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‘Bolts fall to Falcons in 50th Thanksgiving Game, 28-26


East's A'driahn Foreman turns the corner during the 'Bolts 28-26 loss to West on Thanksgiving Day. [PHOTO CREDIT: @chse.photography]

BY CHARLIE ADAMS, TSM LEAD WRITER

(CRANSTON, RI) - The crosstown rivalry was renewed once again on Thanksgiving, with this year’s event marking the 50th Thanksgiving matchup between the two schools. In the 49 previous matchups, only one game separated the teams, with the school on the other side of the city leading by one game following their 35-26 victory last year. Cranston West took the 50th Thanksgiving game in a close, down-to-the-wire, 28-26 victory.

It was four straight wins for Cranston West that put the Falcons in front of the Thanksgiving matchup heading into its fiftieth edition. Entering the game, the Thunderbolts seemed to be as cooked as the press box turducken. The situation appeared to go from bad to worse when freshman backup quarterback Kayvion Perrault came out for Cranston East’s first drive.

What seemed disastrous turned out to be somewhat of a red herring, as starting quarterback Jayden Chagnon entered the game in the second quarter. The Thunderbolt offense looked as good as they had all season following his entry. A variety of attacks through the air and on the ground got the team rolling.

Both teams entered the game following subpar regular seasons, with neither team making the playoffs. For Cranston East, it has been a pattern for years; for West it is in part due to the loss of running back Marcus Chung to graduation. The Falcons offense certainly seemed to be less potent with his absence.

Cranston West started the Thanksgiving day game off with the ball. Kelan Cornell found Adrian Samayo on a deep pass to get the ball into Thunderbolts territory early. The Falcons continued to push forward before Anthony Salas punched in a 13-yard touchdown run to open the scoring. Jack Majcher punched through the extra point to put West up 7-0.

Already trailing, the Thunderbolts exclusively ran the ball on their opening drive behind their backup freshman quarterback. They failed to pick up a first down before having to punt it away just past midfield.

The Falcons' run game gained yards in chunks up the field on their second drive. Cornell played a major role in their running game, keeping it for himself multiple times in the drive before punching it in on a draw from two yards out. East trailed 14-0 before they had mustered a first down.

That remained true following Cranston East’s next drive, as they went 3-and-out again. After a bad snap nearly spelled disaster on 3rd and short, the Thunderbolts were lucky to see fourth down and punted away.

The Falcons offense finally faltered as the first quarter came to a close as, due to a handful of penalties, Cranston East forced a turnover on downs. They held the ball as the second quarter got going. The Thunderbolts again couldn’t cut the mustard on offense, failing to pick up a first down before turning the ball over on downs.

The Falcons sat at 1st and 20 in Cranston East territory following a penalty. This was amplified by Cameron Major sneaking through for a big sack on Cornell. The Thunderbolt defense seemed to have woken up as they forced another punt from Cranston West.

Jayden Chagnon entered the game for the first time on Cranston East’s following drive. There was an immediate difference as the Thunderbolts went through the air for the first time all game. This helped them to move the chains for the first time all day.

The drive pushed over to Falcon territory for the first time and they capitalized on it with their first score. Chagnon found a wide-open Armand Reed who ran it in untouched for a 28-yard touchdown. A’driahn Foreman pushed across the two-point conversion as Cranston East cut the deficit to six points.

The Falcons immediately responded on their first play back on offense, as Cornell found Salas again, this time on a short screen pass. Salas weaved his way all the way up the field for a 55-yard catch and run touchdown. Cranston West responded to the Thunderbolts' two-point conversion with one of their own. Cornell kept it and succeeded in pushing the lead to 22-8 prior to halftime.

With under a minute remaining in the first half, Cranston East used a timeout to talk things over. Whatever play they drew up worked. Chagnon again connected with Reed for the touchdown. It was a 57-yard touchdown that put the ‘Bolts right back in the game.

After a long kick return by Anthony Salas, Michael Terry intercepted Cornell to keep things at 22-14 entering halftime.

Cranston East received the football to begin the second half trailing by a score. For the third time, Chagnon connected with Reed. It was another deep shot downfield and resulted in a 54-yard touchdown reception. The two-point conversion attempt by A’driahn Foreman was thwarted, keeping the Falcons in front 22-20.

Kelan Cornell continued to work the ball on the ground himself, but it was Cranston East’s momentum that continued to grow as Cornell fumbled and the Thunderbolts recovered.

With a chance to lead for the first time in the game, East couldn’t manage to capitalize on the fumble as they turned the ball over on downs.

In a drive that spilled into the fourth quarter, the Falcons were unable to extend their lead. The Thunderbolts took the ball over on downs as they trailed by two.

A 65-yard rush for A’driahn Foreman brought the Thunderbolts to the one-yard line. The Falcons' defense brought them to fourth down, but finally, it was Armand Reed who punched it across for his fourth total touchdown. A failed two-point conversion left the ‘Bolts in front for the first time, 26-22, with approximately six minutes remaining in the contest.

On the ensuing drive, Anthony Salas found the end zone for Cranston West once again, bringing them up by two. The extra point was blocked and gave the Thunderbolts a chance to win with just a field goal when they got the ball back with three minutes to play.

Time ticked under a minute for the Thunderbolts, a last-ditch effort reverse end around carried by Reed was not to be. The Falcons stopped the attempt and forced a turnover on downs. The Falcons kneeled out the remaining time left to take home the Thanksgiving game, 28-26.

Armand Reed for Cranston East, Anthony Salas for Cranston West: both players scored every touchdown for their respective teams. Reed won the offensive MVP for East, while Kelan Cornell took the honors for West. Michael Terry was named the Thunderbolts' defensive MVP, while Jack Majcher earned the honor for the Falcons.

To keep up on all things regarding Thunderbolt sports, go to www.tbsportsmedia.com and @tbsportsmedia on Twitter, Instagram, and TikTok. Be sure to check out Thunderbolt Sports Talk, a new podcast from TSM’s Charlie Adams and Tim Yean. Link on tbsportsmedia.com and on Spotify.


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