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SOUTH KINGSTOWN â€“ League play in Division I began Friday night for the South Kingstown football team â€“ 0-8 in 2012 â€“ and the Rebels jumped right into the thick of the division, kicking off 2013 at home against three-time defending D-I champion Bishop Hendricken.
Though the Rebels ended a brutal 12-game losing streak by beating Division II contender West Warwick 35-27 in a non-league matchup last weekend, Hendricken took Friday nightâ€™s contest 36-14, continuing SKâ€™s losing streak within the division.
â€śIâ€™m upset because I donâ€™t think the score is indicative of the kind of game we played,â€ť said SK coach Eric Anderson. â€śI thought we battled toe to toe, we just ended up making more mistakes than they made, and they capitalized on things.â€ť
The game wasnâ€™t nearly as lopsided as the score would lend one to believe.
The first half was gridlocked with the two defenses seemingly in control. The only score came with 5:55 left in the first quarter when last seasonâ€™s Super Bowl MVP, senior Remington Blue, caught a fourth down pass from Patrick Gill in the flat and turned it into a 33-yard touchdown dash.
SK utilized offensive possessions with steady ball control efforts and their defense bottled up Hedrickenâ€™s stable of fast and versatile running backs throughout the first half. The Hawks offense had only four possessions before the break, two of those were three and outâ€™s.
The scoreboard quickly lit up after halftime with the teams combining for 29 points in the third quarter alone. Running backs Blue and junior Power Kanga, as well as quarterback Patrick Gill, led the Hawks second half offensive show.
Power Kanga returned the opening kickoff 40 yards, setting up the Hawk offense with solid field position. Blue again collected the touchdown with a 35-yard run after an option pitch to the right side, making the score 14-0 after the completed extra point. Senior kicker Robert Campbell went four-for-four in converting extra points for Hendricken.
SK senior Nolan Reifsteck returned the ensuing kickoff 81 yards up Hendrickenâ€™s sideline for SKâ€™s first touchdown and followed up by kicking in his own extra point to make it 14-7. Reifsteck was two-for-two in conversions on the day.
Hendricken scored again at 5:23 when senior Michael Scarcella caught a 22-yard touchdown reception from Gill. Kanga followed by pounding in the two point conversion, making the score 22-7.
The Rebels kept it interesting, matriculating 61 yards down the field, picking up first downs at a steady clip and eating around five minutes of clock before Rafael Pires ran it in from six yards out. It seemed anyoneâ€™s game at 22-14 with the Rebels storming back.
The Hawks made sure to quell any sort of an SK comeback from there though as Blue added another 59-yard touchdown run, while Gill tacked on a 36-yard touchdown scamper to give Hendricken a comfortable lead at 36-14 late in the fourth quarter.
â€śIf we donâ€™t let up that late touchdown, Iâ€™d say it was pretty close during the second half,â€ť said Anderson. â€śWe threw up 14 and battled back.â€ť
SK has a bye week next weekend but it will be playing Portsmouth High School at Curtis Corner Middle School the following weekend. The Patriots stomped LaSalle 40-13 in their DI opener.
â€śWe are going to work hard for two weeks, hone our craft, work out, get our conditioning up,â€ť said Anderson. â€śI think we got worn out a little bit tonight.â€ť