Mashpee Football Defense Feasts On Turnovers
By: Rich Maclone
Mashpee High School dominated on both sides of the ball and won their third straight Cranberry Friendship game over Sandwich High School yesterday at the newly minted Michael S. Horne Stadium. The Falcons (8-3) made big plays all over the field as they ran up a 45-21 decision.
Turnovers were the story of the game. The Falcons’ defense forced four Sandwich (4-7) giveaways, and capitalized each time, scoring touchdowns off of all of them.
“The defense played great. I thought Kevin Frye set the tone for us defensively. He took (receiver John Stanton) away from them, he’s a big player for them, and the play Jared (Taylor) makes down here is huge, he stripped the kid, makes the tackle and gets the strip, that’s a big play. We made big plays all day on defense,” MHS Head Coach Matt Triveri said.
The takeaways were what kick-started the Falcons. After a scoreless first quarter, Mashpee’s defense forced a fumble on the first play of the second quarter as Jared Taylor met Joe Millham with a hard hit, loosening the ball from his grip. Mike McCarthy jumped on the ball, and MHS was in business deep in Sandwich territory at the 24. Mashpee scored the game’s first points on the very next play, a 24-yard run by Jared Taylor to the right side.
A Cody Bingham-Hendricks pitch to DeShaun Dias gave the Falcons an 8-0 lead nine second into the second period. The defense didn’t take any time off, forcing another fumble early on Sandwich’s next drive. This time Nate Chrzanowski popped the ball loose, and Kenny Roache came up with the ball to put MHS in fine shape once again, this time at the Knights’ 26. Bingham-Hendricks, who completed 6-of-7 passes in the game for 164-yards and three touchdowns, found his favorite target on the next play as he threw over the middle for a wide-open Malik Lee. That was Lee’s third of five grabs in the game as he had 153 receiving yards and two touchdowns.
MHS forced a turnover on downs the next time that SHS had the ball, and set up shop at the 46, as Chrzanowski and Lee teamed up to stuff an SHS run on fourth-and-one. Five plays later the Falcons found the end zone, running their lead to 20-0 on another Bingham-Hendricks to Lee scoring toss, this one for 23-yards.
Mashpee Head Coach Matt Triveri said that Lee was the big difference-maker for the Falcons in the game. “Malik is a kid who’s going to make plays, and he made huge plays for us all day long. They were going to go man, and used press coverage, and that was the guy that we wanted to go to. He did a great job,” the coach said.
Down by 20, the Knights began to show some life after digging themselves a three TD hole. SHS returned the kickoff to their own 39 and wasted no time making something happen. Senior quarterback Zack Wagner converted a big fourth-and-three play by running for 15 and a new set of downs. On the next play he went up top and threw a perfect fade for Tim Sullivan, who went up and got the ball to haul in a 36-yard pass, putting the ball at the Falcons’ three. Marc Petersen bulldozed it in from there to make it a 20-6 game at the half.
With a quick touchdown to open up the second half, it looked like the teams might be headed for a nail-biter. SHS started with great field position to open the second half, near midfield, and needed just two plays to make it a one score game as Wagner found Sullivan again, this time for 26-yards, and then hit a great fade to a wide-open Jake Kangas in the end zone. With Patrick Kane’s PAT, Sandwich trailed by just seven, 20-13.
But Mashpee put the game away after that. Bingham-Hendricks, who ran for 104-yards in the game, broke free on a busted play on the first snap of the drive and turned it into a 49-yard scramble down to the Sandwich seven. Two plays later Taylor dove in from the six and the Falcons were up two TDs again, 26-13. Taylor ran for three touchdowns in the game and finished with 89-yards on 11 carries. Turnovers continued to plague the Knights, and the next one sealed their fate.
Trying to bring his team back, Wagner (9-for-18, 133-yards, 1 TD) began to air it out. After finding Brian Millham for 18-yards, he connected with Stanton for a short gain. While the receiver fought for extra yards, Robert Andrade jarred the ball loose with a ferocious knock, and recovered the fumble at the Falcons’ 38. MHS scored again six plays later.
Following a tremendous one-handed catch by Lee that went for a gain of 47, Mashpee capped the drive with an 8-yard scamper by Andrade that made it 32-13. “That’s the biggest play of the game,” Triveri said of the Lee reception. “After that, we extend to a three score lead and at that point it was our game.”
Mashpee went on to add two more scores before the end of the game, an 11-yard Alex Clark TD grab and a 20-yard run by Taylor. Sandwich rounded out the scoring late in the fourth quarter on a 22-yard run by Mat Mullin.
Triveri said he was proud of the way his team finished its year. “You look at the play of our seniors, Cody Hendricks, Malik Lee, he was the player of the game, Jared Taylor, Nate Chrzanowski up front, Dan Miklos at left tackle played very well and Alex Clark was terrific.
Our seniors were the best part of our team all day.” Luette said his team’s effort was solid, and he will miss this year’s crop of players. “I love these kids, they’re a great group and now we have to get ready for next year. It doesn’t stop.”
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