NORTH EASTHAM – It wasn’t the end result the Nauset football team had hoped for, but the Warriors returned to the gridiron, and that’s what mattered most to the team’s players and coaches.
One week after Nauset had to cancel its game against Mashpee scheduled for Oct. 1 due to too many injuries, the team returned to the field Friday against visiting Sandwich. The Blue Knights spoiled the Warriors’ return to play by earning a 28-6 victory, but the night meant much more to Nauset than what the scoreboard read.
“It felt so good to come back,” said Nauset sophomore running back Logan Julien, a Brewster resident. “We were all really, really excited about it. We were all ready and we tried our best and pushed all the way through.”
Sandwich (3-1) was led by its senior running back Patrick Morin, who finished with three touchdown runs. He rumbled in from two yards out in the first quarter and five yards in the second to give the Blue Knights a 14-0 lead at halftime. In the third quarter, he broke free for a 70-yard score to extend the visitors’ lead to 20-0.
“We had heard through the grapevine from kids talking to other kids that their plan was to stop Pat and I told Pat that before the game and he loved it,” Sandwich coach Matt MacLean said. “He wanted to hear that and he showed it by giving that extra effort. It’s really been exciting to see him come full circle as a player.”
Junior quarterback Brady Carroll capped off the scoring for the Blue Knights with a 10-yard touchdown run later in the third quarter. Nauset got on the board in the final frame when freshman running back Isaiah Robinson ran for a 10-yard touchdown.
“When he plays with confidence, he’s pretty darn good,” Nauset coach Bruce Strunk said about Robinson. “And he’s getting more confidence as the season goes on. I’m really proud of him. He’s a good player.”
Robinson and Julien both shined in the backfield while splitting the brunt of the ball carrying duties with senior Chad Caramanna. Although the Warriors ultimately fell to 0-4 following the loss, Strunk said the two underclassmen in the backfield are just one reason the team should be optimistic about the future.
“The future is bright if we can get these kids to continue to grow this year and have a good offseason and keep the team together,” Strunk said.
MacLean empathizes with what Nauset is dealing with. Like many football teams on the Cape, Sandwich struggled to field a deep roster this summer.
“I’ve known what it’s like being on the other end of that stick,” MacLean said. “Bruce is a hell of a coach — he had to deal with kind of what I was dealing with at the beginning of the year because there were a bunch of kids who just didn’t want to play. I feel like the after effects of what happened in the spring [with the Fall II] season, it’s a lot.”
The Fall II season — the first-of-its-kind high school football season the Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association organized to give football teams a season during the 2020-2021 academic school year — proved to be costly for many programs because kids got their fill of football for the year.
Strunk said the team expects to have some players return to the lineup in the coming weeks but noted it’s tough because the team has a limited number of substitutes. However, the coach has been happy about what he’s seen from his players and is optimistic about the remainder of the season.
“We’re a very young team,” he said. “I think we started four freshmen and in my 28 years before I got to Nauset I only ever had one freshman start. I’m very proud of them and the way these guys have stepped up and played hard. With every game, we’re getting in better shape.”
Email Brad Joyal at firstname.lastname@example.org. Twitter: @BradJoyal