HARWICH ─ Don't let the score fool you. Though the Monomoy Sharks fell 41-13 to West Bridgewater on Friday night, it doesn't mean the effort wasn't there. Just ask head coach Paul “Spanky” Demanche.
“The kids' effort was terrific,” said Demanche following the loss. “I thought they played hard.”
The Wildcats surprised the Sharks at game's start, pushing across the first of several touchdowns as Monomoy worked to regroup.
“We're still undersized up front. We just get overwhelmed,” said Demanche. “The only kid with any experience is Nick Malone at center. The two guards and two tackles just played their fifth high school football games. One's a freshman, one's a sophomore, one's a senior who's never played before, and one's a junior who's never played before.”
That, he said, along with a lack of depth in the team due to limited numbers, occasionally works against the Sharks.
“It's a work in progress. They've got to develop. They've got to get better, and they're getting better,” Demanche said. “It's not for lack of effort and it's not for lack of trying. It's where we're at right now. It's not like we can dip down into the pool and say, 'OK, next guy up,' because we don't have that right now.”
The saving grace on the Monomoy squad was junior Gavin Viera, who rushed for 41 yards overall and scored two touchdowns for his team. The first came in the second quarter and finally put the Sharks on the board with seven points thanks to Isaac Hart's successful kick.
Viera's next TD came in the fourth quarter, adding six to Monomoy's tally, but the kick went wide.
In spite of the struggle, the Sharks did their best to rally against the Wildcats, stepping up their defense and working harder to protect quarterback Ryan Downs, especially with regard to his throwing game.
“We had to make some adjustments,” said Demanche. “Our pass protection wasn't good to start, [but] we got a little better and gave him time to throw.”
That resulted in Downs going 11-for-16 with 145 yards in the outing, with players Christ Amezquita and Eli Nickerson working alongside Viera to move the ball downfield.
“Cree (Amezquita) did some really good things with the ball in his hand,” Demanche said. “Ryan threw some really good balls, and I think Eli on both sides of the field did a really nice job. We've got some weapons that can catch the ball and move it. We had a couple of drops but that's going to happen.”
Demanche cautions fans that the Monomoy team is still developing.
“We've got a ways to go still. We're a work in progress. We're growing,” he said. “For us to be in a position to compete for a playoff, that's where we're at right now. A win tonight would have gotten us there, but that door's still open.”
Overall, he was pleased with their drive throughout the game.
“They came out and fought,” he said. “We fell behind early and they fought back. That's all you can ask for, kids giving some effort.”
The Sharks travel to Kingston on Saturday for a 2 p.m. Mayflower League game at Sacred Heart, the team's traditional Thanksgiving Day rival. Demanche hopes for continued effort.
“It's still fun,” he said. “They're still playing hard, and that's all we can ask them to do.”