EG celebrates a strong win as it looks forward to playoffs. Photo credits: Mary MacIntosh
The East Greenwich Avengers scored early and often Friday night to defeat the Pilgrim Patriots 45-12 at Morry Athletic Field. Quinn Sullivan hauled in four Nick Andreozzi passes for touchdowns to pace the Avengers, who will host Classical next Friday night in the first round of the Division III playoffs. The Avengers ended divisional play with a 7-1 record and and are 8-3 overall.
It took the Avengers less than a handful of plays to hit pay dirt in the first quarter. East Greenwich began the drive at their own 42-yard line with a series of short runs by Rayann Fazann, which gave the impression that they would be focusing on the run. After a 15-yard face mask penalty gave EG a first down at the Patriot 34, however, Nick Andreozzi hit Quinn Sullivan in stride up the left sideline for a 34-yard touchdown to give EG the 6-0 lead after a failed extra-point attempt. The Avengers never looked back.
Egan Reale makes interception.
Later in the first quarter, Brian Gemma picked off a Robert Quaine pass and returned the ball 38 yards to the Pilgrim 42. The Avengers moved the ball methodically down the field with a number of running plays, most notably a 5-yard gain by Mitchell Gemma that ended with another face mask call against Pilgrim, which gave EG the ball on the Pilgrim 11. Andreozzi and Sullivan struck again on second down with a touchdown pass to the back left corner of the end zone to put East Greenwich ahead 12-0.
Pilgrim was not ready to quit though and used their option offense to move the ball down field on the ground. After a number of smaller gains, Patriot running back Owen Kelly capped off the drive with a 40-yard sprint to the end zone to make the score 12-6 with 7:13 left in the second quarter.
Pilgrim’s Owen Kelly runs for yardage.
East Greenwich continued to use a balanced attack in their following drive, which began on their own 40. Mitchell Gemma had two powerful runs of 9 and 8 yards. Andreozzi then hit Egan Reale for a 29-yard gain to the Pilgrim 10-yard line to make it first and goal. On second down from the 10, Andreozzi pump faked to his left and then rolled to his right to find Sullivan in the middle of the end zone for his third touchdown of the night. After the kick failed, EG had an 18-6 lead.
After Pilgrim went three and out on their next drive, the Avengers took over at midfield. A holding penalty brought them back 10 yards but Andreozzi hooked up with Sullivan again for a gain of 25 and a first down. Two plays later Andreozzi rolled right and hit Egan Reale with a 26-yard pass to the 5-yard line. Mitchell Gemma ran it in from the two to give the Avengers a 24-6 lead with 2:17 in the half.
Avenger fans brave the cold at Morry Athletic Field in Warwick.
Pilgrim would not fold. They used their hurry up offense to move the ball down field. Quaine hit David McMullen on the right sideline to get the Patriots to the EG 42. He then passed to Roger Anyango for a gain of 26 to the EG 26. At that point, EG’s defense stiffened and it looked like they would make the the stop. AJ Turchetta sacked Quaine on first down and Hayden Margolis broke up a screen pass on 2d and 20. After Quaine hit Anyango at the 11, the Patriots were left with 4th and 5. Quaine hit Anyango on the right side of the endzone for the touchdown with :27 remining in the half. Pilgrim’s two point attempt failed and the halftime score was 24-12.
The Avengers continued their offensive assault in the second half. After Owen Hainse intercepted a Quaine pass and brought the ball back to the Pilgrim 20, Andreozzi again threw to Sullivan for a score. The Senior wide receiver’s fourth touchdown of the night went for 20 yards. Owen Hainse added the extra point and the Avengers lead 31-12 with 10:24 remaining in the third period. Just as they have all year, East greenwich had converted an opponent’s turnover into points.
East Greenwich’s offense still had some gas in the tank. After Pilgrim’s offense sputtered again, East Greenwich took over on the Pilgrim 47-yard line. Owen Hainse ran twice for gains of 10 and 9 yards respectively. Egan Reale then took an Andreozzi screen pass and turned it into a 21-yard gain to the Patriot 7. Dillon White eventually bulled his way into the endzone and Hainse hit the extra point to make the score 38-12 with 3:59 left in the third.
Although the final outcome was no longer in doubt, Pilgrim still persevered, marching the ball from thier own 47 all the way to the Avenger 7-yard line. The East Greenwich defense held strong though, stopping Pilgrim on 4th and a long one. White held the edge and prevented Owen Kelly from getting around the corner. The Avengers then marched the other way. After short runs by Mitchell Gemma and Owen Hainse, Andreozzi hit Sullivan again, this time for a 38-yard gain to the Pilgrim 46. Mitchell Gemma and Dillon White then took turns pounding the Pilgrim offense until Gemma ran it in from the 4. The drive took a little over six minutes and sounded the death knell for Patriots. Pilgrim did score a touchdown with 29.9 seconds left it was too little too late, with the Avengers prevailing 45-18.
East Greenwich will host Classical at 7 p.m. in the RI Division III Semifinals next Friday at Carcieri Field.
Bob Durant writes about EG Football when he is not practicing law.
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