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WEST GREENWICH â€” The North Smithfield football threw a lot of punches and had the champ on the ropes.
But just when it looked like the champ was done, they found a way.
The Northmen threw â€“ literally and figureatively â€“ everything they had at Exeter-West Greenwich, but couldnâ€™t close out the defending Division IV champions in overtime, coming up one yard short in the second OT as North Smithfield fell 44-38 in the D-IV semifinals Tuesday night.
â€śItâ€™s tough. We had our chances, we did. We had the game,â€ť Northmen coach Wes Pennington said. â€śItâ€™s just one of those things â€“ theyâ€™re a good football team and they made one more play than we did and that was the difference.â€ť
EWG scored in the first overtime on a five-yard, fourth-down run by Georgio, but North Smithfield overcame a sack and scored on a 17-yard reverse by Lussier with Manciniâ€™s conversion tying the game at 38.
In the second overtime, Mancini was stuffed on first down, then had a halfback pass knocked down and on third down, Kennettâ€™s pass was knocked down by Georgio. On fourth down from the 12, Kennett found Mancini on a slant but he was tackled at the one-yard line by Georgio.
Three plays later, North Smithfieldâ€™s season was over as Georgio, who hurt his shoulder in the Thanksgiving Day game and was questionable coming into the game, scored on a two-yard run. He finished the game with 280 yards on 50 carries and scored five touchdowns.
â€śWe expected him to come in healthy. We werenâ€™t looking for anything less than that,â€ť Pennington said. â€śHe played a good game.â€ť
With Exeter stuffing the North Smithfield run game early Tuesday night, the Northmen went to the air with quarterback Tim Kennett and running back Paris Correia connecting on touchdown passes; Kennett threw one to Nathan Lussier â€“ who made a brilliant bobbling catch on the play and later caught one from Correai â€“ and added another on a 46-yard slant to Peter Mancini that gave North Smithfield a 30-22 lead.
Exeter came back after giving up the touchdown, going on a 12-play, 64-yard drive that ended with a one-yard Al Georgio plunge on fourth down.