WEST GREENWICH — 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 – literally and figureatively – everything they had at Exeter-West Greenwich, but couldn’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.
“It’s tough. We had our chances, we did. We had the game,” Northmen coach Wes Pennington said. “It’s just one of those things – they’re a good football team and they made one more play than we did and that was the difference.”
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 Mancini’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, Kennett’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 Smithfield’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.
“We expected him to come in healthy. We weren’t looking for anything less than that,” Pennington said. “He played a good game.”
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 – who made a brilliant bobbling catch on the play and later caught one from Correai – 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.