EAST PROVIDENCE --- Jalin Braxton and East Providence High ran away with this season opener.
The Second-Team All-State fullback picked up 153 yards and a pair of long touchdowns on 11 first-half carries on Friday night to guide the Townies to a convincing 42-0 non-league victory over Woonsocket High at Pierce Field.
The Townies scored on each of their first four possessions of the contest and ended the opening half with 255 yards on the ground and a 28-0 command.
E.P.’s first stringers ended up with 358 yards on the ground before exiting the contest with five minutes to play in the third quarter, and Braxton wrapped up his wonderful night with 243 yards and another long TD run on 13 carries.
The Townies also received a superb game from quarterback Brandon Peters, who made his first varsity start a memorable one. Peters, who ran the option with ease, weaved and juked his way for 91 yards on the ground on only 10 carries and also ran for a pair of first-half touchdowns.
The two-time Division II champion Novans were led by their talented junior tailback Jalen Evans, who ran for 76 yards on a dozen handoffs.
Braxton picked up 100 yards alone on his first-half touchdowns, a 56-yard run up the middle with 6:41 to go that gave the hosts their first points of the night, and a 44-yard scamper 3:05 into the second quarter.
Peters scored his first touchdown on a 1-yard keeper up the middle late in the first quarter to help make it a 14-0 contest, and he added a 37-yard TD run in the final minutes of the first half.
The Novans’ best opportunity to score in the first half came on the first series of the game, when on five plays, they worked the ball from their 36 inside the Townies’ 20.
But on that fifth play, a 26-yard run by Evans that saw him pick up some big yardage on a cutback near the Novans’ sideline, Evans fumbled the ball at the 19 and a swarm of red jerseys jumped on the loose ball.
Four minutes into the second half, the visiting Novans also found themselves with great field position when Kyle McKellick recovered a fumble by Peters at the E.P. 41.
A 20-yard run by Evans moved the Novans halfway to the end zone, but after the next three plays produced just two yards, Woonsocket turned the ball over on fourth down when quarterback Brett Bouchard was intercepted at the two-yard line by Eric Towne.
Seconds later, Braxton struck again and broke down the Townies’ sideline for a long 80-yard touchdown run, and Dom Leonardo tacked on his fifth straight extra point to make it a 35-0 game.
Both teams began to empty their benches after that score, but that didn’t stop the hosts from adding to their lead. With 17 seconds to go in the third quarter, sophomore Austin Baptista ran in his first varsity touchdown on a six-yard run and Leonardo added the extra point.
Both teams will kick off their division schedules next weekend. The Townies will host Division I foe North Kingstown next Friday at 7 p.m. back at Pierce, while the Villa Novans will entertain Pilgrim High in their Division II opener the following day at 1:30 p.m. at Barry Field.
Woonsocket 0 0 0 0 -- 0
East Providence 14 14 14 0 -- 42
EP -- Jalin Braxton 56 run (Dom Leonardo kick)
EP -- Brandon Peters 1 run (Dom Leonardo kick)
EP -- Jalin Braxton 44 run (Dom Leonardo kick)
EP -- Brandon Peters 37 run (Dom Leonardo kick)
EP -- Jalin Braxton 80 run (Dom Leonardo kick)
EP -- Austin Baptista 6 run (Dom Leonardo kick)