NSMSC overcomes slow start
NORTH SMITHFIELD — With undefeated Ponaganset coming to town next Friday night, struggling Exeter-West Greenwich/Prout co-op’s visit last night appeared like a perfect letdown spot for undefeated North Smithfield/ Mount St. Charles.
Through the first 4 minutes, 17 seconds of the Division IV contest, Northmen-Mounties were focused on the Scarlet Knights. The hosts produced a three-andout and then Mount sophomore Jared Beaudoin scored a four-yard touchdown to build a seven-point advantage.
The rest of the half, however, NS/MSC coach Wes Pennington would rather forget. The Northmen-Mounties didn’t find the end zone again thanks to penalties and a pair of turnovers. The hosts woke up in the second half behind a pair of touchdowns from running back Jordan Allard to earn a 35-6 victory, but Pennington was hoping for a better performance headed into the biggest regular-season game for the program in the last five seasons.
“We came out really flat and not really excited like we normally are, and when that happens, the football gods tend to go against you,” Pennington said.
“The ball doesn’t bounce your way and the calls go against you. Then you allow the other team to stay in the game. The longer they stayed in it, the more hope they got.
“Good teams, when things like this happen, find a way to turn it around and that’s what we did. In the past, we probably would’ve given this game away, but not this year.”
North Smithfield/Mount St. Charles (50, 4-0 Division IV) is 5-0 for the first since the program started playing football back in 1968. As a matter of fact, the Northmen have never finished with fewer than two league losses, but this season’s squad will almost assuredly accomplish that feat.
The Northmen can clinch the No. 1 seed in the Division IV playoffs with a victory over the Chieftains next Friday at 6 p.m. The No. 1 seed is crucial because NS/MSC, Ponaganset and Tiverton have pulled away from the other five teams in the division.
“I’m extremely proud of what we’re doing and how hard we’re working,” Pennington said. “We’re looking forward to every time they step out on the field because they really are a good bunch of kids to coach.”
Exeter-West Greenwich/Prout (0-5, 0-5 Division III) scored its only points in the final seconds of the third quarter when junior Malakie Simao took a reverse on a kickoff 83 yards for a touchdown to cut the Northd men-Mounties’ lead down to 21-6. t NSMSC’s produced four turnovers and sacked a pair of EWG/Prout quarterbacks twice. The final points of the game came on d a sack and the ensuing fumble was picked up by North Smithfield junior Matt Beausoleil, who rumbled 10 yards for a touchdown.
“The defense played great, we shut them out essentially,” Pennington said. “I’m happy with what we’re doing. We just need to come back work hard and continue to focus on what we’ve been working on.”
With star running back Cade Curren out for precautionary reasons after suffering a tweaked hamstring during the bye week, Pennington turned to a committee of running backs to subdue the Scarlet Knights. Beaudoin carried the ball 11 times for 76 yards and a pair of touchdowns, while Chris Marsella, Allard and Xavier Croteau also ran the ball.
Allard, who didn’t carry the ball two weeks ago against Tiverton, scored twice in third quarter to break the game open. The sophomore made it a 14-0 game with a three-yard touchdown run 5:26 into the third and then he added a five-yard touchdown run prior to Simao’s kickoff return. Beaudoin added a fiveyard touchdown run 3:28 into the final quarter.
“We rested Cade tonight and Allard looked good and Jared looked good and so did Rocco Marsella,” Pennington said. “We have some depth at running back, but we still want to get Cade back next week.”
Senior quarterback Jack Puccetti struggled to connect with his receivers for long stretches of the contest, as the senior finished 10-of-22 for 150 yards. Receiver Jason Meriweather caught four passes for 45 yards. The senior also had a 50-yard touchdown reception called back in the first half because of an illegal-man-down-field penalty.
Mount St. Charles sophomore running back Jared Beaudoin (right) scored a pair of touchdowns to help North Smithfield/MSC overwhelm visiting Exeter-West Greenwich/Prout, 35-6, Friday night.