HARWICH ─ Cape Tech quarterback Justin Lukas had one wish for his seniors in their last regular season home game against crosstown rival Monomoy.
“Just to give my seniors a last good game on their home field,” he said. “To give them a 'W.'”
Lukas, with the help of teammate Lorvens Estinvil and a fired-up Crusader squad, gave his fellow seniors their wish when Cape Tech came away with a stellar 28-20 non-league victory on Saturday afternoon.
Lukas rushed for 111 yards, which included three touchdowns and a two-point conversion, while Estinvil rushed for 123 yards, had a touchdown, a blocked punt and a late-game interception in the end zone that put the game away for Tech.
For a good chunk of play, though, the game could have belonged to either team.
Throughout much of the first half, it looked like the Sharks were once again going to get the better of the Crusaders as they had in their season-opener earlier this fall, when Monomoy won 22-6 on their home turf.
Shark quarterback Ryan Downs combined forces for much of the half with Christ Amezquita and Riley Demanche, all three of whom had solid games for Monomoy. Demanche opened the game with a first-quarter score after hauling in a 24-yard pass from Downs to put the Sharks up 6-0.
Unwilling to go down without a fight, the Crusaders responded, marching the ball downfield en route to Lukas's first score of the game, which tied things up at 6-even.
The teams traded touchdowns again when Monomoy edged toward the end zone, scoring when Downs hopped it in from two yards out, with Isaac Hart capping off the run with a successful kick, putting the Sharks back in the lead.
Another TD from Lukas narrowed Monomoy's edge, but the stunning snag of a 43-yard pass from Downs by Amezquita, with help from Connor Santoni, along with another flawless Hart kick put the Sharks up 20-12 at the half.
That's when Cape Tech stepped it up. As the Crusader defense held Monomoy scoreless for the game's remainder, Estinvil and Lukas proved a powerful combination, with Lukas scoring both his team's third touchdown and running in the conversion in the third before Estinvil finished things off with a score in the fourth that also included a two-point conversion.
The game ender for Monomoy was when Estinvil leaped up to intercept a pass intended for Amezquita during Monomoy's final possession, putting control of the game in Crusader hands as the clock drained.
“I think Lorvens had the best game of his career,” said Cape Tech head coach Chris Leonard. “He played well on offense and defense. He just ran them over.”
Naturally, Leonard was also thrilled with Lukas's performance.
“Justin went to it today,” said a beaming Leonard after the game. “He played hard.”
Leonard said the win was a good one for his team.
“It was a tough football game,” he said. “We know that Monomoy and us, it's always a big rivalry, and to be able to respond at the end here, after the week one opening, to come out here and do what we did today was pretty nice. It's a great feeling for all of our kids. I'm very proud of their efforts.”
“Everyone played to their full potential,” said Lukas. “I think everyone just brought it today.”
Understandably disappointed was Monomoy head coach Paul “Spanky” Demanche.
“In game one we made the plays and today they made them,” he said, giving a nod to Estinvil's prowess. “He made the interception late. We thought we had a shot at that with one of our better receivers there, and we just couldn't get that executed. I'll take a little blame on that one. It was something we hadn't practiced.”
Demanche said that what continues to work against the Sharks is size.
“We're still a little bit undersized on the offensive and defensive lines, and that's where we see the shortcomings,” he said. “We get beat in pass rush because of that and offensively teams can move the ball on us because we're just not big enough and strong enough right now.”
Demanche offered as proof Tech's last touchdown.
“The last TD they scored, you've got a sophomore, Christian Blakely, who's in great position,” he said. “The kid just sticks him in the middle of his chest and runs him over into the end zone. A year from now, Christian's a junior and 220 pounds and the ball's going the other way.”
Demanche praised the efforts and determination of Downs.
“We don't give him the kind of protection he should have and he somehow manages to make some plays for us,” he said. “He's a scrapper and a fighter, and he keeps working to find a lane to throw the ball in.”
Also turning in strong performances for Monomoy were Amezquita, Riley Demanche, and Santoni.
Monomoy has a consolation game against Bourne on Nov. 10, and will then prep for its annual Thanksgiving Day match with Sacred Heart, which takes place at Monomoy this year. Meanwhile, Cape Tech hosts Upper Cape Tech on Thanksgiving Day also at home.