By RYAN D. MURRAY The Hawks were down 17-0 before they rallied to beat the North Kingstown Skippers 30-24 late Saturday afternoon during a Division I Football clash between the states' top two teams at Bishop Hendricken. Keith Croft, Hendricken's head
By RYAN D. MURRAY
The Hawks were down 17-0 before they rallied to beat the North Kingstown Skippers 30-24 late Saturday afternoon during a Division I Football clash between the states’ top two teams at Bishop Hendricken.
Keith Croft, Hendricken’s head coach, loved the resilience of his team following a slow first half.
“We showed a lot of character,” Croft said. “We never really doubted, but that’s a heck of a football team over there. I think we’re going to see them again.”
North Kingstown free safety Tyler Pezza picked off Hendricken senior quarterback Zach Lavergne late in the opening quarter and returned the ball to the Skippers 31. Shortly after that, the Skippers drew a 6-0 lead when senior signal caller Donovan Carr completed an 8-yard touchdown pass through the middle to running back Ben Brickle. Next, kicker Max Rome added the extra point and extended the North Kingstown advantage to 7-0.
With 10:03 left in the second quarter, Carr connected through the middle to Pezza and the wide receiver brought it 39-yards for the score and upped the Skippers lead to 14-0.
Rome added a 13-yard field goal with 7:40 remaining in the first half and extended the North Kingstown buffer to 17-0.
With 33.5 seconds remaining in the half, Hendricken inched within 17-3 when Daniel Rice, a senior kicker, made a field goal from 27 yards out.
The Hawks received the ball to start the second half, and after a touchback, running back Isaiah Emmanuel rushed 59 yards to the North Kingstown 31. Emmanuel finished the drive with a 2-yard rushing score and pulled Hendricken within 17-10.
During the ensuing kickoff, Rice’s kick ricocheted off the helmet of North Kingstown’s Owen Moynihan and into the hands of Hendricken freshman Rushuane Vilane at the North Kingstown 30, and the Hawks offense took over possession from there.
“That was huge,” Croft said. “That obviously isn’t something we planned and I think the sun got into their kids' eyes. It’s unfortunate. That’s the way the ball bounces sometimes, but luckily one of our guys were there.”
Hawks senior running back Shyne Fernandes capped that drive with a 3-yard touchdown rush and evened the game at 17.
“It's human nature when they’ve got that 17-0 lead,” Croft said. “You’re not feeling too good, but you knew, a field goal before the half, and then a touchdown to start the second half that we’d kind of chipped our way back into it.”
North Kingstown grabbed a 24-17 lead with 3:54 remaining in the third quarter when Carr completed a 17-yard touchdown pass to senior Drew Schwab.
During the Hawks next drive, Lavergne connected with wide receiver Andres Andujar, who took the ball ten yards to the 5. Next, Emmanuel rushed it in for the score, for his second touchdown of the game, while knotting the game at 24.
It was a productive day for the veteran running back.
“He had a few long runs in the second half, which really gave us a little spark, a little momentum, and he’s got a lot of talent,” Croft said. “He’s a tough kid. He’s been in the program now for four years, so he’s a senior, a kid who’s paid his dues.”
Next, during a North Kingstown third and 10, Hendricken’s Vilane sacked Carr and forced the Skippers to punt from their own 17 with 9:31 remaining.
Hendricken started its next possession with great field position at the North Kingstown 45. On first down, Emmanuel rushed 24 yards to the 21. Then, during a fourth-and-inches, with the ball at the North Kingstown 1, Lavergne, with the help of the Hawks offensive line, plowed their way into the end zone and gave Hendricken a 30-24 edge with 4:53 remaining.
“I think he’s got a lot of guts,” Croft said of his new starting quarterback. “He’s a competitive kid. We’re looking forward to seeing him. He’s getting a little bit better week to week and he’s got some leadership qualities. He did it on the ground today, he made a couple key passes, and I think he’s starting to settle in.”
Rice missed the extra point after that, but it wouldn’t matter.
The Skippers would only get as far as the Hawks 27 before turning the ball over on downs. Then, Emmanuel rushed for a first down on a third-and-5 and that was enough for the Hawks to run out the clock.
Next, the Hawks (2-0) meet Shea (0-2) at Max Read Field on Friday at 6pm.