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LINCOLN â€” In the third chapter of the budding Thanksgiving rivalry between neighboring municipalities, Central Falls High snagged a 27-22 non-league victory over Lincoln before 300 fans at Ferguson Field on Wednesday night.
Following this most entertaining game, Warriors' coach Mo Jackson â€“ in his grid coaching finale â€“ addressed the players from both squads at midfield, and awarded a new tradition, the Game MVP trophy in the shape of a mini-Heisman, to Lions' junior running back Cory Gaskell.
In turn, Lincoln head coach Dave Waycott issued the same to CF senior quad-captain and fullback/linebacker Kenny Lopez.
â€śWe knew coming in this would be a tough game, and it was; I have to give a lot of credit to Lincoln and it's coaching staff,â€ť Jackson said after his club closed the campaign at 4-7 overall (3-5 in D-IV). On a day like today, the final game dictates how hard the game was fought. (To the Lions), you guys are winners, and a class act.â€ť
As for the contest itself, senior quarterback Brandon Canuto not only completed seven of 15 passes for 129 yards and three touchdowns, but also ran for 73 more on nine carries â€“ in the first half alone as CF built an early 21-0 cushion.
Warriors' senior James McGuire recovered a bloop opening kickoff at the Lions' 37, and Canuto needed only four plays to hook up with McGuire in the left section of
the end zone. Canuto's PAT boot split the uprights, and CF held a 7-0 cushion just 46 ticks into the first.
On its next drive, Jackson's crew maneuvered 66 yards on nine snaps ending on Canuto's eight-yard scoring toss to sophomore end Malik Velazquez, but junior quin-captain Giovanni Gray blocked the signal caller's PAT.
The Warriors made it 21-0 after senior Raven Roque snatched a fumble from Gaskell at the Lincoln 49. Eight plays later, Canuto hit Velzquez again on a 17-yard TD route in the left portion of the end zone, then threw to senior Kris Interiano for the two-point conversion.
Lions' senior Johnny Galang picked off a Canuto offering at their own 37, then masterfully directed a nine-snap drive culminating on his five-yard aerial to Chris Kimball, and that's how the half ended, at 21-8.
In the third period, Waycott's entourage took its initial possession 51 yards on another nine plays, that closing on Galang's one-yard sneak off left tackle, but fellow Lincoln captain Osei-lie Saine's rush failed.
CF led, 21-14.
It looked as if the Lions would maneuver for another score as it drove to midfield, but Lopez recovered a Galang fumble. On the next snap, Canuto rolled left and hit McGuire on a 50-yard TD toss to give the Warriors a 27-14 cushion with 2:21 left in the third.
A nine-yard CF punt led to Lincoln's final score, that coming on a one-yard plunge by Gaskell with 3:12 remaining in regulation. Senior Alex O'Hara tacked on the two-point conversion, taking a sweep around right end, but Jackson and Co. worked the clock, driving 18 yards, to finish the contest.
Lincoln (0-10, 0-8 in D-III) didn't win a game, but Waycott praised his club during his post-game speech.
â€śThat easily was our best game of the season,â€ť he noted. â€śYou guys should be proud of yourselves, because we (as a coaching staff) sure are.â€ť