The battle for the Golden Wrench between Upper Cape and Cape Tech promises to be a rematch between two evenly-matched and run-oriented opponents.
The visiting Rams (2-7) will try to avenge a 14-6 loss on Sept. 23 against Cape Tech (3-6) by leaning on their running game and vastly-improved defense.
In the previous game, junior Acher Estinvil rushed for 77 yards and a pair of 3-yard touchdowns, and senior Marcus Aylmer added 94 rushing yards to lead the Crusaders.
Cape Tech’s defense allowed just 121 total yards and a single touchdown to UCT, which has won five straight in the Thanksgiving series.
Upper Cape, which has won two of its last three games since starting 0-6, is coached by Ken Owen, who mentored former UCT coach Mike Hernon at Rockland.
“It was a close and competitive game against Cape Tech,” Owen said. “We have a young, inexperienced team that’s improving. Our offense is built around senior Izayah Silva, who has rushed for over 900 yards and has an uncanny ability to make people miss.”
UCT is coming off a 30-8 win at Holbrook/Avon on Nov. 10. Silva rushed for 170 yards and three touchdowns to lead the offensive onslaught. The Rams built a 22-0 halftime lead and didn’t allow a score until the fourth quarter.
Seniors Nathan Neal, Liam Power, Brandon Waters, Sean Starbard and Mike Lippincott and juniors Jeremy Wurtzburger and Wally Alden open holes for Silva, who averaged an eye-popping 12.9 yards per carry against H/A.
Leading the way defensively is Alden at DE and sophomore safety Drew Brightman, who’s also a top receiving threat for quarterback Toby DelSignore.
Cape Tech, which is coached by Chris Leonard, dropped a 34-18 contest against Bristol-Plymouth on Nov. 11, despite 150 yards rushing and two TDs by Estinvil and 101 yards and a score by Aylmer.
Senior Tim Scruggs hauled in three receptions for 44 yards, while junior Juan Camilo had one reception for 12 yards as the Crusaders totaled over 300 yards in offense.
The Crusaders lost their last two non-playoff games to Randolph, 30-6, and Bristol-Plymouth, 34-18, after posting 46-18 win over Holbrook/Avon.
Three juniors have been playing well defensively for Cape Tech, including defensive tackle Chris Elkens, defensive back Tom Eldredge and defensive end Richardson Pierre, while Anthony Armenti plays quarterback.
In last year’s Thanksgiving game, the Rams shut out Cape Tech, 14-0, with two second-half TD passes by David Coakley, including 31 yards to Evan Lopes and a 32-yard aerial to Syler King.