HYANNIS – Thanksgiving Day between Barnstable and Falmouth hasn’t been this close in a half decade. Or this exciting.
With 3.3 seconds left in the 4th quarter and situated on the Barnstable 10-yard line, Falmouth Clipper quarterback Nick Couhig rolled right as time expired. His pass, just a hair too high above his receiver’s fingertips in double coverage in the end zone – was deflected out of bounds. Barnstable, ahead 34-27, escaped W. Leo Shields Memorial Field early this Thanksgiving afternoon with its sixth consecutive Turkey Day victory.
Barnstable led 14-7 at the half and put another two quick scores in before the end of the third quarter to make what appeared to be a comfortable lead at 27-7. But a blocked PAT by the Clippers that would have made it 28-7 breathed life into the visitors and they came storming back.
Couhig – who displayed true grit throughout this affair and a certain type of relentlessness one comes to expect in watching years of Falmouth and Barnstable clash – engineered virtually every step of that comeback. He scored the first one on a 10-yard rush, diving into the goal-line pylon. Fullback Blake Murphy scored next with just 2:56 left in the game and then Couhig found wide receiver Hunter Scribner down the middle for a 20-yard score. A two-point PAT from Couhig to Tyler Brown made it 34-27.
With just 26.5 seconds remaining, Falmouth attempted its fourth onside kick of the game and this time recovered it at midfield. Couhig ran the first play for a gain of 12 yards, threw an incomplete pass and then nailed a leaping Scribner on a 40-yard Hail Mary and Scribner adeptly squeezed out of bounds to stop the clock. With no time-outs remaining, Couhig made one last bid from the 10-yard line and Nick Passalugo and Brener DeSouza defended, ensuring the pass was not caught.
Coaches and trainers attended to Couhig as the teams prepared to line up to shake hands after the final play of the game and he was helped off the field.
Barnstable senior running back DeMichael Johnson had 12 carries for 132 yards rushing on the day and two touchdowns (7 and 52 yds.), while senior Malique Dickerson-Pells had two brilliant receptions and the first and only touchdown of his Red Raider career. Senior Bo Delaney also had a spectacular touchdown, with a little help from fellow wideout Eric Holzman who stalk-blocked the Clipper defender at the goal line to aid Delaney’s score. Holzman turned in a standout performance on the day but did not score. Junior running back Ryan Dauphinais was credited with Barnstable’s first touchdown of the day, a 7-yarder in the first quarter.
Junior quarterback Griffin Burke went 14-24 in thair for 226 yards and a pair of touchdown passes, but he also had two interceptions.
Incredibly, Falmouth ran 94 plays to Barnstable’s 71 plays. Couhig went 12-27 passing for 186 yards but three fumbles (one by Couhig) and one interception thrown by Hunter Scribner (Jack Pipatti interception) proved costly for the visiting Clippers. Couhig also ran the ball 18 times for 100 yards and two touchdowns. He passed for one score, a 20-yarder, to Scribner. Scribner had four receptions for 110 yards including catches of 47 and 40 yards.
Sean Walsh is the sports editor for Cape Cod Broadcasting Media and www.capecod.com. He may be reached via email at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter @coachwalshccbm