Sentinels win in overtime

Sentinels win in overtime

By KAYLA PANU

Breeze Sports Writer

kayla@valleybreeze.com

SMITHFIELD - In a thriller, the young Smithfield High School football team stunned Hope High School, 18-12 in overtime to take their second Division IV win of the season Friday night.

With five seconds remaining in the fourth quarter, the Smithfield Sentinels were forced to punt, giving the ball back to the Blue Wave. Hope made one play before the clock expired with both teams notched at 12 points, forcing a sudden death overtime.

The Blue Wave won the coin toss but deferred giving the Sentinels the ball first at the Hope 10-yard line. Quarterback Michael Cotoia handed the ball off to running back Brendan Correira who was wrapped up for a two-yard loss. Cotoia then decided to pass the ball, going to Jack Devlin finding him right by the end zone. Devlin caught the ball and broke the goal line for the 18-12 advantage.

Like the rest of the night, the Sentinels could not complete the two-point conversion and the score stayed at 18-12. In the alternate possession, the Blue Wave next got the ball at the Smithfield 10 as quarterback Bernard Hardy handed off to Arthur Baygboe for a three-yard gain. On the next play Hardy fumbled the ball. It was recovered by Hope but only after a loss of several yards.

On third down Baygboe was stopped, forcing a fourth down. Hardy attempted a pass that went sailing to no one as the Sentinel players rushed the field. The only problem was the penalty marker down on the play. It was called pass interference on Smithfield. The Blue Wave got to go half the distance to the goal but remained at fourth down.

Hardy made another incomplete pass and the Sentinels rushed the field again celebrating the 18-12 overtime victory.

"I think we asked some kids to step up and make plays that they did," Smithfield head coach Chris Branch said after his first overtime win. "We also had our coaching staff making adjustments on offense and defense. We asked the kids to do stuff they were not accustomed to and the younger kids stepped up."

With injuries and game-time injuries, the Sentinels were down five to six players. Austin Kane suffered a concussion in the fourth quarter and had to be helped off the field. Branch doesn't know how long Kane will be out.

It looked like the Sentinels would get on the board first as they took possession into the second quarter.

They were at the Blue Wave six-yard line but still had issues with committing penalties and breaking through Hope's defensive line. Correira could not get through and Cotoia threw an incomplete pass meant for John Green.

After a flag and being pushed back to the 10, Cotoia attempted another pass that was picked off by Hope's Bryan Zapata. There was a flag on the play on Hope but the Blue Wave kept possession. They started at their own seven and reached the 14. On third down Baygboe broke out for an 86-yard touchdown run for the 6-0 lead.

Two possessions later, the Sentinels put together a successful touchdown drive to tie up the game. Cotoia used running back Riley White seven times in the drive including the touchdown play from the Hope 11 for the 6-6 tie.

The game remained tied until the fourth quarter. The Blue Wave intercepted another pass by Cotoia but could not do anything with the turnover. They went three and out and punted. Green caught the ball, snuck through the right side and sprinted all the way for a 72-yard punt return touchdown.

"We've practiced the punt return since the first week of practice," Branch said. "It finally paid off for us."

With the new momentum and 12-6 lead the Sentinels kicked off to Hope.

The Blue Wave started at their own 37 as Hardy went to Baygboe who broke out and ran all the way for the touchdown and 12-12 tie.

"I'm proud of my team," Branch said. "They could have quit after that big running play. Today we scored early, made the big plays with sacks and fumble recoveries."

White grabbed a fumble by Hope in the first quarter to give Smithfield the ball but the Sentinels fumbled it and gave the ball right back. The Sentinels had another fumble recovery to start the second quarter. Jordan Smith and Kenne Ezeama combined for a sack after the Sentinels tied it up 6-6.

The Sentinels had a good comeback win after losing a shutout at Scituate the previous week.

"Scituate is a good football team and Mark Reed has done a fantastic job," Branch said. "We gave them good field position and we had five starters out. We did do a good job at stopping the run."

It was homecoming weekend for the Sentinels and for the first time a brother and sister won the king and queen. The 2013 Smithfield homecoming king and queen are Brady Greene and his sister Fallon Greene.

Smithfield will play at Exeter/West Greenwich on Saturday at 2 p.m.

While they enjoyed success against Smithfield, the Spartans had a tough go at it against undefeated Exeter/West during the weekend, dropping a 42-15 decision. Scituate will visit Central Falls on Friday for a 6 p.m. game.

Ponaganset had the same luck, losing, 21-0 to Middletown.

Ponaganset travels to Narragansett on Saturday for an 11 a.m. contest.