The Cranston West football team pulled off a big upset last week when it traveled to La Salle Academy and cruised past the Rams, 34-13.
With the win, the Falcons enter this week’s regular season finale still in contention for a spot in the state championship. With a win over East Providence and a Portsmouth loss, West would clinch its spot in the state’s biggest game.
“We discussed with the kids during the pregame that if they believed that they could win then they’d be fine. All I asked of them was to leave everything on the field. If we leave everything out there effort-wise then we’d leave on top,” said head coach Tom Milewski.
After a scoreless first quarter in which each defense was dominant, the Falcons would finally break things open when quarterback Cam Alves scored less than five minutes into the second quarter. The touchdown rush was set up by another Alves rush moments earlier, one that went for over 60 yards.
Alves would connect with Kris Degaitas with 2:52 left in the half to extend the Falcons lead to 13-0. The West defense would come up with another stop which led to Alves and Degaitas connecting again just before the break to make it 19-0.
The Rams would not go quietly and would get on the board on a touchdown run from quarterback Nate Lussier to make it 19-7 in the third quarter.
West running back Brennan Stetson went on to rush for a score early in the fourth to give the Falcons on the 27-7 advantage, but La Salle’s Steve Doss would take the ensuing kickoff the distance to make it 27-13 with 10 minutes left in regulation.
“We went up three scores and then they ran the kickoff back, it was one of those games where you never really felt like it was over because (La Salle) has that big play ability,” said Milewski. “From start to finish we executed our gameplan, we were physical.”
However, Stetson found the end zone once again, and Nate Cena hauled in a late interception to secure the win for the Falcons.
After being a run-first team throughout 2018 and the early going of 2019, the Falcons have opened up their offensive playbook and have had breakout performances recently from receivers such as Degaitas, Matt Carvalho and Andrew Dionizio.
“Cam is starting to find his rhythm in both the running and passing game, and we’ve also been trying to use our weapons a little more in Matt Carvalho, Andrew Dionizio and Kris Degaitas in the pass game. That has opened up the running game for Myles Chung and Brennan Stetson,” said Milewski. “We felt that we needed to do that, we knew that as the season progressed that teams would do what they could to stop Cam so we decided to use them.”
The West defense has also been stellar over the past month and once again played smashmouth football as it frustrated the high-flying Rams throughout most on the contest.
“It was a very big statement for our defense. They played hard and that’s what we preached … playing hard, playing physical, playing fast. It showed against Barrington and then against (La Salle). We rallied together and took the fight to them instead of letting them take it to us. It was impressive to watch,” said Milewski.
The Falcons improved to 5-1 in league play and 5-2 overall this season. They are set to host the Townies at the stadium on Friday night as they also celebrate their senior night.
“We’re onto East Providence,” said Milewski. “It’s a big night for us, it’s homecoming, East Providence beat us last year, so that’s our incentive this year. Not to let them beat us and let the seniors finish the year on a high note.”