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SOUTH KINGSTOWNâ€”For the South Kingstown football team Saturdayâ€™s Injury Fund contest with neighboring Narragansett was an opportunity to get back to the basics.
â€śWeâ€™ve been working hard all summer on the basics and we came out here and didnâ€™t do anything too flashy, just ran our basic stuff and we need to harp on the things that can hurt you,â€ť SK coach Eric Anderson said.
â€śBlown coverage, missing blocks, missing assignments, not being where youâ€™re supposed to be, not being lined up correctly. Those are the things weâ€™ll harp on Monday in film session.â€ť
The Division I Rebels got away from the basics early on in Saturdayâ€™s game but picked up their play as the contest went along en route to the 23-6 victory over the Division III Mariners.
â€śWe started slow with a few mental mistakes,â€ť Anderson said. â€śBlown coverage, guy got hit with the ball on a punt that they recovered, blew a coverage after that and there you go. Thatâ€™s all it takes.â€ť
After forcing a punt on the Marinersâ€™ first possession SK gave Narragansett a second chance as the ensuing punt clipped a Rebel player and was recovered by â€™Gansett.
The Mariners didnâ€™t waste the second chance as quarterback Kullen McGill found Austin Butler on a 15-yard touchdown pass to give Narragansett a 6-0 lead with 6:20 remaining in the opening quarter of the 24-minute contest.
South responded quickly though as Andrew Benford broke free for a 75-yard touchdown run on 2nd-and-20 to put SK ahead 7-6 less than 90 seconds later.
â€śIt was good to see the big play ability,â€ť Anderson said. â€śThey deserve it. Theyâ€™ve worked hard this summer.â€ť
The Mariners seemed poised to bounce right back as McGill found Justin Cronin for a 35-yard completion to give â€™Gansett a 1st-and-10 at the SK 34-yard line but in an instant the complexion of the game changed.
On the ensuing play South linebacker Ben Agostini picked off McGill over the middle and returned the ball 78 yards for the touchdown.
â€śKullen played a great game he just made one mental mistake where he threw the ball and no one was open,â€ť Narragansett coach Dick Fossa said. â€śInstead of throwing it away or taking the sack he just threw it where he throughout someone would be and that was obviously a big point in the game.â€ť
â€śWe were driving, had a chance for a field goal â€“ which would have given us the lead â€“ and the kid who caught the ball made a nice run back and from that point on they had all the momentum.â€ť
From there it was all Rebels as South added a third touchdown when quarterback Ryan Worthington found running back Rafael Pires for a six-yard completion early in the second quarter and later tacked on a safety to round out the scoring.
The loss, however, meant little according to Fossa as the Mariners have their focus set solely on what happens in league play.
â€śThe reality is this game means absolutely nothing to us,â€ť Fossa said. â€śEven next weekâ€™s game against Chariho means nothing to us.
â€śWeâ€™re getting ready for Tiverton and the Division III schedule and hopefully when we start facing teams who are similar in size to us weâ€™ll be able to get a bit more of a push on the line, run the ball a little bit better.â€ť
Narragansett also played Saturdayâ€™s game without its top two running backs â€“ Reed Nelson and Deontae Stanley â€“ but Fossa doesnâ€™t expect them to be out for the opener against Tiverton.
â€śIf this was a big game they would have been able to play,â€ť Fossa said. â€śWe donâ€™t want it to be a nagging injury that lasts all year where he canâ€™t practice a couple of days because he has to rest.â€ť
The Mariners will have one more non-league game Friday at 7 p.m. at Chariho before opening the regular season on the road at Tiverton Saturday, Sept. 21 at 7 p.m. at Tiverton.
South Kingstown, meanwhile, will travel to take on Division II contender West Warwick Saturday at 12 p.m. before opening the regular season at home at 7 p.m. against defending Div. I champion Hendricken.