Mashpee Pop Warner C Team Edged By Canton
By: Rich Maclone, November 8, 2013
Halfway through the game, it looked like the Mashpee Pop Warner C team was sitting pretty in their bid to play for the Super Bowl this weekend. With a 19-7 lead at halftime, the Junior Falcons were in control of the game and in control.
Then halftime came. On a drizzly and cold morning at Michael Horne Stadium, it was the Canton Bulldogs that played like champions in the second half. Canton answered the Mashpee first half by scoring two quick touchdowns to grab the lead and then held off a late charge by the Falcons to hold on for a 21-19 victory.
Mashpee came out like gangbusters to open the game up and scored a quick lead, thanks to the running of Trevor Nunes. The lightning-quick back, from Falmouth, helped his team jump out to the lead just seconds into the ballgame with an electric 87-yard touchdown run up the sideline.
Canton came back to score a touchdown to tie the count on their ensuing drive. The scoring march was ended with a two-yard dive up the middle, making it a 7-7 game.
From there, the first half was all Falcons. Mashpee fumbled the ball away, deep in Canton territory, but then got it right back when Xavier Hendricks recovered a botched pitch that hit the ground.
On the next play after the Canton fumble, Mashpee was back in the end zone. Again it was Nunes that got the job done. He took a sweep to the right and danced in from 15 yards away. Mashpee missed the extra point attempt and led 13-7 late in the first quarter.
Mashpee’s defense came up big again later in the quarter. With Canton going for it on a fourth-and-four from deep in their own end, Jake Murphy blasted up the middle to hit the Bulldogs’ quarterback as he was letting go of the ball. The pass attempt popped up into the air and was picked off by Kyle Connolly for the Falcons, with Connolly running it all the way back, 35 yards, to the two.
Disaster nearly struck on first down, with a fumbled exchange, but Mashpee recovered the ball. On the next play, Murphy faked a handoff and swept to the left to paydirt, making it 19-7 with 44 seconds left in the half.
The Mashpee defense continued to play big, and came up with takeaways. Tyler Hersey recovered a fumble with four seconds left in the half, killing a march by the Bulldogs in the red zone.
In the third quarter, the defense kept it up. Dakota Hendricks came up with the Falcons’ fourth takeaway, with a fumble recovery at the 44, to open up the second half. Things were looking great for Mashpee, and then the momentum shifted.
Canton’s offense started to find a rhythm, and they pushed in a touchdown to make it a one score affair the next time that they had the ball. The conversion made it 19-14.
Mashpee’s next drive meandered, and on fourth down the team went for it, from deep in its own end. The Falcons gave up great field position, and Canton made them pay for it, scoring just a few plays later to grab the lead for good, 21-19 with a little more than seven minutes left in the game.
Mashpee got the ball two more times, but couldn’t cash in. The Falcons suffered a turnover on downs at their own 21, but a great defensive stand resulted in another takeaway, at their own 25, with 2:44 left in the game.
Having to traverse 75 yards in under three minutes, the Falcons went into hurry-up mode and thanks to another couple of big plays, they gave themselves a shot.
On a broken play, Nunes jetted 35 yards up the field to push the ball across midfield. Murphy then went for another 12, and got the ball all the way to the Canton 32 with a little over a minute left.
The next few plays spelled the end. Nunes was hit in the backfield on an attempted sweep, and was dropped for a big loss. Murphy was held for a short gain on second down, and then Nunes picked up a few on third.
Facing fourth-and-13, the Falcons attempted a pass play. Murphy dropped back to throw the ball, but he was stuffed by the Bulldogs, and Mashpee turned it over on downs, which ended their chances.
The defeat was the only one of the year for the Junior Falcons. They wrapped up a memorable year for Head Coach Randy Hughes with a record of 9-1.