Crusaders Fall To Rams In Wet, Wind-Driven Thanksgiving Game

By: Kat Szmit

Topics: Football

Cape Tech's Kyle Chase (7) feels the pressure of a trio of Upper Cape Tech defenders as he attempts to gain a first down during their Thanksgiving Day game.  KAT SZMIT PHOTO

HARWICH – It was wet. It was windy. And when the final buzzer sounded signaling the end of Cape Tech's Thanksgiving Day game against Upper Cape Tech, the game belonged to the visiting Rams, who claimed the Golden Wrench trophy with a commanding 30-0 victory.

The weather was definitely a factor in the outing, with winds topping out at more than 20 mph at times and intermittent showers occasionally falling almost sideways. But while the Rams remained unfazed by the rain, the Crusaders struggled to mount an offense throughout the four quarters.

Not only that, but problems seemed to plague the home team, from a bad snap to a fumble, not to mention difficulty keeping a grip on the wet ball, but the Crusaders kept at it for the game's entirety.

Both teams went scoreless in the opening frame, during which Cape Tech did all it could to force the Rams into a deep puddle along the opposing side of the field, perhaps hoping a little soaking might slow them down.

Unfortunately, the tactic didn't work as the Rams went on to score twice in the second quarter, the first time when Jon Brightman scored on a pass from Drew Brightman, with Joseph Coelho capping off the TD with a successful two-point conversion.

A few short minutes later, a Cape Tech fumble was scooped up, this time by Drew Brightman, for a 20-yard return, with Juzary Salim on the rush, putting the Rams ahead 16-0 at the half.

Kemrin Glover added a 35-yard score in the third, making it 22-0 after the wind sent the kick off-target, after which the Rams handed the ball off to Colin Souza in the fourth for a two-yard hop that Coelho capped off with another conversion.

While Cape Tech had some solid defensive moments thanks to Quinterias “Q” Pigo-Cronin, Kyle Chase and Joe Small, it wasn't enough to overtake the determined Rams, who celebrated the return of the Golden Wrench by diving into the puddle the Crusaders had tried to run them into during the game.

“I think defensively we played a good game,” said Cape Tech head coach Chris Leonard. “The kids got after it.”

Leonard said he enjoys the annual game regardless of the score, though he wished his team could have had one last win.

“That's what I love, is the physicality every year,” Leonard said. “We've been glad to coach against those guys for the last few years. I'm just happy that we get to do this every single year.”

Prior to the start of the traditional game, Cape Tech honored its seniors, Chase, Tim Eldridge, Lorvensky Estinvil, Chris Tokarz, Logan Wabeil, Jowayne White, and Kylie Palomba, the first girl to play all four years with the Crusaders.

“It's been great to coach those kids,” said Leonard. “I just love the effort that they've given us for four years, in the weight room, being committed, working out hard, and being part of this program this year, which wasn't easy at times.”

Estinvil is the last in a line of former Cape Tech players, and the end of football was bittersweet. There was much he said he'd miss.

“You know, just coming out here every day with the coaches, learning a lot, practicing, doing what we do every day,” he said. “It's going to be tough moving on from here.”

Leonard had a few shoutouts at the end of the game, as well.

“Brian Meritus played a good game,” he said. “and Jowayne White and Joe Small stepped up big.”

Next up for Cape Tech is the winter sports season, which begins at the end of next week.