HARWICH ─ Before the start of the Monomoy football team’s game Friday against Avon/Holbrook, team captain Nathan Amaker gathered the team in a huddle and led them in a passionate victory chant. It was magic that worked for the Sharks, who cruised to a 41-16 win in their inaugural outing in the Mayflower Athletic Conference Comprehensive.
“They’re an undermanned team, and our kids came out and did what they had to do,” said Monomoy head coach Spanky Demanche. “Obviously the most pleasurable component is that we were undermanned a little bit ourselves, but some kids rose up to the occasion.”
Demanche was referring to the fact that several key players were out with injuries. Along with Amaker, who suffered a concussion in the team’s home opener, Eli Nickerson, Elijah Baptiste, and Marcus Lefeged were out of the game, but kept the Sharks fired up along the sidelines.
It paid off starting in the first quarter when Gavin Viera scored the first touchdown of the game, with Ryan Downs finding an open Riley Demanche for a successful two-point conversion.
That set the tone for the game’s remainder, as Monomoy would score in each of the four quarters. Their second TD came on a four-yard run from Jake Wisniewski, with Isaac Hart sending the kick through the center of the uprights, putting the Sharks ahead 15-0 after the first quarter.
Downs himself ran in the opening TD of the second, which was capped off by another Hart kick before a spectacular interception from Noah Tambolleo upset a scoring attempt by the Bulldogs. The move paved the way for Will Wahtola to complete the effort with a touchdown that put Monomoy up 28-0 before Avon/Holbrook managed to find a spot on the scoreboard, making the halftime score 28-8.
“Noah stepped up and made a nice play on defense for us,” said Demanche.
The Sharks responded in the third with another TD, this one courtesy of Connor Santoni, who capitalized on a 13-yard pass from Downs, with Wellsley Pina putting a final feather in the Shark cap with a 55-yard score in the game’s fourth.
With Monomoy holding a commanding lead in spite of a second Bulldog touchdown, Demanche was pleased to get his younger players in the game, including future quarterback Noah Concordia.
“We played every kid in the program tonight,” Demanche said.
Though the team celebrated the victory, which boosted them to 3-0 on the season and 1-0 in their new division, the players and their head coach maintained an awareness of the emotions of their opponents struggling to find success with a small squad.
“I feel for those kids because we’ve been there,” said Demanche. “The kids were playing hard out there so I give them all the credit in the world.”
Demanche said he also saw promise in his players.
“It was nice to get Ryan on track a little bit throwing the ball, and I think our offensive line is getting better,” Demanche said. “They’re starting to understand schemes that we want.”
Downs suffered an ear injury in the team’s last game that required nearly 20 stitches, but was back in action against the Bulldogs.
The Sharks have a tough battle ahead of them when they next face Nantucket on the road.
“Nantucket’s gonna be a formidable opponent,” said Demanche. “Right now, they’re the top dogs in the Mayflower. We’ve got our work cut out for us.”
That said, the Sharks being 3-0 for the first time since the inception of the program feels good.
“The kids that we count on did what we asked them to do,” Demanche said. “It was a good, solid team effort and hopefully we just keep building on it.”