HARWICH – The Cape Tech Crusaders had the fire but lacked the unity needed to overcome the Tri-County Cougars on Saturday, falling in their home opener 21-6 as tensions rose on and off the field.
Weather-wise it was a perfect afternoon for football, but not for the Crusaders, who struggled to make connections in game play and among teammates. The Cougars marched determinedly downfield en route to a first quarter score to take an early 7-0 lead in the outing.
Another touchdown in the second put the visitors ahead 14-0 as the Crusaders couldn't seem to get past Tri-County's defense, and as a result were forced to play a primarily defensive game themselves.
It took until the third quarter for the Crusaders to score, which happened thanks to a short trot by senior Zach Higgins after Higgins snagged a well-placed pass just prior to the touchdown. An attempt at a two-point conversion was unsuccessful.
Even after Tri-County added one more to its tally in the fourth, hopes were still high for another Tech score, bolstered by a big catch from Juan Camilo, but the Crusaders weren't able to convert the catch into another touchdown.
“You've gotta execute,” said Cape Tech head coach Chris Leonard. “First we went out there and had a mess of mental errors in the first half of the game, so much so that you can't even see what's working. Then, when we finally settled down, I think we put ourselves in good positions in the second half, but we've got to execute the plays. It's about a jump ball and does our guy come down with it. In a 50-50 ball, are we the one that's going to win that war? Simple things.”
When tensions ran high in the later part of the outing, both teams received technical fouls for unsportsmanlike conduct following an on-field scrum, with a handful of Tech players airing their frustrations with each other in its wake.
Leonard still has faith that his team can come together and prove themselves a force in their league.
“I still think we're in good position going into the Mayflower Small Vocational to be competitive and win football games,” Leonard said.
The Crusaders travel to Old Colony on Saturday (Sept. 22) for their first league game, with their next home game slated for Sept. 29 against Upper Cape Tech.