Tolman comes up short to Pilgrim

Tolman comes up short to Pilgrim

In the first quarter of last Friday night’s non-league football game, Tolman senior #11 Brody Moats makes the tackle on Pilgrim #4 Brady Burke. The Tolman defense foiled the Patriots first drive. Burke scored Pilgrim’s two touchdowns in the 14-12 win over the Tigers. (Breeze photo by Kayla Panu)
Tigers struggle against non-league football opponent, suffer 14-12 loss

PAWTUCKET – The Tolman High football team could not get out of its own way last Friday night at Pariseau Field, as Pilgrim took a 14-12 win in a non-league contest to officially start the high school season.

Things didn’t start out well for the Tigers despite being back on their old home field. They previously used Pariseau Field before Max Read was renovated with turf. Now they share Max Read with Shea, but had a rare opportunity to get back to their roots last Friday.

Tolman head coach Jason DeLawrence said that the experience was crazy being back at Pariseau, as the clock didn’t work to start the game, there were no benches for the teams, and the sound system was not working. But it was still nostalgic.

“It does feel good to play back here,” DeLawrence said.

The Tigers have not started well in either of their first two starts including the Injury Fund game and this non-league contest. The D-II Tigers faced the D-III Patriots, and any time they started to go in the right direction, the Tigers made a mistake and the Patriots capitalized.

“We just shoot ourselves in the foot over and over,” DeLawrence said after the game. “It happened last week with Woonsocket. It happened this week again. Every time we get going, third-and-two, third-and-one, the ball gets over snapped, (there’s) a fumble.”

Tolman had five fumbles on the snap against Pilgrim including on the Tigers’ first play. After finally shutting down Pilgrim on defense, the Tigers began their first drive at their own 15 starting Derek Monteiro at quarterback. The first play had a bad snap but Monteiro recovered without losing anything.

The Tigers picked up eight yards before another over-snapped ball for another fumble. They regained the ball but it was fourth down and they were forced to punt.

Neither team scored in the first quarter and Jaymond Labossiere replaced Monteiro at quarterback in the second.

“We don’t have a high-powered offense,” DeLawrence said. “I got one dude that can take it to the house. I got a real solid line. So we just got to nail them. We keep making mistakes and we’re not going to win until we clean up that stuff. Plain and simple, I don’t care who we play.”

The defense was doing its job until Pilgrim quarterback Connor Widmer opened up the passing game in the second. In their first full possession of the second quarter, the Patriots and Widmer made five passes including a touchdown.

They started at the Tolman 32 and needed plays to get into the end zone. Widmer fired a nine-yard touchdown pass to Brady Burke, the ensuing kick was good for the 7-0 lead, and that’s how the score would stay until the third.

The Tigers finally got some momentum going coming out of the half. On the second half kickoff, Elijah Osei caught the ball and went all the way for a 73-yard touchdown run. The kick was not good so the Tigers were still behind, 7-6.

Osei did everything for the Tigers, despite being knocked around. He made some big tackles on defense and scored the Tigers’ first touchdown. He accrued 206 yards on the ground, along with a six-yard pass.

“Listen, he’s offense, defense, he does anything I need him to do,” DeLawrence said about Osei.

The ball switched hands before the Tigers got the ball back at their own 31. Four plays later, while trying to gain a few extra yards, Labossiere would not go down and when he did the ball came out and Pilgrim recovered the fumble.

At their own 33, the Patriots put together four plays for the score. The Tolman defense was pushing the Patriots back but in a drop in coverage, Widmer found a wide-open Burke, made the pass and Burke screamed into the end zone. It was a 54-yard touchdown pass. Austin Kilduff kicked the extra point and Pilgrim was up 14-7.

“Pilgrim played good,” DeLawrence said. “They are going to be a tough team down in DIII and we just got to play better.”

The Tigers scored one more touchdown as they brought the ball into the fourth quarter. They started the drive at the 50 in the third, and by the fourth, they were at the Pilgrim 14. On a pass play to Osei, the Tigers reached the 3-yard line, but after another bad snap, they were pushed back to the 8.

It took two plays, but Labossiere finally found Lershaun Hibbert in the end zone for a nine-yard touchdown pass. They went for two, but the pass was incomplete and the Tigers could not tie the score.

The Tigers have worked out both quarterbacks and DeLawrence said Labossiere played well and he will probably get the starting job.

The Tigers will next travel to West Warwick High to take on the Wizards on Friday at 6:30 p.m.

“Stop making mistakes,” DeLawrence said about what they will work on for Friday. “We have to snap the ball, catch the ball. We can’t have holding calls. We just have to play sound football, which we didn’t do tonight.”