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PAWTUCKET â€“ On a night that saw his team score at will against previously undefeated West Warwick, Shea head coach Dino Campopiano decided to throw a little love in the direction of the group that paved the way for the Raider skill players to glide up and down Max Read Field.
The productive outings enjoyed by Shea running backs Dennis Lloyd, Tyâ€™shon Ashe, Chris Fonseca and Jay Almeida along with quarterback Aaron Rodrigues were rooted in the offensive lineâ€™s ability to hold their blocks long enough, resulting in the formation of cavernous holes. In no time, a Shea ball carrier would exploit those holes along West Warwickâ€™s defense on their way to galloping toward the end zone.
By the end of the night, Shea had rushed for 334 yards as a team. Such an otherworldly sum suggests that the line more than did its job in the Raidersâ€™ 42-14 takedown of the Wizards on Sunday night. Both squads are now 2-1 in Division II-B with first-place Cumberland leading the way at 3-0.
Against the Wizards, the Raiders ripped off five runs that covered 30 yards or more. While guys like Lloyd (three TDs), Almeida and Ashe took turns in torching West Warwick, it was the work that was done in the trenches that had Campopiano especially pleased.
â€śThe center is Dominick Fortes, right guard is John Santos, right tackle is Nick Puello, left guard is Wayne Wambugu and left tackle is Jose Rodigues,â€ť stated the mentor, seeking to shine some much deserved light on the O-line. â€śThose guys have been together since they were sophomores. They do a great job and we will only go as far as them, thereâ€™s no doubt about it.â€ť
Not to be outdone, the Raiders received strong blocking from Almeida. When the senior fullback wasnâ€™t delivering punishing runs, he was clearing paths along the edge that allowed Lloyd and Ashe to turn the corner and explode down the sideline.
â€śIt was a great team effort,â€ť stated Campopiano.
Sheaâ€™s line showed it was more than just a bulldozing outfit, as Rodrigues threw for two scores, one of which tied the game at 7-7 in the opening quarter while the latter closed out the scoring for the home team. All told, Rodrigues completed 3-of-5 throws for 53 yards.
The Wizards enjoyed a 14-7 lead after one quarter behind two scoring strikes from quarterback Kody Greenhalgh, who passed for 90 yards in the opening quarter. The sophomore found the sledding tough the rest of the way, finishing the game 13-of-32 for 181 yards.
â€śWe definitely had our guys jamming their guys at the line,â€ť Campopiano noted. â€ś(Defensive coordinator Dave) Hanson did a lot of blitzing to disrupt their timing. We had a great game plan and the kids executed it.â€ť
Greenhalghâ€™s final pass was intercepted by Ashe deep in Raider territory. The fourth-quarter takeaway capped off what was a banner Shea debut for Ashe, who had transferred in from Central Falls. The junior compiled two touchdowns â€“ one rushing, one running â€“ and 88 yards of total offense.
â€śThatâ€™s a big pickup and heâ€™ll more and more for us as the season goes on,â€ť Campopiano said about his new addition to Sheaâ€™s lineup. â€śDefensively and offensively, he can do a lot for us. Plus heâ€™s a great kid.â€ť
Shea scored 21 points in the second quarter on its way to building a 28-14 lead at the half. The advantage swelled to 35-14 after the Raiders scored on their first possession of the second half, a two-yard run by Lloyd that was set up by a 32-yard scamper by Fonseca.
After holding the Wizards at bay, the Raiders opted to run clock, which they were able to do despite not capping off an 11-play drive with a touchdown. The drive wound up consuming 6:07 of the third quarter. â€śIt was pretty amazing that we took that much time off the clock, so that was big for us,â€ť said Campopiano. As the Raiders concluded their postgame meeting,
Campopiano cautioned that the preparation for Rogers will commence in earnest following school on Monday. The Vikings will venture to Pawtucket on Friday night.
West Warwick 14-0-0-0 â€“ 14
Shea 7-21-7-7 â€“ 42
WW â€“ Ryan Oâ€™Kelly 17 pass from Kody Greenhalgh (James Kaplan kick)
S â€“ Dennis Lloyd 12 pass from Aaron Rodrigues (Boubacar Lemon kick)
WW â€“ Jonathan Menard 50 pass from Greenhalgh (Kaplan kick)
S â€“ Jay Almeida 40 run (Lemon kick)
S â€“ Lloyd 63 run (Lemon kick)
S â€“ Tyâ€™shon Ashe 49 run (Lemon kick)
S â€“ Lloyd 2 run (Lemon kick)
S â€“ Ashe 25 pass from Rodrigues (Kaplan kick)