Hawks’ win over Rams a bit different


The Bishop Hendricken and La Salle football teams added another fun game to their historic rivalry last Friday night, with the Hawks squeaking out the 10-9 decision.

This game was the typical Hawks-Rams in so many ways, but it was also different in others. The last time these two teams met was last November in the state championship. It was a chaotic shootout and the Hawks won in what was the highest scoring state championship in Rhode Island history.

This time around was much tighter. It was clear in the first quarter that 90 points were not going to be accumulated.

It was a quiet three quarters, but in the fourth, the drama ensued. Hendricken scored its first touchdown of the game, and then La Salle had the ball in the Hendricken red zone in the final minute. The Rams made a few big plays, the Hawks committed some costly penalties. In the end, La Salle would miss the field goal and Hendricken got the W.

I would say that my biggest takeaway overall was simple. It was more of the same in terms of the result, but the way we got there was much different.

The Hawks are clearly the top team in the state, while the Rams are clearly the second best. Like most years, La Salle has all the tools and talent to beat the Hawks, but somehow, some way, Hendricken just has an unbelievable knack to get the job done.

Usually when it is all said and done, you can pinpoint the areas that the winning team was better. Even if it doesn’t seem like the better team won, you can almost always identify where the advantage took place that led to the win.

This time though, I am struggling to do so.

Sure, the Hawks had that big touchdown drive in the critical moments of the fourth quarter. The defense made some big stops toward the end as well. However, each of those things can be said for the Rams. Had they converted on the chip shot field goal, we’d be sitting here with a whole other story.

These teams played totally even in my opinion. That’s the point I am trying to make. These teams always seem to play dead even, but the Hawks almost always come away with the win. Great teams find ways to win, and once again, Hendricken did just that, even if it got some help from the other side.

The other takeaway for me is that familiarity played a huge role in this game. The narrative since last Friday was that this was a defensive battle and each side showed up big. Although that is true to an extent, what I saw at times were two teams that just knew each other so well. There were no surprise plays, nothing that was unexpected. In my opinion, that was the biggest reason why we were deadlocked until late in the game.

Another state championship matchup seems inevitable at this point. Sure, Central or North Kingstown may have something to say about it, but Hendricken-La Salle is certainly the favorite at the moment.

In the next meeting, with everything on the line, I think the team that wins will be the one that adds the most from here on. Neither team could gain much traction last week, but it was because there were no surprises. Heck, even the fans and media could call what was going to happen play by play. That’s not a sign of two bad teams either, it is a sign of two dominant teams that know what works for them.

The final quarter of last Friday’s game had me on edge the most I have been so far this fall. You know you’re entertained when your palms are sweaty and you feel the anxiety set in on every play, every exchange. That’s what it is all about and I am looking forward to the next time these two clubs meet.

Do we have a quarterback controversy brewing with the New England Patriots?

Third string quarterback Bailey Zappe just made his second career start on Sunday against the Browns and put on a show. He is now 2-0 as a starting signal caller and has a passer rating over 100. Mac Jones, meanwhile, is still recovering from his ankle sprain and is off to a terrible start this fall season.

Patriots fans are reminiscing about the 2001 season, while no-name backup Tom Brady stepped in for the injured superstar Drew Bledsoe, and well, you know what happened from there.

Although I like Zappe and was impressed, let’s take it easy for a second.

I am very down on Mac Jones. I thought he was good as a rookie, not great, and he was an absolute train wreck through the first three games this season. He turned the ball over, showed no plus attributes; it was just an ugly start for him with the new offensive coaching staff.

Zappe on the other hand, showed poise and took great care of the ball. The playbook was obviously dumbed down a bit and he had help around him, but plain and simple, Zappe outperformed Jones.

The reason why I do not believe the Patriots should or will keep Jones on the bench, ultimately, is experience. Mac was a national champion in college and guided the team to the playoffs last year. As impressive Zappe’s two starts were, they are simply two starts. Not to mention they were against the lowly Browns and Detroit Lions.

Personally, I think this is a wonderful thing for the Pats, who desperately need to build some momentum here.

Zappe’s performance, you’d like to think, will motivate Jones to be his best self when he returns. The team also got the wins and was able to get a good look at their backup, who proved that he is at least capable of keeping the ship afloat.

As much as I would be interested in a quarterback controversy, I would advise everyone involved to relax, appreciate what they got the past two weeks, and see where Jones is at when he returns.

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