Falcon Football Winner Over Falmouth
By: Rich Maclone
With a ground game that proved to be as good as advertised, the Mashpee High School football team pulled off a methodical victory over Falmouth High at a packed Fuller Field on Friday night. Before one of the biggest non-Thanksgiving crowds in recent memory, Falmouth dropped a 22-0 decision to the Falcons, who used the two-headed monster of Malik Lee and Jared Taylor to run roughshod over the Clippers defense. Mashpee is now 1-1 overall while Falmouth fell to 0-2.
The Mashpee duo of Lee and Taylor combined to run the ball 30 times in the game for 257 yards. The irony of that gaudy total was that Mashpee Head Coach Matt Triveri said that the game plan, going into the contest, was to attempt to beat Falmouth with the passing game, getting stuff out to the perimeter. “But those kids ran the ball hard and they did some good things.”
Falmouth Head Coach Steve Femino was not displeased with his team’s efforts at all. “We’re getting better every day, not just every game, but every day in practice. I thought the effort today was much better (than last week),” Femino said.
The Clippers did a solid job defensively of limiting the Mashpee big plays. The Falcons did have four plays in the game of over 20 yards, three runs and one pass, but for the most part the visitors wore down Falmouth with a solid ground game that saw them chop away at the Falmouth defense in smaller increments.
Mashpee took the lead late in the first quarter, on their second possession of the game. Falmouth forced a turnover on downs inside its own 20 on the Falcon first possession of the game, but then Mashpee intercepted a Craig Green pass at the Clippers’ 26 a few plays later. Even with superb starting field possession, MHS had to work to find the end zone, needing eight plays to get into the end zone on a 2-yard carry by quarterback Cody Bingham-Hendricks that saw the senior keep it up the middle. The team then executed a pretty fake on the conversion with the holder on an apparent kick, Bingham-Hendricks, picking the ball up and firing it to a wide-open John Benard for two points to make it 8-0.
Falmouth’s scoring chances in the game were few, though. The team traveled over midfield just once and the MHS defense locked down on the Clippers throughout the game. FHS managed to gain just 60 yards in the game. Craig Green rushed for 34 and passed for 20, with a pass to Ronnie Zampanti for 15 yards being the team’s longest play of the game. Zampanti made a beautiful grab over the middle in the second quarter and took a huge hit on the play.
MHS made it a two-score game midway through the second quarter. After recovering a Falmouth fumble at their own 43, the Falcons marched 57 yards in five plays. Lee started it with a run of 27 yards on a double reverse that put the ball at the Falmouth 30. Two plays later, Taylor took a draw for 22 yards down to the 13. Lee then rumbled for gains of 6 and 7 yards with the latter finding the end zone to make it 15-0.
Mashpee continued to control the clock throughout the second half, holding Falmouth to a total of 14 offensive plays. The Falcons iced things away with a methodical 15-play drive that ate up over eight minutes of clock and resulted in a 9-yard TD run by sophomore Robert Andrade.
The Falcons now look ahead to a meeting in Eastham tonight with Nauset High School at 7 PM in Eastham.
The Warriors have impressed so far, winning both of their games on the 2012 docket. In the opener they dominated Dover-Sherborn, winning that one by a score of 48-15. Last week they came from behind to win over Wayland, 13-3. After giving up a first-half field goal, the Warriors went ahead on a long touchdown run by Jimmy Sullivan and later added field goals of 33- and 21-yards by Zach Altneau.
Triveri has nothing but respect for Nauset, saying that the program just seems to improve each and every year. “They just reload,” he said. “(Coach Keith Kenyon) just has loads of kids. The backs are quick and athletic and they have a very good quarterback who can run and throw.”
Offensively, the Warriors run a tricky single wing offense, and this year they have shown a knack for throwing the ball a little more than in the past. They still rely heavily on the running game, with Sullivan their top option. Nauset also has two quality tight ends and has size all over the line.
Triveri said that, like last week going into the game, the Falcons want to attack the perimeter. Taylor most likely will have to sit the game out, having suffered a leg injury, and that will put the bulk of the load on Lee. The senior back has shown that he can carry the load and is a bruiser who punishes defenses but also possesses the speed to get to the edge and turn a small gain into a big one. The return of linemen Mike McCarthy, at center, and Dan Miklos, at tackle, should bolster the team’s offensive push.
Against Falmouth, Triveri said that his team made some defensive strides, but that overall they need to be smarter on the field. “We made some positive steps defensively, but we’re still too undisciplined.”
The coach said that John Benard was a standout for the team in the win over Falmouth and has been a leader. Offensively, Benard laid out five Clippers on blocks from the fullback spot. “He’s a very good football player. He’s the heart of our team.”
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