BURRILLVILLE — Head coach Gennaro Ferraro admitted being less than enthralled with his Burrillville High’s overall team effort during the first half of its Division II season opener against Mount Hope on Saturday.
In fact, he was elated his Broncos had managed a 14-point advantage.
“I thought we played sloppy; we couldn’t close on a couple of opportunities, and – when you do that against a very well-coached team – you usually pay for it,” he stated. “We had too many penalties, a couple of bad snaps, etc. You can’t do that against a good team.”
Ferraro insisted he didn’t read his boys the riot act at the break, simply addressed the issues and asked his troops to carry out the fixes.
They did that – and then some.
The Broncos exploded for 27 unanswered points in the third quarter alone – the highlight senior Ryan Lockwood’s 100-yard interception return for a touchdown with 3:13 left in the period – to coast to a 41-14 triumph before a hefty crowd at Alumni Field.
If Ferraro had given out a game ball, it may have gone to Lockwood, who mustered two picks and several tackles on defense while hauling in three tosses for 78 yards on the other side.
“As coaches, we conferred at halftime and solidified what we wanted to accomplish in the second half,” he explained. “We set up a plan, and that was to get the ball right away, play mistake-free, finish our drives on offense and not allow them to extend possessions on our penalties.
“We played very well in that half,” he added. “I’m proud of the way this team responded to the challenges placed on them by the coaches. That’s a sign of a mature team. I’m most impressed with the way they valued making corrections, taking them seriously and really focusing on them.
“They take pride in performing well.”
With the victory, the Broncos improved to 2-0 overall and 1-0 in league action.
Senior Jake Gelinas happened to be his usual solid self, completing 15 of 24 passes for 250 yards and two scores, but did throw up two interceptions. Classmate Marcus Audet played the role of favorite target, snaring seven balls for 101 yards and a touchdown, while fellow senior Adrian Cournoyer grabbed three for 60 more with a TD.
Talented sophomore speedster Bobby Thatcher set up the passing attack on the ground, hustling for 56 yards and two scores on eight carries.
As for the defense, Lockwood, senior tackle Brandon DiChiaro, 12th-grader Cyrus Sykes and others held Mount Hope sophomore signal caller Jordan Pompey only 13 completions on 23 tries for 223 yards. He may have posted a TD toss, but the Broncos also picked him off thrice while sacking him twice for another minus-15 yards.
In that third quarter, Pompey completed only two passes in seven attempts for a yard, and he threw two interceptions.
The Huskies nevertheless seemed dangerous on their opening possession, taking it to the BHS 8 after a pass interference call. Two plays later, junior Aidan Tupper snagged Pompey’s errant pass at the 3 to stunt the drive.
Burrillville responded in kind, moving from its own 10 to the MH 10, but a high center snap pushed the ball back to the 22, and freshman linebacker Riley Furtado intercepted in the end zone. Thus the reason for the scoreless opening session.
Early in the second, however, the hosts began to roll, manufacturing a five-snap, 54-yard possession culminating on Thatcher’s 15-yard sweep around right end. On the PAT attempt, the snap sailed over the holder’s head so the score stood at 6-0.
It didn’t take much time for MH to assemble a threat of its own, taking it to the Broncos’ 15, but Pompey scampered for only nine yards on a fourth-and-19 to bring that to a halt.
Ferraro’s crew took control at its own 10, yet it took only five plays to go the distance. Thanks to Gelinas’ 55-yard heave to Lockwood deep down the left sideline on the third, Cournoyer finished it off with a 28-yard TD grab down the right hash in the end zone.
With 3:24 left before intermission, Gelinas tossed a wobbly duck into the right section of the end zone, and it was tipped, but senior Brennan Richards corralled it, doing so while concentrating on keeping both feet in bounds.
The Broncos actually had a chance to extend their lead in the waning seconds, but Gelinas overthrew Lockwood in the left front portion of the end zone.
Audet picked a fine way to open the third, as he returned the boot 45 yards to the MH 35. On just the third play from scrimmage, Wheeler plowed two yards for the TD and junior Shea Foisy planted the extra point for the 21-0 lead.
Fifty-eight seconds later, following Lockwood’s first pick, Gelinas found Audet open deep down the left side for a 31-yard scoring aerial to make it 28-0.
Burrillville forced an immediate three-and-out, though junior Jalen Morton intercepted Gelinas, and that gave the Huskies the pigskin at the BHS 24. Pompey scrambled for 16 yards, but officials tacked on four more due to a facemask to push it to the 4.
After a 10-yard holding penalty pushed it back, MH lost four yards on the next two snaps. That’s when Pompey tried to squeeze a throw into junior receiver Cole Runey. Lockwood, however, stepped in front at the goal line and raced 100 yards for the TD that made it 35-0 with 3:13 still left in the third.
On the first play of the ensuing kickoff, sophomore Conor Driscoll forced Pompey to cough up the ball, and it landed in the arms of junior Luke Wilson, who was tackled at the Huskies’ 33. Junior Nick Roy, a backup tailback, gained all of those yards on three handles, the last a five-yard sweep to the left pylon.
MH finished off the scoring against the Broncos’ JV defense. Sophomore Cory Grifka capped a seven-play, 65-yard possession with a 10-yard jaunt, and Morton scored on a 55-yard screen pass with 32.1 ticks left.
“You could see in the first half that the boys were not satisfied with how they were playing,” Ferraro said. “They knew they were not performing at their collective peak, but – again – we had faith they could. They proved us right in that third quarter.”
Mount Hope 0 0 0 14 – 14
Burrillville 0 14 27 0 – 41
BURR – Bobby Thatcher 15 run (PAT failed)
BURR – Adrian Cournoyer 28 pass from Jake Gelinas (Brennan Richards pass from Gelinas)
BURR – Thatcher 2 run (Shea Foisy kick)
BURR – Marcus Audet 31 pass from Gelinas (Foisy kick)
BURR – Ryan Lockwood 100 interception return (Foisy kick)
BURR – Nick Roy 5 run (kick failed)
MH – Cory Grifka 10 run (Zach DaCosta kick)
MH – Jalen Morton 59 pass from Jordan Pompey (DaCosta kick)