PROVIDENCE -- St. Raphael Academy head coach Mike Sassi had stated on the evening before his squad’s rather new holiday rivalry game against Moses Brown that – despite the upcoming inclement weather forecast – the two foes would play.
Evidently, the Providence private school didn’t want to go to combat on Thanksgiving Day; perhaps a primary reason being it would have slightly less rest to prepare for a Division III semifinal tilt this coming Tuesday.
Despite the near-constant rains that hit the Berylson Family Field Complex at Brown University on Wednesday night, the Quakers roared to a 27-0 halftime cushion and held off the gritty Saints, 35-22.
The contest was mistake-filled, for sure, but senior quarterback Eric Cosmopulos tossed two touchdowns and ran for another as the hosts improved to 9-1 before the league postseason opens.
Sassi’s bunch, which dropped a 49-35 Division II semifinal to Cumberland last Friday night, closed its campaign at 6-5 overall.
Head coach Willie Edwards’ unit took a near-immediate advantage, moving 82 yards on just six plays ending on junior tailback Andrew Howard’s three-yard sweep around right end. Freshman Nick Cohen booted the extra point to give the Quakers a 7-0 lead just four minutes into the contest.
SRA did move into enemy territory on its following possession, though senior tri-captain Alfred Dorbor’s 16-yard rush on a fake punt at the 42 fell three yards shy of the first down.
With under 15 seconds remaining in the first quarter, senior Amos Cariati blocked John Michalczyk’s punt from the SRA 19, giving Moses Brown a first-and-10 from its own 4. Two plays later, Cosmopulos scored on a two-yard sneak on the initial snap of the second period, but Cohen pulled his boot wide left.
Thanks to junior James Kelly’s 81-yard run off right tackle to the Moses Brown 10, the Saints seemed ready to jump back into it, though Jake Davis’ 36-yard field goal attempt was blocked by Cariati.
Mammoth lineman Sam Greenfield scooped up Cariati’s carom and rambled 78 yards for the TD, and – after a botched PAT kick try – junior Roberto Valentini’s rush for the conversion fell a yard shy.
Still, the Quakers led, 19-0.
Again the Saints drove into their foe’s side of the grid, but Michalczyk had to punt from the 41. Nine plays after, Cosmopulos found sophomore Jakub Witczak on a three-yard aerial in the left section of the end zone to make it 25-0.
On the two-point attempt, senior Bryan McAdams snagged holder Roberto Valentini’s toss to increase its lead by a pair.
Those scores came with 33.1 ticks left before the break.
On Moses Brown’s second play from scrimmage in the third period, Dorbor intercepted Cosmopulos at his own 34 and returned it 36 yards to the opponent’s 30. SRA maneuvered down to the 6, but Kelly fumbled for a four-yard loss.
On the ensuing snap, Howard returned the favor, and Kelly redeemed himself with a 15-yard sweep around right end. Courtesy of a facemask call on a failed two-point conversion, the Saints had another chance, and Dorbor made good on it, taking a pitch off right tackle.
That closed the gap to 27-8.
SRA tried an onside kick – as it had on each kickoff of the final half – but senior Matt Romano jumped on it at midfield. Eight plays later, Cosmopulos delivered a soft three-yard TD toss to Witczak, and Tom Chase grabbed Valentini’s PAT pass with 2:17 remaining in the third.
The Saints once more rolled into Quaker territory, but Greenfield’s nine-yard sack of junior QB Emmanuel Leake on a fourth-and-eight squelched that possession.
Still, sophomore backup signal caller Adam Romano fumbled it right back, and SRA sealed its three-snap, 30-yard drive on Josh Alves’ one-yard plunge.
Alves’ fellow senior tri-captain, Kevin Garcia, tried to bull his way in for the two-pointer, but that came up a yard shy with 7:37 remaining in regulation.
Following a 28-yard MB punt, the Saints took over on their own 19, but Dorbor’s 60-yard jaunt gave them a first-and-10 situation at the foe’s 20. After Kelly’s three-yard gain, Dorbor took a two-yard pitch off left tackle – and Kelly delivered the two-point conversion to tighten the gap to 35-22.
As the drizzled intensified, senior kicker Jake Davis’ onside kick was recovered by a teammate, and Leake’s 31-yard aerial to Kelly moved the pigskin to the Quakers’ 10. On another toss to Kelly in he left flat, however, senior cornerback Ben Pinsky corralled the pick to end it with 2:14 left.