BRISTOL – In a sea of big plays, there was one in particular on this Friday night that captured what this Woonsocket High football team is all about.
With host Mount Hope looking to gain any sort of traction against a Woonsocket defense that continues to be the definition of stingy, the Huskies opted for a little trickery. Down six points in the third quarter, one of Mount Hope’s key cogs in the running game, Aidan Silva, took the exchange from center.
The crowd automatically realized it was a flea flicker and began to rise as one. Down the right sideline, Mount Hope’s Jacob Ramos appeared to have a step on Woonsocket’s secondary, but not everyone in a Maroon & White jersey took the bait.
Displaying superb recovery speed, Novans senior Joshua Trinidad caught up to Ramos and twisted around just as the ball was set to enter the pair’s vicinity. Shielding Ramos, Trinidad thwarted the Huskies’ big-play hope by batting the ball to the turf.
The call came on third-and-12 from the Mount Hope 47 yard-line. The Huskies were barely heard from the rest of the way as the Novans racked up an impressive 20-0 victory.
“That play was a great play,” said Woonsocket head coach Carnell Henderson about Trinidad’s heroics. “We were expecting it and he almost bit on it, but he made a great recovery. It took the wind out of their sails because they thought they were going to get something off that play. At the same time, we were able to allow nothing off that play, so it was a huge play.”
At 4-0, the Novans remain the only unblemished team in Division II-A. They have surrendered just one touchdown in those four league games.
Mount Hope (2-2) felt the sting of Woonsocket’s ‘D’ all game long. The Huskies managed just one first down through two quarters, the result of the Novans getting whistled for running into the punter. The home team nearly has as many first downs in the second half as turnovers, as the Novans picked off three passes in the fourth quarter.
The Huskies, who will travel to face Cumberland next Friday for a non-leaguer, managed five first downs in the final four quarters.
“If we get them into a situation where we can be aggressive upfront and tee off, let’s put our best athletes in a situation where they’re comfortable,” said Henderson. “It’s a situation that (Mount Hope) didn’t want to be in and we were able to capitalize.”
Trinidad also made his presence felt on the offensive side of the ball, hauling in one big third-down pass after another on his way to finishing with 93 yards on seven catches. Six of those yards came on a fourth-quarter touchdown as the senior hooked up with quarterback Miguel Raymond, who passed for two scores.
Another key senior for the Novans enjoyed a big night at the Huskies’ expense. D’Andre Thomas racked up 161 yards on the ground – 66 coming on one third-quarter gallop that produced six points.
“It was great kickout block by Nick Fernandes at (left) guard,” said Henderson about the dirty work that paved the way for Thomas’ long scamper.
Thomas’ TD came not long after the Huskies attempted to catch the Novans off guard. The Woonsocket 12th grader had a bigger role in the offense after classmate Will Andino was ruled out with an ankle injury.
“D’Andre goes from receiver to running back and all his does is have a great game in the backfield,” said Henderson.
Woonsocket’s first score came with 33 seconds left in the first half. Raymond capped off the 12-play drive with a seven-yard strike to tight end Austin Wolter, who would go on to record an interception in the fourth quarter. Facing 1-on-1 coverage, Wolter quickly shed the Mount Hope defender assigned to him with ease before heading to the right corner of the end zone.
Woonsocket will look to keep up its winning ways when it hosts Rogers next Saturday at Barry Field.
Woonsocket 0 – 6 – 6 – 8 – 20
Mount Hope 0 – 0 – 0 – 0 – 0
W – Austin Wolter 4 pass from Miguel Raymond (kick failed)
W – D’Andre Thomas 66 run (pass failed)
W – Joshua Trinidad 6 pass from Raymond (Wolter from Raymond)