PROVIDENCE -- St. Raphael Academy head coach Mike Sassi had stated on the evening before his squadâ€™s rather new holiday rivalry game against Moses Brown that â€“ despite the upcoming inclement weather forecast â€“ the two foes would play.
Evidently, the Providence private school didnâ€™t want to go to combat on Thanksgiving Day; perhaps a primary reason being it would have slightly less rest to prepare for a Division III semifinal tilt this coming Tuesday.
Despite the near-constant rains that hit the Berylson Family Field Complex at Brown University on Wednesday night, the Quakers roared to a 27-0 halftime cushion and held off the gritty Saints, 35-22.
The contest was mistake-filled, for sure, but senior quarterback Eric Cosmopulos tossed two touchdowns and ran for another as the hosts improved to 9-1 before the league postseason opens.
Sassiâ€™s bunch, which dropped a 49-35 Division II semifinal to Cumberland last Friday night, closed its campaign at 6-5 overall.
Head coach Willie Edwardsâ€™ unit took a near-immediate advantage, moving 82 yards on just six plays ending on junior tailback Andrew Howardâ€™s three-yard sweep around right end. Freshman Nick Cohen booted the extra point to give the Quakers a 7-0 lead just four minutes into the contest.
SRA did move into enemy territory on its following possession, though senior tri-captain Alfred Dorborâ€™s 16-yard rush on a fake punt at the 42 fell three yards shy of the first down.
With under 15 seconds remaining in the first quarter, senior Amos Cariati blocked John Michalczykâ€™s punt from the SRA 19, giving Moses Brown a first-and-10 from its own 4. Two plays later, Cosmopulos scored on a two-yard sneak on the initial snap of the second period, but Cohen pulled his boot wide left.
Thanks to junior James Kellyâ€™s 81-yard run off right tackle to the Moses Brown 10, the Saints seemed ready to jump back into it, though Jake Davisâ€™ 36-yard field goal attempt was blocked by Cariati.
Mammoth lineman Sam Greenfield scooped up Cariatiâ€™s carom and rambled 78 yards for the TD, and â€“ after a botched PAT kick try â€“ junior Roberto Valentiniâ€™s rush for the conversion fell a yard shy.
Still, the Quakers led, 19-0.
Again the Saints drove into their foeâ€™s side of the grid, but Michalczyk had to punt from the 41. Nine plays after, Cosmopulos found sophomore Jakub Witczak on a three-yard aerial in the left section of the end zone to make it 25-0.
On the two-point attempt, senior Bryan McAdams snagged holder Roberto Valentiniâ€™s toss to increase its lead by a pair.
Those scores came with 33.1 ticks left before the break.
On Moses Brownâ€™s second play from scrimmage in the third period, Dorbor intercepted Cosmopulos at his own 34 and returned it 36 yards to the opponentâ€™s 30. SRA maneuvered down to the 6, but Kelly fumbled for a four-yard loss.
On the ensuing snap, Howard returned the favor, and Kelly redeemed himself with a 15-yard sweep around right end. Courtesy of a facemask call on a failed two-point conversion, the Saints had another chance, and Dorbor made good on it, taking a pitch off right tackle.
That closed the gap to 27-8.
SRA tried an onside kick â€“ as it had on each kickoff of the final half â€“ but senior Matt Romano jumped on it at midfield. Eight plays later, Cosmopulos delivered a soft three-yard TD toss to Witczak, and Tom Chase grabbed Valentiniâ€™s PAT pass with 2:17 remaining in the third.
The Saints once more rolled into Quaker territory, but Greenfieldâ€™s nine-yard sack of junior QB Emmanuel Leake on a fourth-and-eight squelched that possession.
Still, sophomore backup signal caller Adam Romano fumbled it right back, and SRA sealed its three-snap, 30-yard drive on Josh Alvesâ€™ one-yard plunge.
Alvesâ€™ fellow senior tri-captain, Kevin Garcia, tried to bull his way in for the two-pointer, but that came up a yard shy with 7:37 remaining in regulation.
Following a 28-yard MB punt, the Saints took over on their own 19, but Dorborâ€™s 60-yard jaunt gave them a first-and-10 situation at the foeâ€™s 20. After Kellyâ€™s three-yard gain, Dorbor took a two-yard pitch off left tackle â€“ and Kelly delivered the two-point conversion to tighten the gap to 35-22.
As the drizzled intensified, senior kicker Jake Davisâ€™ onside kick was recovered by a teammate, and Leakeâ€™s 31-yard aerial to Kelly moved the pigskin to the Quakersâ€™ 10. On another toss to Kelly in he left flat, however, senior cornerback Ben Pinsky corralled the pick to end it with 2:14 left.View more articles in: