PAWTUCKET – With a simple philosophy guiding him, Shea High senior Jaylen Smith went out and made an emphatic statement on Thursday night.
In just one half of work, Smith found the end zone four times and rushed for 161 yards on six carries.
He and the rest of Shea’s first string offense and defense got to watch the second half from the sidelines in a 42-7 non-league rout of Lincoln at Max Read Field. The game was tied at 7-7 after the first quarter but the rest of the contest belonged to the Raiders – and Smith in particular.
“It’s my last first game as a high school student,” said Smith. “I wanted to go out with a bang.”
Smith scored on touchdown runs that covered 75, 59, and 18 yards.
He also registered a big-time play on the defense, one that helped set the tone for what proved to be a productive night for Shea and a long one for Lincoln.
The game’s first drive ended with Smith coming away with a fumble recovery where he ripped the ball out of the hands of the Lincoln ball carrier. From strength to speed, Smith showcased his many talents on his way to returning the fumble 80 yards for the game’s first score.
“I saw the way the (Lincoln running back) was holding the ball. Once I knew I had the chance to tackle him, I knew I would be in good shape,” said Smith.
The defensive score brought about a premature end to what was a promising drive for the Lions. Senior quarterback Randall Hien looked impressive when he rolled out and threw on the run, covering 21 yards on one play and 19 yards on another. Lincoln started the drive at its own 24-yard line and advanced all the way to the Shea 20 before trouble struck in the form of the player wearing No. 5 for the Raiders.
Lincoln quickly moved on from the turnover with Hien connecting with junior Nick Toro for a 43-yard pass on the first play of the team’s second offensive series. After two consecutive rushing plays, Hien looked over the middle and hit junior John Jaramillo in the end zone for a 16-yard score. Just like that, the game was tied at 7-7 with 5:24 left in the first quarter.
Both teams went through a lull before the Raiders finally broke through in emphatic fashion. The first play of the second quarter featured some tough running by junior Henrique Duarte as he covered 14 yards for a touchdown that put Shea back in front, 14-7.
Lincoln responded with another promising drive that featured two first downs and the ball advancing to the Shea 25. After four straight incomplete passes by Hien, the Lions turned the ball over on downs.
On the first play, Smith took the pitch, broke out, and found plenty of daylight as he ran untouched down the far sideline for a 75-yard touchdown. The highlights just kept on coming as Shea seized control en route to enjoying a 35-7 lead at the half. From there, both teams emptied the bench with the Raiders scoring the game’s final touchdown early in the fourth quarter.
“He’s a special kid and a special running back,” said Shea coach Dino Campopiano, who’s coached more than his fair share of talented running backs throughout his tenure with the Raiders.
After allowing seven first downs in the game’s opening 16 minutes, the Shea defense flipped the script and clamped down. The final eight minutes of the second quarter saw the Raiders register two 3-and-outs and force the Lions into attempting a 34-yard field goal that fell short at the halftime horn sounded.
“Their quarterback is very good and very tricky,” said Campopiano about Lincoln’s Hien. “I thought our defense really settled down.”
Said Lincoln coach Sean Cavanaugh, “We’ve got a lot of work to do, but we’re going to take a lot of positives out of this one, for sure.”
Thursday also featured the varsity football debut for Shea senior Erickson Bans, who started at quarterback and made plays with both his feet and arm. He completed the only two passes he attempted and ran with the ball on five occasions.
“He’s getting better and better,” said Campopiano. “He made some nice adjustments and didn’t force things.”
Both teams now turn their attention to league play. Next Friday, Lincoln will welcome defending Division II Super Bowl champion Woonsocket while Shea hosts Cranston East.
Follow Brendan McGair on Twitter @BWMcGair03
Lincoln 7 – 0 – 0 – 0 --- 7
Shea 7 – 28 – 0 – 7 --- 42
S – Jaylen Smith 80-yard fumble return (Sergio Gonzales kick)
L – John Jaramillo 16-pass from Randall Hien (Erick Solorzano kick)
S – Henrique Duarte 14-yard run (Gonzales kick)
S – Smith 75-yard run (Gonzales kick)
S – Smith 59-yard run (Gonzales kick)
S – Smith 18-yard run (Gonzales kick)
S – Khalid Merhi 7-yard run (Gonzalez kick)