Panthers fall in semis



The No. 4 seeded Johnston Panthers were walloped by the No. 1 seeded Narragansett Mariners 48-20 on Friday night during the Division III Football Semifinal under the lights at Narragansett High School.

The Mariners will play No. 3 seeded Chariho this Friday at 6pm in the championship game. The Chargers crushed the No. 2 seeded Pilgrim Patriots 36-8 during their semifinal matchup.

The Narragansett offense was led by senior running back Reider Fry, who rushed for four touchdowns. Johnston was topped by senior quarterback Hunter Remington, who scored three touchdowns, two rushing and one passing, plus a two-point conversion.

Johnston struck first when Remington heaved a 27-yard touchdown pass through the middle to senior wide receiver Joe Acciardo Jr. midway through the first frame. However, the Panthers came up short during the two-point conversion attempt after two false start penalties pushed them back to the 12-yard line.

The Mariners answered with 3:36 remaining in the quarter when Fry rushed into the end zone from 11 yards out and knotted the score at 6. Next, sophomore kicker Lucas Masson added the extra point and gave Narragansett a 7-6 edge.

With 9:08 remaining in the second quarter, Remington scored a 5-yard rushing touchdown and gave Johnston a 12-7 lead. However, the signal caller's pass fell incomplete during the two-point conversion attempt.

Fry responded with a 4-yard rushing touchdown with 6:25 remaining in the half and that put the Mariners on top 14-12.

Narragansett used an onside kick during the ensuing kickoff and Jared Chaloux recovered the ball at midfield for the Mariners.

Next, Narragansett went into its no-huddle offense and they moved down the field in a hurry.

On first down, Fry rushed for a gain of 17 yards. Two plays later, Theroux handed off to Chaloux, and he ran it into the end zone from 12 yards out and put the Mariners up 21-12.

One minute and 11 seconds later, Remington recorded a 4-yard rushing touchdown. And then, Remington connected on a swing pass to Acciardo Jr. during the two-point conversion and that pulled the Panthers within 21-20.

The Mariners drove 47 yards to the Johnston 1-yard line after that, but then Narragansett suffered a mishap during the snap, which led to a fumble, and the ball was recovered by Johnston junior Dylan Martins at the Johnston 2-yard line.

Therefore, Johnston headed into halftime trailing by just one point.

The Panthers were right there with Narragansett in the first half, but in the third quarter, the Mariners scored 20 unanswered points.

First, Fry scored a 7-yard rushing touchdown and it put Narragansett on top 28-20. Next, Poirier went untouched on his way to a 24-yard rushing score and that extended the Mariners margin to 35-20. Finally, Fry rushed into the end zone for a 17-yard touchdown and upped the lead to 41-20. Narragansett failed the final extra point attempt.

“We knew after halftime they’d come out and play well,” Acciardo said. “And that is what we talked about all week, was how they’re going to respond in the second half and how we’ll respond and listen in the second half. They obviously were the better team and it cost us.”

Lastly, with 9:33 remaining in the fourth frame, Theroux connected on a 7-yard touchdown pass to Poirier and that ballooned the Narragansett buffer to 48-20. That score marked Theroux's 20th touchdown pass of the season.

“They’re a good team,” Acciardo said. “They’re well-coached. A lot of players all over the place, and we’re trying to find weaknesses there, but we really just couldn’t stop it. They were running it down our throat. We were changing up the defenses a lot and it shows you how good they are when you’re moving things around and they’re still having their way with ya.”

As the season comes to a close, Acciardo thinks about his seniors, whom he's known for quite some time.

"I've known all of the seniors since they were Pip Squeaks and it’s tough to see them go," Acciardo said. "They play with a lot of heart. We asked for that – give it your all and never quit, and they did. The other team was a great team, but we tried our best. I think we got every ounce of everything out of our guys and at the end of the day, that’s how you have to chalk it up. It’s that much of a win, but on the scoreboard it doesn’t say that you won.”


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