CENTRAL FALLS --- Central Falls’ ‘D’ earned an A-plus from its head coach on Friday night.
The Warriors’ defense forced five turnovers, recorded six sacks, and limited Hope to just 12 yards of offense en route to an impressive 21-0 victory in their Division IV meeting at rain-drenched and mud-covered Macomber Stadium.
Offensively, senior quarterback Brandon Canuto tossed a pair of touchdown passes and senior running back Joshua Brandon had his first career 100-yard game on the ground by picking up 111 yards on 21 carries, but the night clearly belonged to the defense.
“My hat goes off to (defensive coordinator) Jeff (Lapierre) and his defense,” added C.F. head coach Mo Jackson. “They turned it up a notch and they played stellar. I don’t know what else you can say about them. They were outstanding. An A-plus in my book.”
Jackson gave a lot of credit to a Monday afternoon film session with his defense, which viewed the Blue Wave in action and took what they studied from the film into the game.
“They watched the film, they went over it, they took notes, and the coaches broke some things down,” said Jackson. “Tonight, it just looked like we knew what they were going to run in their playbook. Every little move that (Hope) made, the kids were yelling, ‘It’s coming here, it’s coming here,’ and we were there to make the play.”
No two Warriors had bigger games defensively than defensive linemen Sension Jimenez and Nico Danielson. Both players recorded multiple sacks and double digits in tackles and teamed up to collect three fumble recoveries, two by Danielson.
“(Hope) couldn’t block both of them,” Jackson added of Jimenez and Danielson. “When Sen went, Nico looped right behind him, and vice versa. They had very good games.”
What made the defense’s performance extra special was that it came against a Blue Wave team that was coming off a big 18-10 victory over North Smithfield, which is regarded as one of the teams to beat in the division this season.
Unfortunately for the Blue Wave, everything seemed to go wrong for them in this game. Their star tailback, Delonce Wright, who ran for a pair of touchdowns in the win over N.S., only ran for two yards on 10 carries, and quarterback Dwayne Jeffries suffered a lower right leg injury late in the first quarter and never returned to the game.
“We hadn’t beaten Hope in the last three, maybe four years,” noted Jackson. “Hope is a good ballclub. They beat North Smithfield, which put up 55 points against Burrillville a couple of weeks ago, so we shut out a decent team. I’m proud of the whole team, but the defense more than anything.”
The Warriors scored the only points they needed midway through the first quarter on a 21-yard touchdown pass from Canuto to Steven Vasquez, who used his talents that made him an All-State high jumper in track and field to outleap a defensive back near the left pilon and reel in a high pass from Canuto.
The hosts failed to convert the two-point conversion, but they picked up two points with a minute left in the first half on a fumble recovery in the end zone by Danielson. It looked like C.F. was going to get the safety when Christian Brandon sacked backup quarterback Deion Samuels in the end zone, but Samuels fumbled the ball before he was taken down and Danielson quickly pounced on it.
Brandon was also the recipient of a 24-yard touchdown strike by Canuto with 4:52 left in the third quarter. Canuto fired a bullet at the Hope five-yard line to Brandon, who shook off a pair of defensive backs as he made his way into the end zone.
The Warriors’ final points came on a 44-yard fumble recovery by Joel Peralta less than two minutes into the final quarter.
The win raises the Warriors’ division record to 2-0 and marks the first time they opened their season with back-to-back victories since their 2005 championship season. They will try for their third win next Friday at home when they face a tough challenge in defending Division IV champion Mount Pleasant.
Central Falls 6 2 6 7 -- 21
Hope 0 0 0 0 -- 0
CF – Steven Vasquez 21 pass from Brandon Canuto (run failed)
CF – Safety, Nico Danielson recovered a fumble in the end zone
CF – Christian Brandon 24 pass from Brandon Canuto (pass failed)
CF – Joel Peralta 44 fumble recovery (Brandon Canuto kick)