Photo by Cris Van Dyke

Gridiron Patriots fall in playoffs 

By Bill Sones  Correspondent
November 6, 2023

For the second season in a row, the Concord-Carlisle High School Patriots (4-5, 3-2 Dual County League) bowed out of the MIAA Division 2 playoffs after a first round loss on Friday, Nov. 3.  

There were several quick observations after the 11th seed Pats fell to #6 Bishop Feehan (7-1) 24-0.  First, it was evident from the opening quarter that CC could play with the Shamrocks.  For the first time since week two at Quincy, the Patriots defense kept the opposing offense off the board on their first possession — with a “3 and out” on BF’s first possession (and followed that up with another stop on the Shamrock’s 2nd possession).   

But it was also evident that the Patriots would have to play almost mistake-free football to outlast a strong, disciplined Shamrocks team that rarely missed an open field tackle (against a Patriots offense with skill players that have feasted on making opponents miss all season long). In addition, for the first time this season, the turnover bug hit the Patriots (but a lot of credit for that goes to a ball hawkish Bishop Feehan defense) as Bishop Feehan converted three Patriots turnovers into 17 points. But the 24-0 score truly was not indicative of the overall competitiveness of this game. 

The Patriots defense came out to play and set the tone early in the game. Sophomore linebacker Eric Nick (the team’s leading tackler for the season who led the Pats on Friday night with 10 tackles) stuffed the opening Shamrocks run and the Pats forced two incompletions in a row to force a punt. The offense kicked into gear against a very stout and disciplined Shamrocks team for two first downs to midfield- including a nifty third down scramble and shuffle pass from senior quarterback Ryan Fivek to senior running back Ryan DeMayo for a first down. The drive stalled, and the Pats had to punt. But again, the defense forced a quick 3 and out.  

A Patriots muffed punt put the defense back on the field at their own 26. The Pats defense was up to the task yet again and after a pass deflection in the end zone by Jr. Defensive Back Matthew Carleton and a run stuff by DeMayo, the Shamrocks settled for a 43-yard field goal and a 3-0 lead, which was the score after one quarter. 

The Pats offense was on the move with their crispest drive of the day as the second quarter opened.  With the offensive line getting some traction, the Pats had a nice mix of rushes and passes (including a 13 yarder to sophomore tight end Peter Burke for his first varsity catch) to march all the way to the Shamrock 26.  But the 10-play drive stalled, which was the story of the game against this tough Shamrock defense (the Patriots rushing attack only averaged 2.7 yards per rush after entering the game averaging 6.3 per carry for the season), and Bishop Feehan took over on downs.   

After trading possessions, the Shamrocks offense cashed in on their first two big offensive gains of the night: a 30-yard-deep completion which set up a 31-yard touchdown strike and the Pats trailed 10-0 at the half.   

The third quarter was more of the same as Patriots drives stalled due to the intense pressure of a very talented Bishop Feehan front seven defenders and the Shamrocks capitalized on Patriots’ miscues. Almost halfway through the quarter, the Shamrocks converted a Patriots fumble into a 19-yard touchdown pass and a 17-0 lead — which was the deficit CC faced as they headed to the final quarter. Although the Patriots never stopped fighting, including a late 11 play drive that stalled at the Bishop Feehan 35, the Shamrocks added another touchdown late to put the final tally at 24-0. 

The Patriots draw a familiar Dual County League foe as they try to claw back to .500 this Friday night as CC travels to Bedford for a 6 p.m. kickoff.