Upper Cape Tech Football Defeats Defending Division 5 Champions
By: Dan Crowley
Upper Cape Tech trailed 7-6 entering the fourth quarter Saturday at Nantucket (3-4, 1-1 ML). That’s when the battle really began as the two Mayflower League Small opponents went head-to-head for the final 10 minutes with the Rams emerging with their sixth straight victory, a 22-19 win over the Whalers.
With 8:06 to play in the fourth quarter, Nantucket quarterback Bryan Depass ran it in from 3 yards out for a 13-6 Nantucket lead. The Whalers then fumbled the snap on the extra point attempt.
The Rams returned the ensuing kickoff to the UCT 45-yard line. Jon Dumont then broke free for 24 yards and Liam Kanaley ran the ball into the end zone from 2 yards out, cutting the Nantucket lead to 13-12. Dumont then ran in the two-point conversion to put the Rams on top, 14-13, with 6:07 to play.
Nantucket started their drive at their 25-yard line, but a pass to Terrell Correia was fumbled and recovered by Kanaley at the 33. Dumont ran it in from 21 yards out and then carried in the two-point conversion around the left side for a 22-13 lead.
The Whalers ran the kickoff back to their own 47, then threw two incomplete passes. On fourth and nine, Depass threw deep to Victor Bouche who was hauled down at the 5-yard line. Three plays later the Whalers were back in the end zone with 1:14 to play but missed the PAT, leaving UCT with a 22-19 lead.
An onside kick by Nantucket was recovered by the Whalers at the UCT 48-yard line with 1:10 left in the game. The UCT defense stiffened with Edgar Eldredge sacking the Whaler QB with 33 seconds left at the Whaler 49-yard line. Ryan Kiely saved a possible Nantucket touchdown when he caught Tyler Perry on a pass play from Depass at the UCT 44. With just seconds left Depass dropped back to throw deep on a fourth and six but before he could unload the ball, Kanaley sacked him, giving the Rams the ball. Eldredge then took a knee to put the game in the win column for UCT.
“That was the best win in our short history as a program,” Coach Mike Hernon said. “Going to the island is difficult enough but then to have to play a very good Nantucket team that is the defending Super Bowl champ on homecoming weekend was a daunting task. But our kids welcomed the challenge and wanted to prove that 5-0 was not a fluke. We were down 7-6 at the half and I told the kids at half we were right where we wanted to be. When you go to the island you can’t get behind early and that was something we stressed all week. When we went down 13-6 early in the fourth our kids took their game to the next level. Isaac Cardoso’s kick return to their 45 was a play that will get lost in the shuffle but that was big for us. But again, with the game on the line, our guys never panicked and made critical plays time and time again.”
The Whalers ran 17 plays, covering 78 yards on their first possession of the opening quarter, capping it with a 16-yard pass play from Depass to Correia for six points. Depass then tacked on the extra point for a 7-0 Nantucket lead with 1:06 left in the first quarter.
The Rams answered, starting from their own 14-yard line with 45 seconds left in the first, giving the ball to Dumont on a run down the left side. A block by Dylan Derby opened a running lane for Dumont who carried the ball 71 yards to the Nantucket 15-yard line. A couple of plays later, a 4-yard run by Derby put the ball on the 2-yard line for Dumont who carried it over the left side into the end zone for a touchdown. Dumont then tried to run in the two-point conversion but was stopped short of the goal line.
Dumont carried the ball 14 times for 175 yards.
The Rams (6-0, 2-0 ML) will put their undefeated record on the line Saturday when they host Old Colony at 11 AM.
The Cougars (2-4, 0-2 ML), who are in last place in the league, are coming off a 34-14 loss to West Bridgewater. Last year Old Colony finished at 2-8.
The Cougars are led by junior quarterback Jake Pringle who threw two touchdown passes last week, both to junior Matt Leblanc, one for 5 yards and another a 55-yard pass play. Old Colony has averaged 21 points per game while allowing opponents to score an average of 24 points.
Their two wins came last month against Keefe Tech (40-8) and New Mission (35-16).
“Old Colony runs the spread,” Coach Hernon said. “We have some familiarity with that but anytime you play a spread team you better be disciplined or they will put points up quickly. They’re a gritty team that is looking for their first league win so we know they are going to be looking to knock us off. When you’re unbeaten, the target is on your back and we stressed to (our players) that you’d better be ready because we are going to get every team’s best effort.”
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