|Last year it was DeShaun Dias writing himself into Mashpee lore at Gillette. Can any current Falcons do the same in Foxboro this Saturday? Photo courtesy of ESPN Boston and Brendan C. Hall.|
From the West to the Cape, no state championship will cover more distance than Saturday's clash between Western Mass mainstay Wahconah and Cape power Mashpee in the Division 4 final. The game is set to kick off at 1:30 pm, and here's everything you need to know.
Wahconah Warriors: 10-1, D4 West Champs
Wahconah is one of Western MA's most consistent winners, and it wasn't that long ago that the Warriors were at Gillette hoping to bring home a state championship. Unfortunately for Wahconah, those title hopes were dashed by a brilliant Holliston team back in 2014, but this year's squad may have the talent, and toughness to achieve the ultimate prize Saturday.
This year's Warriors showed immense physical and mental toughness in the state semifinals, holding off UMass-bound running back/linebacker Cole McCubrey and the West Boylston Lions. In the process, Wahconah's defense proved it wouldn't be pushed around by anybody, with a physical front-seven and play making secondary, spearheaded by junior corner Dane Campbell, leading the way.
Offensively, dual-threat quarterback Will Geneway is just as comfortable keeping the ball on the read-option as he is hitting the open man in stride. One of his favorite targets, senior receiver Wyatt Schleicher, has a knack for making big plays down the stretch, and extending drives for the Warriors. Running back Tanner Hastings forms a solid backfield duo with Geneway, with either one of them capable of turning a short gain into a touchdown at any time.
Mashpee Falcons: 10-1, D4 South Champs
Wahconah isn't the only team here with big-game experience. The Falcons captured the Division 6 state championship last year at Gillette, and have won two Super Bowls in the last five years.
Last season, it was Mashpee senior DeShaun Dias (pictured above) who went on a historic run in the playoffs, amassing over 1,200 yards rushing in just five tournament games as the Falcons captured a state crown. This year, Mashpee has a two-headed rushing attack in the form of Devaun Ford and Jason Andrade, and with the progression of quarterback Nick Carpenter, the offense is as explosive as ever.
Defensively, Mashpee has shown some holes, but always managed to tighten up when it really matters. In the state semifinals against then-undefeated Brighton, the Falcons gave up 34 points, but were able to clamp down on Brighton early to build a big lead, then late when they needed to ice the game.
As always, Mashpee has athletes, and look for the Falcons to showcase their speed in a wide-open attack where plenty of different guys will touch the ball.
The Bottom Line
Mashpee comes into this game as a defending state champion, and with skill-talent in abundance, but don't sleep on Wahconah, a team that has been able to hit with anybody they've faced this year. If it turns into a shootout, that would likely favor the Falcons, but if it stays in the teens or below, give the Warriors the edge.