Portsmouth cruises to 35-6 Homecoming win

Hurd, Bulk and Harvey have big games to open team’s rare spring season

By Jim McGaw
Posted 4/13/21

PORTSMOUTH — In the first spring Homecoming game in school history, the Portsmouth Patriots scored four touchdowns in the first half against Cranston East on Sunday before taking their feet off …

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Portsmouth cruises to 35-6 Homecoming win

Hurd, Bulk and Harvey have big games to open team’s rare spring season

Posted

PORTSMOUTH — In the first spring Homecoming game in school history, the Portsmouth Patriots scored four touchdowns in the first half against Cranston East on Sunday before taking their feet off the gas for an easy 35-6 win.

Richard W. Dionne, Jr.
A glimpse of the PHS Homecoming parade
The team finally kicked off its regular season after two previous games — against Bishop Hendricken and La Salle Academy, were canceled due to separate positive COVID cases within the Patriots’ program. (The team easily beat Westerly in an abbreviated non-league game on March 17.)

The Portsmouth High School Marching Band led a brief Homecoming parade around the school, and the Homecoming king and queen, along with their court, were recognized Sunday.

Most of the Patriots’ scoring came in the first half, after which coach Dustin Almedia started making substitutions so some second-stringers could see action. 

Portsmouth probably would have put more points on the board had it not been for a mercy rule which kept the clock running later in the game, thereby minimizing scoring chances. Under the R.I. Interscholastic League rule, if there is a 35-point differential during the fourth quarter, the game clock is not be stopped unless there’s an injury timeout or a regular team timeout. The Patriots were up 35-0 at the start of the final period, and the Thunderbolts’ lone touchdown came with about 90 seconds left in the game.

The game started with Portsmouth kicking off and making the Thunderbolts go three and out, mainly thanks to two great defensive plays by Marcus Evans. A short punt put the Patriots at their own 46 to start their first drive, and several plays later William Harvey ran 10 yards up the middle for a touchdown, making it 7-0 Portsmouth with 5:39 left in the first quarter. (Andrew Perry, the Patriots’ kicker, made all five point-after attempts for his team.)

The Patriots’ defense stymied the Thunderbolts for another three-and-out, and Harvey again ran into the end zone from 15 yards out, making it 14-0 with just over two minutes left in the quarter. The Patriots’ scoring drive also featured a good run from Neal Tullson and a 17-yard reception from quarterback Benny Hurd to Chris Bulk on third down and six.

Next it was Hurd’s time to shine. On defense early in the second quarter, he intercepted a Cranston East pass, setting up Portsmouth on their own 23-yard line. Two successive penalties against the Patriots backed them up to the 12-yard line, however, making it third down and 22. 

No problem. Hurd took the snap and looked to throw, but couldn’t find an open receiver. So he kept it, running 78 yards down the left sideline for another TD, increasing the lead to 21-0 with 8:40 left in the quarter.

Pick-six

The biggest cheers heard from the Cranston East fans all game came with 34 seconds left in the half, when the Thunderbolts stopped the Patriots on fourth down to take over on their own 36.

Those same fans were silenced, however, when Portsmouth’s Chris Bulk promptly picked off a pass and ran it into the end zone to put the Patriots up 28-0 at the half. (He then ran off the field to join the rest of the Homecoming court, which was recognized again at halftime.)

It was more of the same in the third quarter. The Patriots received the kickoff, and solid runs by Bulk and Tullson moved them down the field before Hurd kept the ball twice — the first for a 24-yard scramble, then a 21-yard run into the end zone, making it 35-0 Portsmouth with just over nine minutes left in the period.

Up next

The Patriots are next scheduled to face East Greenwich on the road for a 6 p.m. game on Friday, April 16. After that, they return home for a 7 p.m. game on Friday, April 23, against North Kingstown.

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Meet our staff
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.