N.S./Mount co-op team holds off Ponaganset

N.S./Mount co-op team holds off Ponaganset

Ponaganset sophomore tailback Marcus Carpenter is off to the races as he breaks off a long run during last Friday’s Division IV game against the North Smithfield/Mount Saint Charles co-op team. The co-op squad remained undefeated and clinched the regular-season title by posting a 22-7 victory. (Photos by Chuck Nadeau / www.chuckn.com)
Chieftains wrap up regular season Saturday at Hope, seek second seed in upcoming Div. IV playoffs

GLOCESTER – The undefeated North Smithfield/Mount Saint Charles co-op football team clinched its second straight Division IV regular-season championship last Friday night, but unlike its previous seven victories, the co-op team’s 22-7 win on the road over Ponaganset was a tight battle for four quarters.

N.S./Mount had won five of its first seven games by 30 or more points, but the visitors weren’t able to make it a two-possession game until 5:09 remained in the contest. That’s when the visitors produced their final touchdown and tacked on the ensuing two-point conversion to increase their lead to 15 points.

“We played hard,” Ponaganset head coach James Cook added. “At times, we executed, and defensively we played very strong. (N.S./Mount) is an explosive team that scores a lot of points; unfortunately we couldn’t move the ball and gave it back to them.”

The Chieftains, who entered this game with three straight victories, including a 40-26 win on Oct. 19 in Tiverton over the defending champion Tigers, quickly fell behind 4:40 into the game on N.S./MSC quarterback Jack Puccetti’s 25-yard touchdown pass to Joshua Carufel.

Ponaganset came back with a drive that started at the 50 and reached N.S./Mount’s three-yard line. But the drive ended there, when on first-and-goal, the Chieftains fumbled the ball away at the one-yard line.

On the Chieftains’ next possession, they again got the ball into the red zone, but on fourth down, quarterback Zach Silvaggio was intercepted by Ethan Alexander. But on its third series, Ponaganset took a 7-6 lead on a 42-yard touchdown pass from Silvaggio to Nicholas Baccala and the extra point by Ryan DeRoche.

The Chieftains carried their one-point lead into halftime and kept the momentum in the opening minutes of the third quarter when they recovered a fumble by N.S./MSC at its 43. But after two false starts and a three-yard run gave the Chieftains a 2nd-and-17 at the 50, Silvaggio saw the snap sail over his head, and N.S/Mount’s Ethan Garneau picked up the loose ball and brought it down the field for the go-ahead touchdown.

While N.S./Mount was unable to tack on the extra point, the visitors did score two points on a safety to make it a 14-7 game with 1:27 to go in the third quarter. Facing a fourth down on their 14-yard line, the Chieftains saw the snap to their punter sail over his head and into the end zone for a safety.

“It was a good game, hard fought by each side,” Cook said. “We just made too many mental mistakes.”

Before N.S./Mount took its two-touchdown lead in the game’s final minutes, the visitors nearly got on the board again at the start of the fourth quarter. They had the ball on the Chieftains’ 1-yard line, but turned the ball over on downs after they lost two yards on a carry and threw an incomplete pass on fourth-and-goal.

“This is a great football team that we beat tonight,” North Smithfield head coach Wes Pennington added. “We’re just happy to get out of this with a win.”

The Chieftains were coming off a 35-7 victory over Davies Tech that saw Silvaggio score a touchdown and throw TD passes to Ryan Smith and Aaron Parenteau, and Marcus Carpenter also scored on TD runs of 50 and 20 yards and ran for over 100 yards.

In the victory over the Tigers, Carpenter had a monster game that saw rush for 323 yards and again score multiple touchdowns. And before that victory, Ponaganset rolled to a 38-20 win at home over the Exeter-West Greenwich/Prout co-op team that saw Carpenter run for 226 yards and three TDs, Silvaggio toss touchdown passes to Chris Brennan and Smith, and Baccala also score a touchdown.

While N.S./Mount, which will host one-win Scituate on Friday at 6:30 p.m. in its regular-season finale, will be the top seed in the playoffs that will begin next weekend, Ponaganset, which is 4-3 and expected to battle Tiverton (5-2) in next week’s semifinals, will visit two-win Hope on Saturday at 1:30 p.m.

Ponaganset sophomore linebacker Christian Plouffe, #54, slams North Smithfield/MSC senior tailback Cade Curran to the ground during last Friday’s Division IV game.
Ponaganset sophomore wide receiver Chris Brennan catches the ball near the Chieftains’ sideline.