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NORTH SMITHFIELD â€“ There are no more unbeaten teams left in Division IV. North Smithfield took care of the remaining one Friday night, handing Mt. Pleasant its first league loss in seven chances, 14-12.
The Northmen took a 14-0 heading into the fourth quarter only to withstand a serious charge by the Kilties, who at 6-1 still sit atop the division standings. Mt. Pleasant scored twice in the final 6:54 to erase what was a onetime comfortable lead for North Smithfield, the second score coming with 29.2 seconds remaining when Jayquan Monteiro took the snap from under center and raced 12 yards.
Forced to go for two, the Kilties once again had Monteiro line under center. This time the Northmen were better prepared as North Smithfield Brent Doire got a body on the Mt. Pleasant senior, the run attempt resulting in a failed try. More importantly, the Northmen were still up a pair with an expected onside kick looming.
North Smithfield easily overcame this remaining hurdle with sophomore Andrew Drapeau falling on the ball. With no timeouts remaining, the Kilties were powerless as the Northmen ran out the final 26.2 seconds.
N.S. improves to 5-2 in league play with two contests remaining â€“ next Friday at home against fellow playoff contender Central Falls and on Thanksgiving morning against winless Scituate.
Paris Correia was instrumental in N.S. jumping out to a 14-point cushion at halftime. All the junior tailback did through two quarters was run for 122 yards on 15 carries and a touchdown, which covered nine yards and came with 12 seconds left in the first quarter. Correia finished the game with 130 yards as the Kiltiesâ€™ defenses tightened considerably in the second half.
A stand on fourth down gave the Northmen the ball at their own nine with eight minutes left before intermission. The home team responded with a four-play, 91-yard scoring drive that didnâ€™t even take two minutes.
Two substantial gains by Correia â€“ a 25-yarder followed by a 34-yard gallop â€“ helped set up a 30-yard scoring strike by Peter Keenan, whose rumble to the end zone caught the entire Kitlies defense off-guard, especially in wake of what Correia had just accomplished.
The second half was one in which the Kilties had a few chances to strike only to come up empty. In the third quarter alone, Mt. Pleasant had drives begin at the N.S. 15 and 23-yard lines. The drive that began on their opponentsâ€™ 15 was the result of the Kilties recovering a Correia fumble.
The drive stalled on third down when Mt. Pleasant was flagged for holding and was assessed a 15-yard unsportsmanlike penalty on top of things. The two infractions pushed the ball back to the N.S. 35-yard line with the Northmen taking over at the 17 after the Kilties came up way short on fourth down.
Mt. Pleasantâ€™s bid to work with a short field went awry a second time when quarterback Brandon Dunlap opened the fourth quarter with an interception that Correia collected at the 4. It was the first of two fourth-quarter picks by Dunlap, whose second also came in an attempt to find a wideout in the end zone.
Daniel Jordan, who came up with the pick, was pushed out at the one. The visiting team got on the scoreboard one play later when Jordan had trouble handling the center-to-quarterback exchange, the Northmen positioned at their own one-yard line.
The Kiltiesâ€™ Joseph Putu recovered the live ball in the end zone at the 6:54 mark of the final quarter, though missed the extra point to remain trailing.