WARWICK – Once Woonsocket High kicked it into high gear, there was no looking back.
Shaking off a slow start with authority, the Villa Novans ran roughshod over host Warwick Vets, 27-0, Friday night to improve to 3-0 overall, 2-0 in Division II-A. Quarterback Miguel Raymond completed 11 passes for 163 yards and two scores while Woonsocket’s defense turned Warwick over five times.
Woonsocket compiled all of its points in the second and third quarters. On the flip side, Warwick Vets was barely heard from after failing to cash in on two first-half trips inside the Novans’ 10-yard line.
“We knew coming in that it was going to be a tough matchup and we just tried to keep plugging and see if we could outlast them,” said a clearly grounded Carnell Henderson, Woonsocket’s head coach.
It was clear from the onset that Vets’ top playmaker was quarterback Jessie Sendoma, a starter since his freshman year. The 12th grader was responsible for both of his team’s first downs in the opening quarter, both coming on read-option plays that covered 15 and 17 yards, respectively.
The story for Woonsocket in the first quarter was poor field position – the Novans had the ball three times and their best starting spot was the 12-yard line. Not surprisingly, all three drives resulted in three-and-outs.
A couple of wobbly Woonsocket punts presented Vets with excellent field position, yet the home team was unable to capitalize. One drive began at the Novans’ 30 with the ‘Canes moving all the way down to the six before fumbling the ball away.
After holding serve, Warwick Vets got the ball back at the Woonsocket 26. A 15-yard jaunt by Sendoma helped the ‘Canes penetrate deep into Novans’ territory before it became Woonsocket’s turn to put the clamps down.
Faced with a first-and-goal at the three, Woonsocket got a big lift on second down when Will Andino hit Warwick ball carrier Kyle Agin with a five-yard loss. Rather go for it on fourth-and-goal from the 6, Warwick Vets opted to see if it could track down three points.
A poor snap from center nixed any field-goal hopes, but that was the least of Vets’ worries. Woonsocket’s Jaston Robinson scooped up the live ball and quickly broke away from the pack for what appeared a 90-yard fumble return for a score. Instead, the Novans were guilty for a block in the back.
Quickly shaking off the missed opportunity to put points on the board, Woonsocket took to the air with Raymond hitting Andino over the middle for 25 yards. The aerial came on a first-down attempt from the Novans’ 42.
Raymond was just getting warmed up. He fired quick heater to D’Andre Thomas before watching the senior shred his way down Warwick Vets’ sideline for 30 yards. The two would hook up two more times on the drive, the final one coming on fourth-and-goal and resulting in a seven-yard score at 7:25 of the second quarter.
“Early on, we had some mental lapses that were basically blown assignments by our guys. Things that you don’t see, but if they do the right thing, it’s going to be a play for us,” said Henderson. “Once we cleaned those things up, we were fine.
“It was good to see the guys keep on plugging,” said Henderson when asked about his Novans responding from the ill-timed block in the block in the back that took away a surefire six points. “It was a setback, but they dug their heels in and found a way to make plays.”
Playing from behind clearly didn’t agree with Vets. Sendoma was picked off near midfield, the second of two first-half turnovers by the Hurricanes. The second giveway was more of a mental breakdown than a physical mistake as a Vets player mistakenly touched the ball on a punt with Woonsocket recovering at its opponents’ 23.
Andino made the Hurricanes pay for their transgression as the speedster turned the corner to cover the remaining three yards needed for the score. Rather than try to make something happen in the final minute, Warwick Vets opted to run out the clock and head into halftime trailing by 14-0.
Smelling blood, Woonsocket put Warwick down for the count as Austin Wolter picked off a Sendoma pass and raced 40 yards to pay dirt. Sendoma would go on to toss two additional picks after his team fell into a 20-0 hole with less than five minutes remaining in the third quarter.
Woonsocket’s fourth score saw Raymond get enough air under the ball so that his intended target could make a play. Josh Trinidad hauled in a 13-yard pass that made it 27-0 with still an entire quarter remaining.
“When you have athletes who can get down the football field, you need to be able to utilize them,” said Henderson. “Not only does Miguel play the vertical game well, but he’s a smart quarterback, so he’s able to see everything.”
Woonsocket 0-14-13-0 -- 27
Warwick Vets 0-0-0-0 -- 0
Woon – D’Andre Thomas 7 pass from Miguel Raymond (Raymond kick)
Woon – Will Andino 3 run (Raymond kick)
Woon – Austin Wolter 40 interception return (kick failed)
Woon – Josh Trinidad 13 pass from Raymond (Raymond kick)