from their own 37 down to the Mashpee six. On fourth and inches, from the six, Julian Somers (12 carries, 66 yards) looked to lean past the line of scrimmage far enough to set up a goal-to-go situation, but the referees’ spot left the Clippers an inch shy and Mashpee took over on downs.
Falmouth was not without the ball for long, though. FHS forced the first of three Mashpee turnovers four plays later as the Clippers popped the ball out of Dias’s grip and Tobey recovered the loose ball at the Falcons’ 14-yard line. The sophomore was celebrating in the end zone for FHS three plays later with the game’s first touchdown as he hauled in a play-action pass from Jack O’Rourke (3-for-3 passing, 28 yards, 2 touchdowns). Jared Talbot’s point after kick put FHS on top, 7-0, with 20 seconds left in the first quarter.
Devin McDaniel returned the ensuing kickoff all the way down to the Falmouth 37 for the Falcons, but the FHS defense held tight when it mattered most. The Falcons used the running of Dias and Kris Carpenter to get down as far as the Clippers’ four-yard line.
Chris Connolly dropped Nick Carpenter with a sack on second down as he came free up the middle for a loss of six. Carpenter threw incomplete on third down and his fourth-down attempt was knocked down at the line of scrimmage by captain Will O’Connor, turning the ball over to the Clippers.
Falmouth committed a false start on first down, which moved the ball inside the five-yard line. After a short run on second down by Somers, a shotgun snap to O’Rourke went over the quarterback’s head and he smartly punched the ball out of the back of the end zone, rather than allow Mashpee to recover it for a touchdown. MHS did record a safety on the play, which were the only two points that they scored in the first half.
MHS nearly took control of the game on the ensuing kickoff. Frye hauled Talbot’s kick in at the 24 and blazed up the sideline untouched, but an illegal block call against Mashpee took the points off the board. MHS then coughed it up again two plays later, with Ryan Rocci recovering a fumble near midfield for the Clippers. Falmouth ended Mashpee’s next drive with a takeaway as well. After a bad punt by FHS gave the Falcons the ball at their own 43, Carpenter moved his team as far as the Falmouth 43 and then threw deep four straight times. The first one was offline, the next two were dropped deep near the end zone and the final one was picked off by safety Tyler Brown to end the first half.
Takeaways by the Falmouth defense were the difference in the game. FHS had another early in the second half, which led directly to the team’s final scoring drive. Somers recovered a fumble for the Clippers at the Mashpee 23 midway through the third quarter and the Clippers put together a plodding nine-play 37-yard drive to get six more points. Curtis Brown rushed the ball eight straight times into the heart of the Mashpee defense to move it down to the 10, and then O’Rourke again found Tobey on the same play-action pass play for the second TD of the night, a 10-yard strike to make it 13-2.
MHS then forced a three-and-out by Falmouth and took over at their own 45 with 2:47 to go in the game. Dias moved it 20 yards on his own in two plays, but then the Falcons faltered and the FHS defense held. Carpenter fumbled a snap on second down, and lost two yards. The next play was the aforementioned option pass, which was wide open, but overthrown. On fourth-and-eight, from the FHS 37, the Falcons final offensive play of the night was snuffed out by the Clippers as Robert Pena rushed hard and tipped a Carpenter pass at the line of scrimmage to force a turnover on downs.
FHS, which won its opener for the first time since 2010, hopes to improve to 2-0 when it plays its first home game of the season on Friday night against Nauset.