If the Mashpee Pop Warner C team needed any affirmation that their undefeated run through the regular season was the real deal, they got it on Wednesday night. The Junior Falcons (9-0) advanced to the semifinals of the Hockomock League playoffs by manhandling the Marauders of Dedham, taking a 38-0 decision at Michael Horne Stadium.
It was obvious early on that the Falcon team, which is made up of two-thirds players from Mashpee and about a third from Falmouth, was the superior squad. Before most of the fans had settled into their seats the home team already enjoyed a 14-0 lead.
Mashpee scored a pair of special teams’ touchdowns before their offense even graced the field to put them ahead by a pair of scores. It started with a 61-yard kickoff return by Tyler Couzo, who found a seam and was off to the races to make it 6-0. Then, after the aggressive Mashpee defense forced a three-and-out, the punt return team came through with six more points for the home squad. Speedy Trevor Nunes pulled down the short kick by the Marauders and broke it to the right, where he found the open field. Nunes galloped 55 yards to the end zone for a 13-0 Mashpee lead.
Dedham’s second offensive foray was better, but ended in disappointment. Using a well-executed halfback option pass, the Marauders drove all the way to the Mashpee 11-yard line. They got no closer than the six, after that, as the Falcons came up with a huge defensive stand to keep the visitors off the scoreboard.
With momentum clearly on their side, the home team was able to take away all of Dedham’s hopes with two more second quarter scores. The Falcons marched all the way down the field to jump out to a 19-0 lead with a long drive. A 47-yard quarterback keeper by Jake Murphy set up a three-yard dive by Kyle Connolly into the end zone.
Just before half-time, Mashpee scored again to make it 26-0 at the intermission. Nunes accelerated past everyone on a sweep to the left to find the end zone for the second time, using an impressive burst to create separation from himself and the defense. Aidan Washington tacked on the extra point, running in a nice reverse.
In the second half, the Falcons dialed down their offensive aggressiveness, but continued to shut down Dedham’s offense. After a scoreless third quarter, Mashpee went on to score two more in the fourth quarter. Murphy capped a short drive, from just outside the Dedham 30, with a beautiful dart over the middle to Devon Hughes that made it 32-0.
With the mercy rule in effect, the clock was running and Mashpee was not allowed to run any plays outside of the numbers. Even though their opponents knew that the ball had to come at them on the ground and up the middle, Mashpee still scored again. Connolly plowed ahead on a fourth-and-two run and exploited a gaping hole that his offensive line opened for him to score from 24-yards out, finishing off the 38-0 victory.
Head Coach Randy Hughes said that he knew that his team was capable, but had no idea that they would perform so well. “I was nervous before the game,” he said. “In the beginning of the season, we had people that didn’t think that we were going anywhere, and here we are at 9-0. We’re loving it, we’re on our own little cloud right now.”
Following the game, the Mashpee D squad also played a playoff game against Lower Cape. LC jumped out to an early lead and carried it through for a 27-13 victory.
The C team marches on in the playoffs and will play again on Sunday, at home at Mashpee High School. The Falcons will face Canton at 10:30 AM.