By Andrew Grassey
Two fourth quarter touchdowns by Ponaganset High School kept Tiverton High School from earning its first win on the season on Saturday afternoon. Tiverton held a 21-18 lead going into the fourth quarter but would lose the game by a score of 30-21.
“Its tough to lose the way we lost today, I am going to be honest with you,” said Tiverton head coach Robert Murray. “I thought the kids played hard enough to win but we made our fair share of mistakes to lose.”
Tiverton struggled to stop Ponaganset junior running back Justin Burchett who rushed for over 200 yards and scored every touchdown for the Chieftains. Burchett’s key score came just minutes into the fourth quarter when he ran 44 yards to take the lead that Ponaganset would never give back.
Tiverton’s offense was able to move well for most of the game but ultimately turnovers cost them. They turned the ball over six times in the game, which put abrupt ends to many of their solid drives.
“We gave it away six times; you don’t win when you do that,” Murray said. “You are beating yourself when you do that.”
Although Tiverton is still without a win, the young team has shown signs of improvement. Sophomore quarterback Justin Dore ran the option offense more productively than earlier in the season. He also threw a 43-yard touchdown pass to Junior Dharrel Moshiek-DeJesus in the second quarter.
“He is reading better now then he did earlier in the season,” Murray said. “This is an offense where if your quarterback doesn’t read well then you are going to struggle and I thought he did a better job today.”
The Tigers also welcomed back senior captain Matthew Deleo who had missed the last four weeks due to injury. He returned with a strong performance, rushing for 88 yards with two touchdowns.
“It was nice to have him back and it makes us more competitive when he is in,” Murray said.
Tiverton has two more chances to get its first win. The first is against Lincoln High School and then they will play their Thanksgiving Day game on Nov. 28 against Rogers High School. The game against Lincoln is home on Saturday at 7 p.m.