A Late Score And Defensive Stand Guides Nauset Football To First Victory

By: Brad Joyal

Topics: School Sports , Sports , Football , Nauset High School

Nauset senior running back Aidan Handville carries the football during Saturday’s game against Falmouth in North Eastham. BRAD JOYAL PHOTO

NORTH EASTHAM – Throughout the second half of Saturday’s Senior Day game against Falmouth, Nauset senior Aidan Handville looked over at the Warriors’ sideline and shouted “Good things are going to happen!”

Handville offered the encouraging words between plays or during periodic breaks in the action. On occasion, Nauset defensive coordinator Jerry Gordon looked back at him and said, “That’s right — good things will happen!” before play resumed.

In the end, Handville and Gordon were right.

Nauset came from behind to earn a 20-14 victory over Falmouth after junior quarterback Riley Holmes scored the go-ahead touchdown on a one-yard QB draw up the middle with 1:42 remaining in the game.

On the Clippers’ ensuing possession, Nauset sophomore Dillon White intercepted Falmouth senior quarterback Doug Rose with 24.5 seconds remaining to secure the Warriors’ first win of the season.

“The defense bailed the offense out in the first half until we woke up and played football,” Nauset coach Bruce Strunk said. “It was just a good team win. Whether on offense or defense, different people stepped up at different moments — especially during the second half — and that’s what being a team is all about.”

The Clippers (2-2) took a 7-0 lead into halftime after the Warriors’ offense struggled to string together consecutive gains during the first two quarters of action. Nauset (1-3) looked like a different team during the second half, though, particularly on the offensive side of the ball.

Holmes gave the Warriors a spark when he scored his first touchdown on a run up the middle on fourth-and-goal from the Clippers’ one-yard line with 1:28 to play in the third quarter. An extra point by Holmes’ classmate Anthony Lovati tied the game at 7.

Nauset sacked Rose on third down during Falmouth’s next possession, and the Clippers’ signal-caller fumbled the ball, which was ultimately recovered by Warriors senior Ethan Lucy at the visitors’ one-yard line.

On the very next play, Nauset senior running back Patrick Terrio rumbled in for a one-yard touchdown run. Another extra point by Lovati gave Nauset a 14-7 advantage with 10:23 remaining in the contest.

“It felt amazing to score,” said Terrio. “We had to grind and we just kept fighting. That’s really all there is to say – we just kept fighting.”

Falmouth didn’t wave the proverbial white flag either. The visitors strung together an 80-yard scoring drive on their ensuing possession that was capped off by Rose running for a five-yard score. The game was tied at 14 with 5:51 remaining once Clippers senior Gerald Mahoney booted his second extra point of the game.

Nauset’s final drive was its longest of the game. After serving as an emotional leader between plays, Handville played a key role on that last drive, which saw the Warriors travel 64 yards after starting at their own 36-yard line.

Handville’s first carry of the drive was a 14-yard run that advanced the ball to midfield. The Clippers were called for pulling the senior down by his facemask and received a 15-yard penalty that advanced the ball to the Clippers’ 35-yard line.

Nauset handed the ball back to Handville, who broke off another 11-yard gain to Falmouth’s 24-yard line. Following a 12-yard run by junior Chad Caramanna, Handville brought it down to the one-yard line with back-to-back gains of eight and three yards, respectively.

That’s when Holmes ran up the middle for his second touchdown of the game to put the Warriors ahead.

“It felt pretty nice,” the quarterback said of scoring. “It was the same play both times. We knew we were going to score, so we just pounded it down their throats to get it done.”

Handville ran the ball 14 times for 79 yards, 36 of which came during the four carries he had during the last drive.

“It’s huge to win,” Handville said. “We were 0-3 leading up to this game and we just found a new energy coming into today.”

Nauset will close out its season at 5 p.m. Friday when it travels to South Yarmouth for a match against Dennis-Yarmouth. The Dolphins earned a 22-20 victory on April 3 when the Chowder Bowl rivals first met in North Eastham.

“Next week is going to be a show,” Terrio promised when asked about the finale.

“We can’t wait,” added Holmes.

Email Brad Joyal at brad@capecodchronicle.com