PAWTUCKET â€” This is a victory that Cumberland High soon wonâ€™t forget.
Boasted by a strong defense that came up huge when it mattered most, Cumberland held on for a 14-7 final against Shea High in the Division II-A for both schools Friday night at Max Read Field. The Clippers scored the go-ahead touchdown early in the fourth quarter behind a one-yard run by Ryan Gaumond â€“ one of two in the contest â€“ before surviving a frantic finish in which the Raiders let a first-and-goal opportunity at the Cumberland 4 with less than a minute remaining slip through their grasp.
The final drive of the contest, which began for Shea at its own 18 with 3:50, didnâ€™t start out very promising for the home team. A pair of short runs followed by an incomplete pass set up what appeared to be a fourth-and-18 play from the 20, but Shea quarterback Adilson DaSilva was able to hit Jamal Tucker on a crossing route that covered 17 yards.
It should have been a turnover on downs with the ball going to the Clippers, but the officials signaled that it was fourth down. DaSilva plunged ahead to keep the chains moving for the Raiders.
A one-handed grab by Aaron Rodrigues, the play covering 47 yards, helped set up a first-and-10 for Shea at the Cumberland 17 with two minutes remaining. The Raiders benefited from a pass interference call, which set up first-and-goal from the 4 with 60 seconds left.
Shea advanced the ball down to the 1 after a three-yard by DaSilva before trouble struck. A delay of game pushed the Raiders five yards back. Then came a bad snap that chased DaSilva and the Raiders back to the 24. More bad news arose as the Raiders were whistled for a false start.
The clock stood at seven seconds as the Raiders attempted to get off one final play, but with the clock moving, Shea was left stuck in neutral as the final horn sounded.
â€śOur kids really adjusted to what we wanted to do,â€ť said Cumberland head coach Chris Skurka. â€śGreat team effort right there.â€ť
Said Shea head coach Dino Campopiano, â€śBoth teams played well. They just didnâ€™t make as many mistakes as we did. They executed better than we did.â€ť
The Raiders held a razor-thin 7-6 lead at halftime behind a first-quarter touchdown run by DaSilva, who called his number from four yards out. Lemon Boubacar added the extra point to make it 7-0 with 4:41 left in the quarter. DaSilvaâ€™s plunge into the end zone capped off a six-play drive for the Raiders after starting out at the Clippersâ€™ 34.
It was fitting that Gaumond finished off Cumberlandâ€™s lone score of the opening half. The sophomore tailback had his number called seven times, the last one covering three yards and coming two plays into the second quarter.
Gaumond finished the drive with 29 yards, yet it was 24-yard pass play that came on third-and-12 that helped keep the drive alive for Cumberland. Quarterback Brendan Guerin rolled left before seeing that Richard Jackvony had slipped behind the Shea secondary.
Travis Gray galloped 44 yards to start Sheaâ€™s next possession on a high note, the senior taking the handoff from DaSilva and cutting it to the right side before turning on the afterburners. That would represent the last big play for the Raiders in the half as Cumberlandâ€™s defense allowed only 19 yards on 12 Shea offensive snaps.
Part of the Clippersâ€™ belt-tightening ways was attributed to the tenacious play of Joe Fine, the son of Bryant University head football coach Marty Fine. The Cumberland linebacker snuffed out Sheaâ€™s bid on fourth-and-9 at the Clippersâ€™ 23 as Jamal Tucker was wrapped up on a designed screenplay.
The second quarter also saw Fine hit Sheaâ€™s Dennis Lloyd in the backfield for a four-yard loss and record a sack of DaSilva that erased seven yards.
â€śHe times up the blitz really well,â€ť said Skurka about Fine, a sophomore.
Neither side scored in the third quarter though the Clippers put themselves in a position to hit pay dirt after ripping off a 20-yard run on third-and-1. Cumberland opened the fourth quarter with another 20-yard gain, this one involving Guerin hitting Ryan Harrison as the senior wideout was able to box out the Shea defender, which allowed him to make a leaping grab near the far side pylon. Harrison was ruled out at the four-yard-line.
Fine came with three yards on first down, setting the stage for Gaumondâ€™s one-yard score. Kenneth deHertogh came up with the key block as Gaumond followed the path cleared by the junior lineman from Cumberland. Guerin made it a one-score game when he found Trent Vasey all alone for the two-point conversion.