Mt. Hope Football

 Pacheco rushes for 117 yards, touchdown in Huskies loss

Mt. Hope loses home opener to Pilgrim 24-9


Senior running back Brock Pacheco rushed for 117 yards and a touchdown as the Mt. Hope football team fell to Pilgrim 24-9 in front of a healthy home crowd on Thursday night. The team is currently 1-1 in Division III after pummeling Toll Gate last Friday. 

“We are a really competitive team,” said Pacheco, the team’s captain. “We’re physical, we are going to play hard and we are going to hit them.”

“Brock’s got great vision,” said Huskies head coach Thomas DelSanto Jr. “He’s tough and he’s really good at reading blocks and making cuts, staying vertical and getting up and down the field. Defensively he’s super aggressive. He finds his way to the ball all the time. He’s a real sound player for us on both sides of he ball.” 

Junior quarterback Riley Howland directed an 80-yard touchdown drive in the second quarter mostly handing the ball to Pacheco who averaged 8.3 yards-per-carry and scored a 4-yard touchdown run to cut the lead to 7-6. “I had a lot of room on the outside to run through. Once I get open space. I can just run it up the field, make some cuts and make a play,” Pacheco said. The senior who plays linebacker on defense, managed ten tackles and a sack of Pilgrim quarterback Chace Roberts. On the ensuing kickoff, the Huskies downed the Patriots inside the ten yard line due to a Pilgrim penalty. Roberts dropped back on the first play fired a 20-yard pass to the middle of the field that was picked off by Huskies junior linebacker James Thibaudeau at the 23 yard line. Howland and the Huskies drove the ball to the foot of the goal line, but couldn’t plunge it in for a score. 

Sophomore kicker Jerry Pimental, who’s extra point attempt after the Huskies td was negated due to a snap snafu, kicked a 32-yard field goal to give the Huskies a 9-7 halftime lead.

 Thibaudeau led the Huskies defensively, making twelve tackles and two interceptions as he intercepted Roberts again, early in the second half. The humble middle linebacker down played his achievements after the game and praised the defensive line. 

“My D-tackles set it up for me every time,” Thibaudeau said. “The interceptions, the quarterback just started down the receiver. He just looked right at my guy and immediately threw it. Easy picks.”

“I’m sure he’s really enjoying the fact that he made two great interceptions,” said Coach DelSanto. “It was a really good job by him.” 

Pilgrim switched quarterbacks and took it to the Huskies in the second half. The Patriots kept the ball away from Mt. Hope most of the third quarter with a long scoring drive and then recovering an onside kick.  Pilgrim dominated the clock and scored 17 second half points for a 24-9 victory.

There was a time that freshman never played on varsity, but those times are over for the young Huskies who start 14 freshman and sophomores out of the 22 starters. Though the team is youthful, they are all having a ton of fun according to coach DelSanto. 

“It’s a testament to the times,” Coach DelSanto said. “We had a lot of mistakes, some bad penalties and some missed opportunities. It’s not unexpected from a young group. But the thing that I’m so encouraged by is how coachable this group is. The team is really eager to learn. They come to practice with a great attitude and it has really invigorated me as a coach. They are good kids, they are fun to work with and I’m excited to see them develop.” 

Next up: Mt. Hope plays Narragansett at home on Friday at 6 p.m.

Football  stats courtesy of Brad Borges

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Jim McGaw

A lifelong Portsmouth resident, Jim graduated from Portsmouth High School in 1982 and earned a journalism degree from the University of Rhode Island in 1986. He's worked two different stints at East Bay Newspapers, for a total of 18 years with the company so far. When not running all over town bringing you the news from Portsmouth, Jim listens to lots and lots and lots of music, watches obscure silent films from the '20s and usually has three books going at once. He also loves to cook crazy New Orleans dishes for his wife of 25 years, Michelle, and their two sons, Jake and Max.