Sentinels, Chieftains, Spartans come up short
Sentinels, Chieftains, Spartans come up short
By KAYLA PANU
Breeze Sports Writer
SMITHFIELD - The young Smithfield High School Sentinels got their first taste of high school varsity football Friday night, taking a 36-6 loss to Division II Pilgrim.
Ponaganset and Scituate also lost, the Chieftains dropping a 34-0 decision to powerful Johnston, while Scituate was blanked, 32-0 by Burrillville.
"In the first half, my young 14-year-old puppies were nervous and overwhelmed with the speed of the game," Smithfield head coach Chris Branch said. "Pilgrim is a Division II team. Next week we are back to Division IV. I knew they would be nervous."
The Sentinels scored their one and only touchdown in the first quarter while giving up four touchdowns in the first half. In the second they were able to regroup and only allowed one more touchdown.
The Patriots received the ball first and scored on their opening drive after a penalty and a fumble recovered in their backfield. On second and long, at least 23 yards for a first down, the quarterback Robert Quaine gave the ball to Owen Kelly, who ran all the way for a touchdown. Kelly had some big runs for Pilgrim.
The young Sentinel offense took a few tries before anything came together. Nick DiPaola started out as at quarterback but neither he nor his running back, Brendan Correira, could find a hole and they went three and out.
The Sentinel defense stepped up to get the ball back on a fumble. The only problem was that they were still in their own territory and again Jordan Smith was forced to punt.
Rob Ciaramello caught the ball for the Patriots and ran to give his team a better position. They started at the Smithfield 49 and needed one play for a touchdown as Kelly did the honors again. Quaine ran in for the two-point conversion to give Pilgrim the 14-0 lead.
On their next drive the Sentinel offense finally clicked to get back into the game. The Patriots attempted an onside kick that lineman James Switzer fell on.
The Sentinels started at their own 44 and this time DiPaola tried out running back Riley White. On two plays White picked up seven yards while Correira got the last three to give the Sentinels their initial first down.
DiPaola handed off to sophomore running back Isaiah Roman, who broke left and sped by the Patriot defenders into the end zone for Smithfield's first and only touchdown of the night. DiPaola missed his mark in Roman as the two-point conversion was a negative.
The Patriots ended the first quarter scoring another touchdown as Kelly picked up another long run, but was stopped short of the goal line. It took two quarterback sneak plays to break through and score.
They added another score before the half ended and a two-point conversion for the 28-6 lead.
"In the second half they relaxed," Branch said about his team. "They put nice drives together and occupied the ball for about eight minutes (of the third quarter). We have to start playing methodical football.
"You have to remember, Isaiah Roman was a freshman last year while Riley White and Brendan Correira didn't see too much playing time last year. I think I had five sophomores in the game."
The Sentinels looked like a different team in the second half. They didn't allow Pilgrim to score in the third quarter, mainly because they had the ball for most of it. They also had a new quarterback, as Michael Cotoia took over the reins.
"It was a half-time discussion," Branch said about switching his quarterbacks. "Before the game we still didn't know who was going to be the quarterback. Nick (DiPaola) got the edge the last practice. But there is still a debate for next Friday night."
The Sentinels got the ball to start the third as Correira picked up the Patriot kick to put them at their own 29. Cotoia went to Correira four times before passing the ball to him to reach the Patriot 49-yard line.
They put together 10 more plays but three of those were called back on penalties.
The Patriots committed two of those while the Sentinels committed the last one on fourth down. The Sentinels were stopped and forced to turn the ball over.
The Sentinel defense came out firing wrapping up the Pilgrim offense. The Patriots went down to their fourth chance. It looked like they might punt but Quaine threw a pass to Ciaramello for a first down in the red zone. Two more attempts were made before the fourth quarter started and the Sentinels finally stopped the Patriots pushing them back and regaining possession at their own 13.
Smithfield had issues with penalties on its next drive but White did have a nice run, a 54-yard jaunt to get into Patriot territory. They were stopped short of a first as Pilgrim took over at its 31-yard line. Four plays later they had scored another touchdown and two more points for the eventual 36-6 win.
The Sentinels put 10 more plays together before Pilgrim took over and ran out the clock.
"I think we had way too many penalties," Branch said. "We can't overcome first and 15. Penalties are bad and with our inexperience we have to put things together."
The Sentinels will host Central Falls this Friday under the lights.
Ponaganset will host East Greenwich on Saturday at noon and Scituate has a bye week.