SOMERVILLE ─ With minutes left in their Saturday's contest against Matignon/St. Joseph's Prep and trailing 8-0, the Monomoy Sharks needed a spark. Thanks to Zach Souza and Eli Nickerson, they got an inferno, stunning the Warriors as they soared to a 16-8 win.
“Unfortunately we started a little bit flat,” said Monomoy head coach Spanky Demanche. “I'm sure the long bus ride had something to do with that.”
Demanche said his players might have also gotten swayed by the Warriors' season-opening loss, assuming their Saturday afternoon bout would be a breeze.
Instead, Demanche said the opponents “played really well, hit a big run, and took the lead.”
Adding further concern, Monomoy quarterback Ryan Downs was injured in the second quarter when the ear pad inside his helmet nicked his ear as his helmet came off during a tackle. With former second string quarterback Nathan Amaker out, Demanche turned to sophomore Isaac Hart.
“Isaac went in and did a fabulous job of picking things up from there,” Demanche said. “We had very little problem with ball handling, snaps, or miscommunication.”
According to both Demanche, and Twitter recaps, the excitement all happened in the game's final six minutes.
“They threw the ball and Zack Souza picked off a pass,” Demanche said. “That seemed to give us a little bit of a life.”
Three plays later the Sharks found the end zone with Jake Wisniewski punching it in, and Gavin Viera completing the two-point conversion.
Viera, said Demanche, spent the game “doing the yeoman's work of ball carrying.”
Viera ended with 189 yards rushing, with Jake Wisniewski adding another 50.
“In the second half we made a concerted effort to get the ball to Jake,” Demanche said. “[The Warriors] were starting to wear down a bit. It was a nice one-two punch we put to them.”
With the ball back in Matignon/St. Joe's possession, minutes left in game play, and a tie score,
Wellsley Pina continued the momentum with a nice tackle on the kickoff. Then the Warriors quarterback inadvertently hit Eli Nickerson in the chest with the ball.
“We scored on third down with 22 seconds left to go,” said Demanche.
From there it was up to Monomoy's defense, which Demanche said rose to the occasion.
“They had [time for] two or three plays, but we did a nice job,” he said.
Though the Sharks boosted their record to 2-0 on the season, Demanche said the game was a good lesson.
“You can't underestimate anybody,” he said. “They've got to respect their opponents and not take things for granted. It's really one game at a time.”
Demanche again gave credit to former head coach Ross Jatkola for his efforts, especially regarding getting players into the weight room.
“I give credit to what was established last year and the job that Ross did,” Demanche said. “A lot of those kids had some playing experience, by default, [and] there's just an air of confidence you get when, in the case of Gavin, you put on 25 pounds in the weight room. When you do those kinds of things you develop a mental toughness that's necessary.”
The Sharks host Holbrook/Avon tomorrow night at 6:30 in their first league game of the season.
“It's a short league season so you can't afford to get bumped,” Demanche said, adding that he's pleased with his team's mindset. “I like the attitude of the kids that one guy goes down, the next guy has to be ready to go. It's disappointing for us, but we've got a game to finish and we're going to get it done.”