Raiders race past Townies in Division I football

Shea keeps pace with I-A leaders following 41-24 win over E.P.

By Mike Rego
Posted 10/19/19

EAST PROVIDENCE — Shea High School kept pace with the leaders on its side of the Division I football bracket and kept its state championship game hopes alive in the process as the visiting Raiders …

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Raiders race past Townies in Division I football

Shea keeps pace with I-A leaders following 41-24 win over E.P.

Posted

EAST PROVIDENCE — Shea High School kept pace with the leaders on its side of the Division I football bracket and kept its state championship game hopes alive in the process as the visiting Raiders handed East Providence a 41-24 setback Saturday morning, Oct. 19, at Pierce Memorial Stadium.

The Raiders improved to 4-1 in the I-A ranks with two games remaining against fellow 4-1 North Kingstown this week and unbeaten Hendricken (5-0) in its regular season finale. The team that emerges from I-A will face its counterpart from I-B in the state championship game the weekend of November 22.

For the hometown Townies, they dropped to 2-3 in the I-A standings with a home against aforementioned Hendricken set for Friday afternoon, Oct. 25. Kickoff is 4 p.m. East Providence slipped into a tie with St. Raphael and Cumberland for fourth place. Two of those teams will join two among the lead group in the upcoming Division I championship tournament, which starts the weekend of November 8.

Last Saturday, East Providence struck first. The drive opened with a steady diet of quarterback, read-option keepers by Justin Pena before he lofted a pass into traffic, which Juan Diaz pulled in with a finger tip grab then raced to the endzone to finish off a 39-yard completion. The kick for point failed, leaving E.P. up 6-0.

Shea scored on its ensuing possession. The visitors drove down to the Townies’ 22, but faced a 4-and-7 situation. Quarterback Trentin Curry then hit DeJuan Hayes on a middle screen. The latter took it all the way to touch, tying the score. Sergio Gonzalez’s kick for point put the Raiders in front.

The Townies answered immediately. Starting at its own 39, E.P. moved the ball deep in Shea territory before it, too, faced a fourth down. The same Pena-Diaz combo connected again on a pass to the flat for the five-yard touchdown. The Townies’ attempt at two failed, leaving their lead at 12-7. Jahad Davis Pinto helped set up the TD with a terrific diving catch of a Pena pass at the Raiders’ five.

The advantage proved brief. The Raiders scored twice in the second quarter to build a 21-12 lead by the break. The first came on a 61-yard bomb from Curry to Davontay Vaz. Curry eluded the E.P. pass rush, rolled to his right and delivered a perfect strike to his receiver who had gotten behind the Townies’ defensive backfield inside the hosts' 10. A second Gonzalez PAT made it 14-12 visitors.

Following an E.P. punt, Shea’s Jaylen Smith, a track star headed to the University of Rhode Island, scored the first of his three touchdowns on a run to cap off a short Raiders’ drive. Gonzalez’s third kick gave the Raiders a nine-point lead.

The Townies squandered a chance to make things closer at intermission. East Providence had a first-and-goal at the Shea 10, but came away empty after a penalty and a staunch Raiders’ defensive stand derailed the effort.

Smith’s second half touchdowns each showed both his explosive speed and quickness. On his first, an 84-yarder to open the third quarter, he broke off right tackle then streaked down the sidelines untouched. His second, the last of the game, was a shifty 10-yard scamper.

In between, Hayes ripped off a 20-yard run to put the Raiders up 34-12 while Diaz scored on a 14-yard run and Pena raced 43 yards. The latter score brought the Townies to within 10 points (34-24) midway through the fourth quarter before Smith’s third TD cemented the Shea victory.

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Mike Rego

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.