N.S./Mount sews up regular-season title

N.S./Mount sews up regular-season title

North Smithfield/MSC senior defensive lineman Matt Beausoleil, left, gets ready to take down Ponaganset freshman tailback Nick Baccala in the backfield during last Friday night’s Division IV game. The co-op squad remained undefeated and clinched the regular-season title by posting a 22-7 victory. (Photo by Chuck Nadeau / www.chuckn.com)
Undefeated co-op football team defeats Ponaganset, 22-7, sets sights on 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.

“It was slippery out here, a little chilly,” N.S./Mount head coach Wes Pennington said. “The ball was slippery, but good teams learn how to win games like that, and we kind of learned how to take what we could take. This is a great football team that we beat tonight, and we’re just happy to get out of this with a win.”

N.S./Mount got on the board 4:40 into the game on a 25-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Jack Puccetti to Joshua Carufel, but 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 Zachary Silvaggio was intercepted by Ethan Alexander. But on their third series, they 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 they kept the momentum in the opening minutes of the third quarter when they recovered a fumble by N.S./Mount 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 ran in down the field for a touchdown.

While N.S./Mount was unable to tack on the extra point again, 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.

“I thought the defense played extremely well tonight,” Pennington said. “(Ponaganset) was driving the ball on us at times and (the defense) came up with plays when we needed plays.

N.S./Mount ended up making it a two-possession game and taking some drama out of the contest with 5:09 to play by producing its final touchdown and the ensuing two-point conversion.

“It’s a great feeling to (clinch the regular-season title), but we have to focus,” said Pennington. “We’re on a mission this year; we want to get to that championship game again, and hopefully, we can do that and complete the mission.”

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 in next week’s semifinals, will visit two-win Hope on Saturday at 1:30 p.m.