HARWICH — If Las Vegas bet on high school football games, oddsmakers may have put the over-under for points in the Thanksgiving classic between Monomoy and St. John Paul II at around 40. Fewer points than the teams’ point total last year, but still a high-scoring affair.
If that was the line on Thursday, the under would have hit and then some — as the game remained scoreless after four quarters of play.
Defense. That was the story when the rivals met in Harwich for their fourth Thanksgiving matchup.
Four quarters of play wasn’t enough for the Sharks and Lions, who needed overtime to decide a winner after 48 minutes of scoreless regulation time. After both teams came up short on their first red zone possession to begin overtime, Monomoy sophomore Dillon Chapman became the hero when he found the end zone with a 17-yard touchdown run that helped propel the Sharks to an 8-0 victory over St. John Paul II.
“That was probably the most exciting football game I've been a part of as a coach,” Monomoy’s first-year coach Rob Sliney said. “That game just took 10 years off my life with the amount of stress I just felt, but I cannot be prouder of these guys. They fought all the way through.”
With the win, Monomoy finished its season with a 7-4 record and evened its Thanksgiving series with JP II to two wins each. The Lions finished 3-7 this fall.
The win helped the Sharks avenge the 56-26 loss they suffered in last year’s meeting. Thursday’s season finale was also especially gratifying for Monomoy, which celebrated its six senior players and two senior cheerleaders during pregame senior day ceremonies.
There were moments that both offenses advanced the ball past midfield, though turnovers and defensive stops kept the game close — and scoreless — throughout regulation.
The teams did their best impression of USA and England’s recent 0-0 draw in the World Cup during the second half. They routinely punted the ball back and forth until the clock ticked down to zero and overtime began.
By that point, it appeared one score could be enough to win the defensive battle.
“I was super confident with [our defense],” Sliney said. “I felt good in the fact that we made some offensive mistakes, and our defense kept us in this game. If it wasn't for them, that would have been a completely different game.”
One of the key players for Monomoy’s defense was senior linebacker Jordan Charlot, who credited his preparation throughout the season for leading the unit’s success against the Lions. It was Charlot and the other seniors’ final high school game.
“In my off time, I’m focused on school but then whenever I get the chance, I'm always on film,” said Charlot, a Harwich resident. “I watched what the other team does…when they’re in pistol formation they usually run tosses out of that. I can spot that the QB likes to throw to his right and sometimes likes to boot out to his right, so if I create pressure from his right and make him force the other side it makes him uncomfortable.”
After both teams failed to score on their first offensive possessions to start the extra frame, an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty pushed Monomoy back to the 17-yard line. That was when Chapman took the handoff from quarterback Jake Vagenas and jetted into the end zone for the first points of the game.
Moments later, Chapman gave the Sharks an 8-0 lead when he crossed the goal line again with a successful 2-point conversion run.
“That was amazing,” Chapman said of the sequence. “I mean, I won us the game pretty much, there's no better feeling than that. Our quarterback led the lead block. I mean, nothing better than that. I'm gonna be tired for Thanksgiving. But man, this is one of the best games I've ever played.”
Not only did the win even the series between against JP II, the 7-4 record Monomoy finished with also tied the program’s best record since the school opened.
Sliney said the win would make his holiday even sweeter.
“Thanksgiving is the best tradition in all of high school sports, in my opinion,” Sliney said. “I went to Nauset and unfortunately, I never won a Thanksgiving Day game as a player. And now this is actually the first time I've been on the field coaching a team or being part of a team that won a Thanksgiving game. So, this is a little extra special for me.”
Cape Tech Falls
The Cape Cod Tech football team was gashed by a strong running game when it hosted Upper Cape Tech on Thanksgiving morning in Harwich.
The visiting Rams took care of business to earn a 28-6 victory after Markeno Glenn rushed for 121 yards and two touchdowns and Jack Whelan added 102 rushing yards for Upper Cape (4-7).
Cape Tech finished its season with a 2-9 mark.