PAWTUCKET — Cumberland High made enough big plays on Saturday night to knock Tolman out of the Division II playoffs.
The Clippers got a 75-yard touchdown run by Erik Travers in the first quarter and then pulled out a 13-9 victory with a scoring drive in the final 4-1/2 minutes that was capped by Ryan Gaumond’s game-winning one-yard plunge with 1:36 left in the contest.
“That’s the story of this team,” Cumberland coach Chris Skurka said after the game. “We make the plays when we need to. Erik made a great cut on his touchdown run. Tolman plays an aggressive defense and sometimes you can take advantage of that.”
Tolman cut its deficit to 7-6 in the second quarter when Darion Stubbs scored on a 12-yard run that capped a short 43-yard drive made possible by great field position. A 15-yard face mask penalty on the Clippers proved instrumental in the drive. But it was Cumberland’s defense that stood tall all night, as it did on the extra point try which Mitchell Baxter blocked.
The game remained 7-6 into the fourth quarter as both defenses kept coming up big. Cumberland spent most of the time trying to throw the ball while Tolman relied on its ground game, gaining a lot of yardage between the 20s but stalling in the red zone.
Tolman got a big break early in the third quarter when linebacker Mamour Samb recovered a Cumberland fumble at the Clippers’ 12-yard line. Stubbs made eight yards on first down. On third-and-one, Gaumond stopped Stubbs in his tracks, setting up a field goal try by Tolman’s Anthony Soares that went wide left.
The Tigers got down to Cumberland’s 15 early in the fourth quarter. On fourth-and-three, Baxter stopped halfback Mory Keita one yard short of a first down.
After the Clippers punted with 7:57 left in the game, Tolman set up 43 yards from Cumberland’s end zone. The Tigers moved the sticks twice and had first down on the 14 with six minutes left. Keita made four yards on first down. Linebacker Brian Buxton blitzed and nailed Stubbs for a three-yard loss on second down. After an incompletion, Soares drilled a 28-yard field goal and Tolman led 9-7 with 4:31 remaining.
Cumberland got a big lift when Daniel Stock returned the kickoff to midfield. On second down, quarterback Brendan Guerin hit Gaumond on a short pass that the halfback turned into a 27-yard gain down to the 21-yard line. Stock then carried twice for a first down. On second down from the 11, Stock churned ahead seven yards to the four as the clock wound down. Stock gained three yards to set up first-and-goal at the one with 1:50 left and Gaumond put the ball in the end zone on the next play.
The Clippers will visit Chariho in the Division II quarterfinals on Tuesday, Nov. 29.