Falcons fly past Townies in D-I football playoffs

Cranston West shuts out EPHS, advances to tourney semis

Photos by Tyler Maxwell
Posted 11/9/19

CRANSTON — Cranston West, the top seed on its side of the bracket in the Division I football championship playoffs, offered up a near repeat dominant performance against East Providence High School …

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Falcons fly past Townies in D-I football playoffs

Cranston West shuts out EPHS, advances to tourney semis

Posted

CRANSTON — Cranston West, the top seed on its side of the bracket in the Division I football championship playoffs, offered up a near repeat dominant performance against East Providence High School in the quarterfinal round as it did just a week prior in the regular season finale for both sides at the same venue.

The host Falcons, who defeated the Townies by 13 points on November 1, advanced to the semis following their 34-0 victory over the locals Friday night, Nov. 8, at Cranston Stadium.

Seven days ago, West scored the game’s first 20 points en route to the comfortable win. Last Friday, the Falcons, whose only league loss to date came to unbeaten state championship finalist Portsmouth, scored twice in the first half to build a solid lead.

West added two more scores in the third quarter to secure the win, then tacked on a flattering touchdown in the fourth quarter to account for the final points of the night.

The Falcons (7-1) advanced to the final four of the eight-team, D-I tournament field, where they’ll face Central Friday night, Nov. 15, back at Cranston Stadium. The 4-4 Knights, seeded third on its side of the bracket, upset Shea (4-4), the second seed, 19-0 last Friday. For the Townies, their league season came to a close with a 2-6 record in D-I games, including last week’s playoff defeat.

East Providence had few answers on either side of the ball in its rematch with West. The hosts scored on their first possession of the night, a slippery 32-yard run off left tackle by quarterback Cameron Alves. Alves set up his score with a 40-yard pass completion to end Matt Carvalho earlier in the drive.

Later in the first, after an exchange of possessions, the Townies had one of their few highlights of the night on defense. Alves dropped back to pass on a fourth down play deep in E.P. territory. He lofted the ball in the direction of his target towards the back of the endzone. Townies’ safety Justin Pena maintained tight coverage, helping deflect the ball back in play where fellow E.P. defensive back Denzy Suazo grabbed hold of the tip for an interception. Suazo also made an additional fine play on the ball, breaking up another potential long completion at a different moment in the game.

East Providence, however, couldn’t move the ball on offense after the pick, giving it back to the Falcons, who this time finished off their next chance. They did so when Brennan Stetson plowed in for a one-yard TD. Alves then ran for the two-point to put West in front, 14-0.

Neither side scored in the second quarter, leaving the margin at two touchdowns at intermission. West added a couple more TDs on its third quarter possessions, both Alves runs, one of 34 yards and the other 10. Carvalho, as he did earlier, missed a point after kick following one of the scores, but made one also to up the Falcons’s lead to 27-0 at the end of the period. Stetson capped off the scoring with a 29-yard burst in the fourth quarter. Carvalho’s second PAT make accounted for the final points of the night.

The Townies’ league schedule came to a close last week, but the locals still have another game to play before putting the 2019 season to bed. East Providence hosts rival LaSalle for their traditional Thanksgiving Day game on Thursday, Nov. 28, at Pierce Stadium. The Rams (6-2) remain alive in the D-I playoffs. LaSalle, like West, won its quarterfinal round game in a shutout, 35-0 over Cumberland. The Rams meet North Kingstown, 50-7 winners over Barrington in its quarterfinal, in the other D-I semi.

The state championship game between unbeaten and reigning state champion Bishop Hendricken (7-0) and Portsmouth (6-1), the regular season first-place sides respectively in I-A and I-B, takes place at Cranston Stadium Saturday, Nov. 16, at noon. The D-I final is also for Cranston Stadium Saturday, Nov. 23, at 2 p.m.

— East Providence Post and eastbayri.com contributing photographer Tyler Maxwell shot the accompanying gallery of photos.

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Mike Rego has worked at East Bay Newspapers since 2001, helping the company launch The Westport Shorelines. He soon after became a Sports Editor, spending the next 10-plus years in that role before taking over as editor of The East Providence Post in February of 2012. To contact Mike about The Post or to submit information, suggest story ideas or photo opportunities, etc. in East Providence, email mrego@eastbaymediagroup.com.