There were no surprises on Thanksgiving with our football teams. Not to toot my own horn, but I was pretty close in my assessments.
To start, Pilgrim got a win over Toll Gate to take a 3-2 Thanksgiving lead. My prediction last week was 34-13 and the final wound up being 32-14. Pretty darn close.
The star of the day was Matt Santos. The senior running back paced Pilgrim and was simply too much for the Titans’ defense. He’s a big bodied back that runs north to south and is not afraid to lower his shoulder to burst through the line.
Pilgrim relied on him early and grabbed the lead, then veered off for a bit to try a few new things on offense. The Toll Gate defense responded well and kept things close heading into halftime. In the second half, though, Pilgrim turned back to Santos and boy did he have a big finish.
I was thrilled for him. Pilgrim did not have a big senior class this year, so to see one of them finish the fall with an outing like that was special. What a way to wrap up his high school career.
Although the Titans were on the losing side of the battle, Zach DeCorpo was phenomenal for the Titans and produced in all three phases once again.
As much as I love the Pilgrim-Toll Gate rivalry, this game served as another reminder of what things could look like if they ever decided to co-op. The numbers were pretty strong for each team this year so I don’t think it’s realistic, but a Warwick co-op football team could be one of the best in the state. Imagine an offense with both Santos and DeCorpo? That would be quite the 1-2 punch.
In Cranston, West took home the 35-26 win. Although my 28-18 prediction was a whiff, my 10-point differential was pretty close and it was another tough battle for each squad as the Falcons flew to take the 25-24 series lead.
Marcus Chung put on another show and finished his career on a high note. As I said time and time again this fall, he is one of the best players in the state and now that it is all said and done, I don’t think anyone would deny that.
As for the Bolts, you have to respect their effort. All season long, the one thing that was consistent with East was that it never gave up. I know that it is cliche to play that card, but East was in nearly every game that it played. It was only blown out a couple of times.
If the ball bounced the Bolts’ way one or two more times, then we could be having a totally different conversation. On Thanksgiving, the Bolts gave it their all and had West on its heels until the very end.
It was another fun day of Thanksgiving football and I was thrilled to be in the middle of it once again.
One last shout out to the Johnston Panthers as well. Last year, they swooped in to save the day in Warwick and walked away with the Beacon Bowl trophy. They could have been bitter seeing the Titans jump back into the mix and no one would be able to blame them. They weren’t, though, and were very gracious in returning the prize. Hopefully one day they’ll have an annual game to play.
On a down note, there was a pair of high school football hazing situations in the state in the past few weeks. West Warwick and Coventry were each in the middle of the controversy. Very few details emerged of what actually happened, but it’s a shame to see hazing happen, especially at the high school level.
Coincidentally, those two schools battled on Thanksgiving as they do every year. The Oakers pulled off the 34-0 upset, which is beside the point.
Should the two teams have been allowed to carry on with the game? That has been a hot topic of discussion.
Those who feel yes have been saying that it was not every player and that until the true details emerge, we can’t just assume it was anything crazy. Those who say no believe that the teams were let off the hook, despite some kids being suspended and investigated.
In my opinion, the game should not have gone on. Again, I don’t know what truly happened. If it was just some locker room shenanigans where the kids got a little out of hand, then fine. I am assuming it went beyond that considering there is still an investigation going on.
Bullying and hazing can’t be tolerated even one percent. Sure, it seems like the kids will be facing discipline, but how can you reward them by allowing the game to go on? It would have been unfortunate for the innocent kids, but that is all part of the discipline process. Those kids involved let their teams down and needed to be shown it.
It’s easy for me to say that when I am nowhere near the situation. I just don’t know how two teams could be in the center of hazing controversies then be allowed to play one another on Thanksgiving just days later. It’s just a poor example being set.
Lastly, the Patriots dropped another winnable game against Minnesota on Thanksgiving night. For the first time all season, the New England offense showed up. This time, the defense could not come up with the stops and the special teams were a disaster between the returned kickoff touchdown and the egregious running into the punter penalty.
I am off the Patriot bandwagon this season. I never believed they were true Super Bowl contenders, but I thought that they may be able to make things interesting late in the season. Not anymore, this is just a mediocre team, no way around it.
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