HARWICH ─ Last year when the Monomoy football team stepped onto the field at Cape Cod Tech, they left stung by an unexpected 28-20 loss. The Sharks weren't going to repeat that this year and made that clear in their season opener by handing the Crusaders a 21-0 defeat in what new head coach Brandon Perry dubbed “a great team win.”
“You saw everybody contribute, and that was the best part,” said Perry after the game.
After Monomoy's defense stymied Tech's opening drive to gain possession in the first quarter, Riley Demanche and Gavin Viera combined forces to move the ball out of the end zone and into first down territory, with Viera rushing for 119 yards overall in the game.
Though the clock ran out on the first quarter before Monomoy's drive was complete, Viera set things up nicely for Eli Nickerson to score the opening touchdown at the start of the second quarter on a four-yard carry to put Monomoy up 6-0 after a failed two-point conversion.
When the ball was once again back in Monomoy's hands, Viera took off running for a stellar 69-yard score that was capped off with a successful conversion by 2017 quarterback Isaac Hart, giving the Sharks a commanding 14-0 edge.
Viera again scored his team's third touchdown on a 19-yard run, this time punctuated with a perfect kick through the uprights courtesy of Connor Santoni.
Tech turned more toward a passing game in the second half, with quarterback Anthony Armenti directing two nicely thrown passes to teammate Tim Scruggs, including one that put the Crusaders close to scoring, but an illegal motion penalty proved damaging and allowed the Shark defense to thwart any further scoring attempts.
The defense included one of the more spectacular stoppages in game play when Zach Souza's quick decision-making moves resulted in his upending Archer Estinvil en route to the end zone. Also earning a shoutout from coaches for his defensive prowess was Chevar Shakespeare.
Perry said his team's run game was instrumental in the victory.
“I think our run game was pretty good,” said Perry. “I think our offensive line and our running backs did a really good job of setting the tone.”
The coach gave high praise to the seniors on his squad, which include Santoni, Viera, Souza, Nickerson, Demanche, Jake Wisniewski, Cam Jones, Griffen Handler, Clay Howell, and Tim McCabe, with nods to Nickerson and Demanche.
Cape Tech head coach Chris Leonard was disappointed in the loss, but felt his team played a much better second half in contrast to the opening.
“We've got new guys on defense, new guys on offense, and I just think that they weren't quite ready to come out here and play,” he said. “And then we made the adjustments. We started playing better defense in that second quarter and then shut them out in the second half. That's 25 minutes of football that we played well.”
Leonard was impressed with his team's passing game in the second half.
“That definitely worked to our ability,” he said. “We had bigger wideouts, and we got the ball to those guys, and they did a good job receiving it. It's just so quick how the game can change if you make those little plays early.”
In spite of the loss, Leonard praised his team for their efforts.
“I think my guys played well today,” he said. “We had some guys going both ways, and walked out of here with no injuries.”
Leonard gave kudos to Armenti for his offensive work and first-time player Scruggs, as well as Estinvil and Marcus Aylmer.
Next up for Tech is a trip to Tri County, a team that in the past has had some big players.
“I think they graduated those guys,” Leonard said. “It's usually a good game for us, and it's a good warm-up for us before we start our league games in two weeks against Upper Cape.”
Monomoy returns home tomorrow night (Sept. 15) for its opener against St. John Paul II, which starts at 7 p.m. on the turf.
“They like to pass a lot, and it kind of helped us out here with Cape Tech having to pass late in the game,” said Perry. “I think that got us prepared for next week a little bit already. But we'll be looking to defend the pass a little bit more because Saint John has some good athletes.”
To purchase photos from the Sept. 9 game visit seasidesnapshots.photoreflect.com.