The last time that the Barrington Eagles faced Cranston East on Victory Field, the hometown team struggled to contain the Thunderbolts’ well executed passing game with an equally strong ground attack. In that game, the Eagles managed a 41-37 victory.
But that game, and the rest of the Eagles’ football season is in the past.
On Tuesday night, the two teams met again on Victory Field for the semi-final playoff game to determine which team would head for the Rhode Island state championship game.
This time the Eagles tried to fight fire with fire, using a mediocre passing game against a team with an exceptional one. This time the Thunderbolts came out ahead, crushing Barrington’s hopes for another championship, 46-13.
Cranston East wasted no time to put their mark on the scoreboard. After receiving the ball on the opening kick-off, quarterback Alex Corvese took over from the 48 yard line, needing only five plays before faking a handoff and running the ball into the end zone himself for the first Thunderbolts’ touchdown.
After a missed extra point attempt, Cranston East took an early 6-0 lead.
Still early in the game, the Eagles responded with a would be touchdown on a screen pass to Nick Jensen after a four down drive. Jensen’s run into the end zone was called back on a holding penalty. Three plays later, Eagles’ quarterback Matthew Rota carried the ball into the end zone, and with a successful extra point kick, the Eagles took a 7-6 lead still in the first quarter.
But the lead wouldn’t last very long.
By the end of the first half, the Thunderbolts had amassed an 18-7 lead, including a completion to a receiver who was wide open in the end zone.
In the early minutes of the second half, Rota fired off a pass to J.R. Martin who made a first down completion, but Rota, who was under pressure from the Cranston defense, was injured on the play. Jake Slye came in to replace the injured Rota and threw for an interception that paved the way for another Cranston East touchdown.
As the game progressed, and the margin of scoring widened, the Eagles employed some fakes, flea flickers and screens to overcome the obstacle that was the Thunderbolts.
Rota, who re-entered the game, threw a touchdown pass to Nick Jensen for what would be the final touchdown of the Eagles’ season, bringing the score to 32-13.
From then on it was all Thunderbolts who gained possession through turnovers, fumble recoveries and interceptions, ending the game with a final interception in the Eagles end zone and letting the clock run its final five seconds.
Cranston East will now face Bishop Hendricken in the championship game on Saturday after Bishop Hendricken defeated Portsmouth High School 35-15.