BURRILLVILLE — If ever there’s a team that’s in need of a bye week, it’s Burrillville.
The Broncos don’t play again until Saturday, Oct. 6 – exactly two weeks from Saturday’s tough-to-swallow 14-6 setback to Division III rival Narragansett. Burrillville heads into its long respite at 0-2 in league play while Narragansett was able to pull even at 1-1 on the young campaign.
What figures to make the next two weeks quite interesting for head coach Gennaro Ferraro and his Bronco assistants is how to go about correcting the number of areas in need of work. The most glaring takeaway from Saturday is that Burrillville’s offense did not find the end zone once. In fact, the deepest the Broncos penetrated into Mariner territory was the nine-yard-line, occurring late in the second quarter.
Had senior Patrick Scotland not picked up a third-quarter fumble by Narragansett running back Arthur Kershaw and ran 70 yards toward pay dirt, the final score would have been cause for even more despair for Ferraro and Burrillville.
“It’s tough,” said a solemn Ferraro, watching as his players trudged off Alumni Field.
There were other problem spots. The exchange between the center and the quarterback wasn’t the smoothest as Burrillville signal caller Isaiah DaSilva was forced to pick the ball off the ground on many occasions.
The Broncos were also whistled for a penalty at the start of an offensive series on four separate occasions. Other times, the home team was flagged at a point when it was moving the ball down the field and with some conviction.
“We deserved every one of them,” said Ferraro about the six penalties the Broncos incurred.
Then there was issue of tackling. At times it seemed the Broncos couldn’t bring down the Mariners until after Narragansett had ripped off a substantial gain. Other times, players like Jacob Wall rose to the occasion to the point that Narragansett, like its counterparts, entered the second half with zero points next to its name on the scoreboard.
As the game deepened, however, Kershaw wore down Burrillville’s defensive front. Except on the costly fumble, the Narragansett senior ran with a firm purpose on his way to hustling for 163 yards and two touchdowns on 24 carries. Kershaw’s second score – coming from 15 yards away – helped transform a one-point lead for the Mariners into an eight-point advantage at 9:21 of the final stanza.
Even though the offense struggled to gain any sort of traction, the Broncos still had a couple of chances to make some hay. Burrillville responded to Kershaw’s second TD with a three-and-out, yet the defense was able to prevent Narragansett from icing the game. In fact, you could say the Broncos were lucky after the Mariners tried to trick the home team on fourth down, when Kershaw on the halfback option delivered a throw that was dropped in the end zone by Anthony Nero.
Still with a shot, the Broncos took over at their own 28 with 2:48 remaining. A sack by the Mariners pushed the home team back nine yards before DeSilva completed four straight passes that pushed Burrillville to the Narragansett 29. A holding call on third down moved the Broncos back to the 35 before the Mariners sealed the deal on an interception by Taylor Kreger. The fourth-down play saw the Broncos run a crossing pattern with DeSilva eyeing Jacob Hagerty.
Narragansett ended up winning the turnover ball, 3-1, while sacking DeSilva three times. In the eyes of Mariners head coach Dick Fossa the key turnover was the fumble recovery his crew came away with in the second quarter. To set the scene, the Broncos had the ball at the Mariner 9 after a fumble by Narragansett quarterback Kullen McGill gave Burrillville excellent field position.
The Broncos promptly gave the ball back to their opponents as the Mariners' Ross Hodnett came up with the takeaway.
“Turnovers always influence the game and that’s something we preached all week,” noted Fossa.
The game’s first points came at 3:24 of the third quarter with Kershaw stretching the action to the right side before breaking free for a 14-yard rumble. After Scotland scored at 1:53, the Burrillville senior lined up for the extra-point try that would have made it a brand new ballgame heading into the final 12 minutes.
Instead the kick went awry on a day that saw the Broncos solidify their to-do list for the next two weeks.