Monomoy Takes The Game Away From Cape Tech In 22-6 Win

By: Kat Szmit

Topics: School Sports , Chatham , Harwich , Sports

Monomoy's Nathan Amaker (2) runs the ball toward the end zone leading to a Shark touchdown. Kat Szmit Photo

HARWICH Thanksgiving Day is still months away, but one of the bigger local football rivalries hit the gridiron on Friday night when the Monomoy Sharks hosted Cape Cod Tech in their season and home opener, with the dominant Sharks coming away with a 22-6 victory under the lights of the Monomoy Athletic Complex, otherwise known as the Shark Tank.

Fans packed the stands and stood along the fences surrounding the field, the home team's fans clad all in white as part of their traditional White Out, applauding thunderously as the Sharks took the field. Though the Crusaders were fashionably late for the contest, Monomoy seized the momentum of the game immediately, capitalizing on fumbles and snagging a slew of interceptions en route to a big win that came largely from the tireless efforts of Monomoy's defense.

Under the watchful eyes of head coach Paul “Spanky” Demanche, who was marking his return to the program after previously serving as head coach of Harwich and assistant coach at Monomoy, the Sharks weathered a scoreless opening quarter before a one-yard hop by new quarterback Ryan Downs put them on the board. A successful two-point conversion by Nathan Amaker gave Monomoy an 8-0 edge at the half.

The Sharks went on to score two more times in the second half, the first a spectacular interception by Riley Demanche, one of two for the junior linebacker, that he raced 70 yards down the field for a touchdown before Christ Amezquita trotted in the conversion.

Jake Wisniewski then scooped up a fumble, running 23 yards to the end zone to put the Sharks ahead 22-0. Wisnieski's recovery was one of several scooped up by Monomoy's defense during the game, much to the dismay of Cape Tech head coach Chris Leonard.

“It was a tough loss, an emotional loss,” Leonard said. “We've got some kids that we think are pretty good, and we wanted them to be victorious tonight but when you fumble and throw interceptions you can't win football games.”

The lone score for the Crusaders came near the tail end of the game when Tory Berto and Archer Estinvil combined forces in getting the ball into the end zone. Unfortunately for Cape Tech, turnovers and the too-late-for-a-comeback touchdown proved their undoing.

“I think we had five giveaways tonight. Maybe six,” said Leonard. “They say minus two is the benchmark. If you give up two turnovers and you don't get two turnovers, if you're minus two in the turnover game, you're going to lose.”

Nonetheless, Leonard saw some promising moments within the loss.

“Our defense played well,” he said, giving a nod to Dustin Rutko. “He was mauling people out there.”

Leonard added that away from the turnovers, the Crusaders had been doing a good job of moving the ball downfield.

“We did run the ball well, we just coughed it up and we can't do that,” he said. “That's our game. We need to be able to run the ball and then throw it in spots. We can't give it up like that. We've got key players that are playing well, and if we just clean up the fumbles and interceptions, we're golden.”

Meanwhile, it was a sound return to the fray for Demanche, who was thrilled with his team's success.

“I'm just happy for them,” he said. “There are so many kids that have gone through some tough stuff. They loved Ross (Jatkola) and losing him was a big downer, and with me coming back in the fold they weren't quite sure what to expect, but through it all there was such a good core group that just stayed together and believed in themselves. Riley's a part of that. Eli's a part of that. Jake's a part of that. Nathan's a part of that. Then you add Ryan Downs to the mix. Connor Santoni. There are kids that worked all summer long to build this thing up. That's what makes me proud of them. They've got to believe that hard work pays off, and today it came to fruition.”

The coach praised the efforts of his defense, including son Riley and teammate Jake Wisniewski.

“Riley's not the fastest but he's one of the smartest,” Demanche said. “He knew what was coming, read it, picked it, and all of the work he put in this summer pays off on the run. Jake, busting his butt, picks up a fumble. We teach them that we don't want to fall on fumbles. We want to return them, and he did.”

The dark cloud above the night was the loss of Nathan Amaker to injury.

“He's been great for us,” said Demanche. “He came up hard and tried to make a tackle.”

Though likely done with football, it is hoped that Amaker, who was recently named a team captain, will continue to join his teammates on the sidelines.

Demanche also hopes the opening win fuels his team in the future.

“I would hope it gives us a little bit of a boost,” he said. “We played against a bigger, I think stronger team up front, and our little guys kept plugging away at it. We played an awful lot of young kids. At one point we had at least two freshmen on the field if not more. They're growing up fast, and they've got to. We need them. We don't have a lot of bodies on the sidelines. They've got to grow and keep going.”

Monomoy travels to Matignon tomorrow night, while Cape Tech hosts Tri-County Vo-Tech on Saturday starting at 1 p.m.

“We played them tight last year so it should be a good game,” said Leonard. “Hopefully we take it to them.”