FOXBOROUGH — The Falmouth football team rang out in unison, “We’re Undefeated” while accepting the Division 2A state championship banner Saturday night at Gillette Stadium.
Behind a dominant 344-yard rushing attack, and 438 yards of total offense, the Clippers (13-0) completed the first perfect season in program history with a convincing 34-13 win over previously unbeaten Marblehead.
“I couldn’t have asked to fall in a better situation three years ago and this is just the culmination of that,” said Falmouth third-year coach Derek Almeida.
“I really think I got the toughest kids in the state. I don’t know if I got the best team, but I don’t think there is anybody tougher than those kids.
Falmouth established that toughness from the opening kick.
The Clippers’ triple-option had Marblehead on its heels before senior quarterback Nick Couhig perfectly executed a play-action, finding senior Jean Vasquez down the middle of the field for a 33-yard touchdown.
Marblehead (11-1) managed to keep the deficit to 7 until late in the second quarter. when Falmouth junior Gates Kelliher plowed his way in from 3 yards out. The Clippers were only up 14-0 at the half, but the game already felt out of reach for the Magicians.
“At least from the first quarter, it just seemed like they wanted it more,” said Marblehead coach Jim Rudloff. “I didn’t feel like we were ready in the first quarter. They were playing at one speed, we were playing at a different speed.”
The backbreaking drive came in the third quarter.
A Marblehead punt was downed at the Falmouth 5, setting up the Magicians if their defense could force a stop.
Couhig capped a 15-play, 95-yard drive with a 2-yard keeper late in the third quarter for a 21-0 margin. Marblehead responded less than a minute later with a 27-yard pass from Drew Gally to fellow senior Manning Sears. But it was not nearly enough.
On the ensuing drive, Kelliher found paydirt for the second time with another 3-yard run, extending the lead to 28-6.
“[The offensive line] just blows kids up and I have a truck hole for a gap,” said Kelliher.
Marblehead kept trying to chip away. Junior Derek Marino reeled in an 8-yard touchdown pass from Gally midway through the fourth quarter.
Following a failed onside kick, another giant gap opened up front for the 6-foot, 205-pound Kelliher, who capped his 18-carry, 95-yard, 3-touchdown day with a 42-yard scoring run.
“This couldn’t be a better feeling,” said Couhig. “Day in and day out, we just have been grinding. This is our goal, and we finally got it done.”
Marblehead finished with 68 yards rushing.
Falmouth 34, Marblehead 13
at Gillette Stadium, Foxborough
F — Jean Vazquez 33 pass from Nick Couhig (Colby Murphy kick)
F — Gates Kelliher 3 run (Colby Murphy kick)
F — Nick Couhig 2 run (Colby Murphy kick)
M — Manning Sears 27 pass from Drew Gally (kick failed)
F — Gates Kelliher 3 run (kick failed)
M — Derek Marino 8 pass from Drew Gally (Justin Faia kick)
F — Gates Kelliher 42 run (Colby Murphy kick)
RUSHING — F, Sam Koss 12-99, Gates Kelliher 18-95, Michael LaFrange 9-79, Nick Couhig 13-56; M, Jaason Lopez 10-33
PASSING — F, Nick Couhig 5-8-94; M, Drew Gally 12-21-1-149Karl Capen can be reached at email@example.com.