BY CHARLIE ADAMS, TSM LEAD WRITER
(Cranston, RI) - With the Thanksgiving day game fast approaching, the Cranston East football team had a consolation game following the end of another winless regular season. It was last year’s consolation match against West Warwick that brought the ‘Bolts their lone victory in recent memory. Their consolation game success continued, as on this Veterans Day morning, Cranston East took down the East Greenwich Avengers, 42-21.
The ‘Bolts offensive struggles have been the story all year, but East Greenwich came into this game with nearly half of the points that Cranston East had mustered this season. East’s usual crowd was thinned out by the early start time and conflicting Veteran’s Day festivities. In a battle between the bottom two teams in Division II, East’s run game and ability to make plays when needed outdueled the Avengers passing attack.
East Greenwich won the opening coin toss, and elected to receive to start the game. The ‘Bolts defense jumped offsides three times on the drive before allowing QB Alexander DeTomasis to connect with Thomas Sheeran from 20 yards for the game’s first score. With the successful extra point from Joseph Ruff, the Avengers led 7-0 early.
The ‘Bolts returned a squibbed kickoff past their own 50-yard line to start their first drive. Peyton Ginolfi ripped off runs of 20 and 11 yards to help East convert on long distance situations. Ginolfi continued to pound the rock to try to get those final couple yards by the goalline, but on fourth down, quarterback Da’Qwon Foster was the one who could finally cross the plane on a 2-yard sneak. The ensuing extra point knotted the game at 7 as the first quarter came to a close.
On a third and very long, the Avengers miraculously converted as they entered the second quarter in enemy territory. Patrick Kiernan scored on an 18-yard pass lobbed to the endzone from DeTomasis. East Greenwich went back up by seven, 14-7, with another successful extra point by Joseph Ruff.
Again looking to respond, the Thunderbolts continued rushing and throwing short passes to push down the field. They were able to score with a jump ball in the back corner of the endzone that Romeo Cordero was able to reel in. Attempting a two-point conversion for the lead, Foster found Naz Milien to go up 15-14 in the contest.
The Avengers continued to make big gains through the air, but their air attack backfired when Alex Jones intercepted an attempted screen pass and brought it all the way back to the Avengers’ five-yard line. The first play on offense saw Romeo Cordeiro’s second touchdown of the game, this time on the ground with a jet sweep. The extra point went through as the Thunderbolts increased their lead to 8 points.
Following the interception, the Avengers offense didn’t shy away from their passing offense. The Avengers’ Kiernan continued to burn ‘Bolt defensive backs, but made a crucial drop to stall out their drive.
A Henry Seeley punt, aided by a fortunate roll for East Greenwich, stuck the ‘Bolts deep in their own end. However a defensive pass interference call gave East some breathing room. A big catch and run by Milien with just over a minute in the quarter brought the Thunderbolts near the red zone. Foster was able to outrun the defense and stretch the ball over the pylon to break the plane for his second rushing touchdown of the game. The extra point was pushed through to take the lead to 29-14 going into halftime.
Receiving the ball coming out of the half with a two score lead, the ‘Bolts were forced to punt for the first time in the contest. East Greenwich couldn’t gain any traction with the stop, and were forced to punt the ball right back.
A’driahn Foreman got the ‘Bolts driving again as he broke through would-be Avenger tacklers on a 41-yard gain to put the Thunderbolts back in scoring position. Foster connected with Milien in the end zone from eight yards out - this time for six - as Cranston East increased their lead to 36-14.
East continued to pick up yards in chunks on the ground on their next drive, but penalties put them at 4th and long from the Avenger 31-yard line. Nachbi Cherry was able to catch a screen pass that converted the first down and set the ‘Bolts up on the 1-yard line. Foster was able to roll out the next play and find Brady Kitterick in the back of the end zone for the Thunderbolts’ sixth touchdown of the game. The ‘Bolts led 42-14 before the 3rd quarter had ended.
Starting the 4th quarter with the ball, East Greenwich showed signs of life. The Avengers returned to scoring as Cade Thomas received a pass from DeTomasis, cutting the ‘Bolts lead to 42-21.
Peyton Ginolfi continued his great day on the ground as the ‘Bolts looked poised to answer back to East Greenwich’s score with another of their own. However, the Avengers defense stood strong and forced a turnover on downs near the goalline.
An exchange of punts and some playing time for backups netted no points for either side, and the ‘Bolts got to leave the field happy for the first time all year, taking down the Avengers, 42-21.
If you’re looking to build momentum for your team leading up to the Thanksgiving game against your rival, perhaps beating a team by 21 points the game before is a good place to start. While a consolation game, a win is a win, especially following the season they’ve had. The ‘Bolts are back in action Thanksgiving day where they'll face their rival and a team battle-tested in the Division-II playoffs, Cranston West.
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