MASHPEE — The numbers were more than impressive.
In storming to a 5-0 start, the Nantucket football team crushed opponents, averaging 41.4 points while yielding just 4.0 per game.
But it was Mashpee, the defending Super Bowl champion, that put its formidable defense on full display in a clash of Division 7 unbeatens on Friday afternoon, making a statement with a 25-0 victory.
Senior quarterback Jacob Johnston threw a pair of touchdown passes and Xavier Gonsalves, a 6-foot-3-inch, 230-pound end, booted a field goal and recorded two sacks and four total tackles.
“It’s as good an effort as we’ve had in a long time here,” said Mashpee coach Matt Triveri. “We’ve had some really good teams here, but to stop that team [Nantucket] and keep them from scoring? It’s something else.”
Nantucket dealt Mashpee its only loss a year ago, a 31-26 decision on the island. Friday, the hosts contained quarterback Jack Holdgate and an elusive trio of backs.
“The athletes they have and how big of the line they have, they’re just a great a team that can score many points,” said Gonsalves. “Our defense had to step up really big this week.”
On its opening drive, Nantucket marched to the Mashpee 39, but two key stops and a turnover on downs allowed the Falcons to take over. A time-consuming 15-play drive resulted in a 10-yard toss from Johnston to junior tailback Devaun Ford in the back corner of the end zone.
Mashpee fumbled a punt in the second quarter, but the Falcons then seized momentum with a goal-line stand. Gonsalves capped the first half with a sack, preserving an 8-0 lead.
In the third quarter, in which the Falcons pulled away, Gonsalves drilled a 21-yard field goal.
“It was an angle kick, for him to come in and make a kick like that . . . he’s one of the best players in the entire state, and he’s a junior,” said Triveri. There’s a reason he’s getting looks from bigger schools. There’s not a better kid in America.”
Just when Nantucket started to drive in the fourth quarter, a strip by Ben Bohnenberger and a recovery by Gonsalves helped lock up the win.
“We’re always looking for a shutout, no matter what team it is,” said Gonsalves. “We always want no team to get past the 50-yard line. So far we’ve done a good job of that.”