Valley Breeze

The Valley Breeze & Observer 11-21-2019

The Valley Breeze Newspapers serving the Northern Rhode Island towns of Cumberland, Lincoln, Woonsocket, Smithfield, North Smithfield, Pawtucket, North Providence, Scituate, Foster, and Glocester

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Smithfield Scituate Foster Glocester Sports & Recreation valleybreeze.com @ NOVEMBER 21-27, 2019 Ponaganset drops thriller to N.S./MSC Field goal with 10.1 seconds to play foils Chieftains' bid to reach D-IV Super Bowl By ERIC BENEVIDES Valley Breeze & Observer Sports Editor sports@valleybreeze.com NORTH SMITHFIELD – Just one or two more minutes. That's all Ponaganset High head coach Jim Cook wished were still on the clock in last Friday night's Division IV semi- final-round game against the North Smithfield/Mount Saint Charles co-op football team. After falling behind by a 21-7 score less than a minute into the second quarter, the Chieftains did everything they possibly could to bounce back from their dismal start and topple the D-IV's lone undefeated team. And they nearly pulled off a victory for the ages. The Chieftains scored a pair of touchdowns in the second half to dra- matically knot the score with 8:23 left in the game, but the hosts delivered the final punch – Pasquale Camastro's 20-yard field goal with 10.1 seconds on the clock – that allowed them to escape with a 24-21 triumph. "I've been coaching for over 20 years, and that was probably one of the best second halves I've ever seen," said Cook, whose team was seeking its first Super Bowl appearance since capturing the D-III crown in 2009. "The boys played tough and came back strong against a great football team, and we lost with 10 seconds (left) on a field goal. It's a tough loss, but I'm proud of them." It was indeed a difficult defeat to such a remarkable season for the Chieftains, who despite fielding one of the state's youngest teams – only three seniors and a junior in their starting lineup – still managed to post a 5-3 record. That put them in a tie for third place in the regular-season standings with Toll Gate and clinched a return trip to the D-IV semis. And with several of their younger players getting a taste of the postsea- son for the first time last Friday, the Chieftains' youth showed at times during this game, especially in the first quarter. A fumble on the third play of the game quickly led to N.S./Mount's first touchdown – on a 20-yard run by tailback Jordan Allard 1:32 into play – and a breakdown in coverage allowed a wild-open Ethan Alexander to haul in a 29-yard TD pass from quarter- back Jack Puccetti with 3:16 left in the quarter. Prior to Alexander's touchdown, Ponaganset sophomore tailback Ethan Carpenter had tied the score at 7-7 with a 55-yard TD run with 6:57 to go in the quarter. But on the second play of the second quarter, Puccetti gave the hosts a 21-7 lead with a 17-yard keeper that saw him get stopped at the one-yard line, but reach the ball over the goal line before getting tackled to the turf. Ponaganset sophomores MARCUS CARPENTER, #24, and CHRISTIAN PLOUFFE, #54, team up to tackle North Smithfield/Mount Saint Charles tailback JORDAN ALLARD in the backfield during last Friday night's Division IV semifinal- round game at North Smithfield High. The Chieftains came back from a 21-7 deficit to tie the score, but the co-op team kicked a field goal with 10.1 seconds to play in the game and escaped with a 24-21 victory. PHOTO BY CHUCK NADEAU / WWW.CHUCKN.COM See CHIEFTAINS, Page 16

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