Sharks Triumph Over Saints 17-7 In First Thanksgiving Home Game

By: Kat Szmit

Topics: School Sports

Quarterback Ryan Downs (5) leaps over teammate Jake Wisniewski en route to a Monomoy first down.  KAT SZMIT PHOTO

HARWICH The Monomoy football team had much to celebrate on Thanksgiving Day after soundly defeating off-Cape rival Sacred Heart 17-7 in the annual holiday game, largely due to an offensive line that came together in a big way on a big day.

The win brought Monomoy's overall record to 5-5, a thrilling accomplishment for each member of the team, particularly the OL.

“A huge credit to the offensive line,” said Monomoy head coach Paul “Spanky” Demanche. “Earlier in the year they were maligned a little bit with people saying 'they can't get it done.'”

But key changes in plays and lineup made a significant difference for the offensive line, and the Sharks as a whole.

“We made some changes in terms of schemes and going to a little more of an option attack,” said Demanche. “They were able to get off the ball [and] attack up field. It's such a huge difference.”

Playing in front of its largest crowd of the season, Monomoy burst onto the scene with gusto as senior quarterback Ryan Downs raced 45 yards for a touchdown, with help from offensive linemen Nick Malone, Sam Reed, Tre Cohrs, Kyle Charlot, Jake Wisniewski, and Riley Demanche, with Isaac Hart sending the PAT kick neatly through the uprights to give the Sharks an early 7-0 edge.

Hart then helped Monomoy extend the lead to 10-0 just before the half with a 27-yard field goal.

“I think you saw the difference in our offensive line,” said Coach Demanche. “Coming off the ball, driving, and attacking people at the line of scrimmage.”

Sacred Heart narrowed Monomoy's lead in the third quarter on a breakaway score, but the undaunted Sharks buckled down, with Downs snagging a key interception that upset the Saints' momentum. Another exciting moment came when Noah Tambolleo knocked the ball away from a Sacred Heart opponent, which a lightning fast Charlot quickly snagged.

With fans and football alumni cheering Monomoy on, the Sharks embarked on a 95-yard march down their home field in the fourth that ended with Eli Nickerson scurrying in from two yards out. Another stellar kick from Hart capped the tally at 17-7 as the Sharks headed home for their much-deserved Thanksgiving dinners.

Their head coach was especially pleased with the performance of the offensive line.

“The ability of Eli to run hard, Ryan to make some pretty good decisions, and the big move,” he said. “We took Jake from the fullback position to tight end, and he really solidified that offensive line. He did a really great job with that.”

Defensively, Monomoy was also strong, with Christian Blakely, Will Wahtola, Zach Souza, and Connor Santoni making solid tackles.

Demanche was glad to have his seniors – Downs, Reed, Malone, and Ryan Lacerra - go out on such a high note as part of the most winning team so far at MRHS, although he indicated that he's looking forward to continued success in the future.

“I'm going to be around for a while, but for the kids it's terrific,” Demanche said. “I feel good for them. Hard work paid off. They did what we asked them to do and you can't ask for more than that. Monday we start getting ready for next year.”