EAST PROVIDENCE – On a breezy Saturday afternoon, North Smithfield continued to prove why it’s a legitimate contender in Division IV by breezing its way to an easy victory.
Tim Kennett tossed for two touchdowns and teammates Peter Mancini and Alex Blanchette each scored twice as the Northmen turned a close affair after one quarter into a convincing rout, rolling to a 34-6 win over Providence Country Day Co-op at the Knights’ campus.
“It was nice, balanced attack,” said N.S. coach Wes Pennington. “We threw the ball well. We ran the ball well. Our fullback game was working. Dump passes and screens were working. It was a good game for us.”
North Smithfield, which improved to an impressive 3-1 in the league, was coming off a four-point loss (26-22) to unbeaten Exeter/West Greenwich last weekend. Pennington felt maybe that setback had something to do with his squad’s blowout win just seven days later.
“Every week we are playing a little bit better. Last week I think our youngness kind of showed a little bit, which affected us and caused us to lose that one by four. We had a chance to win that one,” said Pennington, whose squad rallied from an 18-0 deficit against Exeter/West Greenwich and nearly pulled out the improbable victory in the fourth quarter. “This week, I think we were just angry that we lost and we came out with a little fire under us.”
The Knights, who fell to 1-3 in the league, actually scored first in the contest, finding the end zone early in the first quarter. But the Northmen made that lead short-lived, responding with an 80-yard drive that was capped by a 33-yard TD pass from quarterback Tim Kennett to Mancini to knot the score.
North Smithfield was at it again in the first quarter with Blanchette scoring on a five-yard run. Another pass by Kennett, this one a 25-yarder to Nate Lussier, in the second quarter, would boost the advantage to 22-6 by halftime. N.S. sewed up the victory with two more touchdowns in the third quarter – a four-yard run by Blanchette and an 11-yard run from Mancini.
“We woke up (after PCD scored) and started playing some defense and made some stops,” Pennington said. “Once we got stops, the offense starting clicking and we were able to get in the end zone. We didn’t punt all day.”
PCD assistant coach Marquis Harper admitted the Northmen’s answer to his team’s score gave his opponent a mental edge.
“You get punched in the mouth and you punch back and get results when you punch back, it’s a confidence-booster,” he said. “They played very well today. They deserved to win. They responded very well to what we tried to do with them.”
Pennington, whose team has a bye next week and then welcomes North Providence on Homecoming weekend on Oct. 29, likes the fact that his Northmen had a solid effort from start to finish. Leading the defense was Chris Mancini (eight tackles) and Ryan Masnyk (seven tackles).
“I think in the Exeter/West Greenwich game we didn’t play four quarters and that hurt us,” he said. “Today, the rally cry was to play for four quarters, and that’s what we did.”
“They were definitely a formidable opponent and like any good team you should capitalize on your opponent’s mistakes,” Harper added. “To run off 34 points like they did, they certainly did that. They executed well offensively. There was some good play-calling and we just didn’t make the plays that we should have made.”