The (2B) Cranston West Falcons blanked the (5A) East Providence Townies 34-0 on Friday night during the quarterfinal round of the Division I High School Football Playoffs.
West scored five touchdowns on the ground, three of which came from senior quarterback Cam Alves, and the other two from junior running back Brennan Stetson.
It was the second week in a row that West would beat the Townies. The Falcons beat East Providence by a final score of 41-28 a week prior, therefore this was an improvement on the task at hand.
“The kids showed up and worked hard in practice on a few things that they did and we came out and executed from start to finish,” West head coach Tom Milewski said. “We didn’t do that last week. We had a couple of letdowns, but tonight the kids came out and played hard.”
“It was great,” Alves said. “It’s really hard to play a team back-to-back especially when there’s playoff implications involved. So, I think we had a really focused week of practice and we weren’t overlooking them and it showed tonight.”
On defense helping preserve the shutout was Robert Giarrusso Jr., a senior defensive lineman, who stuffed East Providence’s big senior running back Juan Diaz three times while also recording a sack on Townies senior quarterback Justin Pena.
Stetson, the running back, returned the game’s opening kickoff to the West 35, and then on first down, Alves was greeted at the line of scrimmage by senior defensive lineman Carew Gomes, who smashed the quarterback for a loss of ten.
Nevertheless, during the very next play, a second-and-20, Alves heaved a bomb downfield to senior wideout Matt Carvalho for a 37-yard gain which gave the Falcons a first down at the East Providence 40.
Three plays later, Alves rushed a keeper 32-yards, down the left sideline and into pay dirt and that put West on top 6-0. The Falcons failed the extra point attempt after that though, when Alves, who was now at holder, stood up to receive the snap, which is an illegal move.
West forced East Providence into a three-and-out during the closing minutes of the first quarter, and then on fourth down, the Townies’ center snapped the ball high over the head of Diaz, who was at punter, and Diaz was forced to chase it down before pouncing on it at the East Providence 5.
Four plays later, Stetson rushed the ball in from one yard out and upped the Falcons advantage to 12-0. After that, Alves ran a keeper into the house during the 2-point conversion and that put West on top 14-0 with 41.7 seconds remaining in the first half.
The Falcons defense continued to dominate in the second half and forced East Providence into a three-and-out during its first possession.
When West got the ball back, it took only two plays before Alves rushed in a sneak from 34 yards out and extended the West margin to 21-0.
With 4:32 remaining in the third quarter, Alves rushed in another score, this time from ten yards deep, and it increased the West lead to 27-0.
Lastly, the Falcons ballooned their cushion to 34-0 with 10:59 left to play after Stetson ran untouched, up the middle, 29 yards and into the end zone.
West will meet (4B) Central next in the semifinal round. The Falcons upended the Knights 35-19 during their lone regular season meeting on September 20.
“We played Central earlier in the year,” Alves said. “I’m excited for the rematch. They’re a great group of kids and talented athletes, so it’s going to be a great game next Friday night and I can’t wait. I’m looking forward to it.”
The Knights finished the regular season with an overall record of 5-4 and knocked off (3A) Shea during their quarterfinal matchup last weekend.
“Central’s a good team,” Milewski said. “They’ve got a lot of athletes. It’s going to be a good test. It’s going to be a good battle next Friday.”
“But you know what, we’re still in the hunt, we’re still on the journey,” Milewski added. “For the seniors, I’m happy for them. We still have another shot to get the title. And we’re going to keep moving. We’re going to get back to work and come out and get ready for Central next Friday night.”