CRANSTON — It’s hard to glean much from the Saturday’s Injury Fund football round robin at Cranston Stadium.
After all, it’s the first game of the season, only last two quarters and teams don’t spend the week preparing for the contests because they don’t count in the standings.
Yet two things became clear following Coventry’s contest with potential state champion Cranston East and West Warwick’s tussle with Cranston West:
The Oakers are going to be entertaining and the Wizards have the potential to win the program’s first Super Bowl since 2002.
The Oakers, who scrapped last year’s sing-wing offense and returned to a more pass-friendly attack, gashed the Thunderbolts frequently with running backs Michael Nolan, Jose Santos and Silvio Antonelli.
Of course, Coventry couldn’t stop Cranston East quarterback Rob Corvese and All-State wide receiver Marven Beauvais in a 43-33 defeat.
“We’re optimistic because everyone’s ordained Cranston East the best team in the state and we scored 33 on them,” Coventry coach Gerry Zannella said. “I didn’t see too many of the twos out there. We still have a lot of work to do, but I like the guys we have out there. They’re working hard each and every day.”
Another team which took a step forward was Coventry, which looked a lot better against East this than it did last year. In 2012 Zannella realized he didn’t have a quarterback after East picked off passes from three Coventry signal callers and was forced to change offenses on the fly to try and win games.
Saturday, junior quarterback Joe Foley didn’t throw a pick and he made a number of nice throws. The only completed pass was a short throw to wide receiver Darnell Fenwick one play after the junior dropped an easy pass along the sideline.
East needed just two plays to open the scoring, but Coventry responded with a touchdown on its next drive when Nolan, a senior, found a hole and scored a 78-yard touchdown. Senior Eric Rasieleski kicked the extra point.
“Mike’s a smart player,” Santos said. “He knows when to hit the hole and he knows when to bounce it outside. He’s an excellent player. I love playing with Mike.”
East scored another touchdown on its next drive before Fenwick returned the ensuing kickoff 90 yards for a touchdown. Rasieleski missed the extra point and the Oakers trailed by one.
Nolan scored his second touchdown of the day on the final play of the first quarter. The senior found a hole in the middle of the defense for a 33-yard score.
The teams traded touchdowns in the second quarter. Santos scored a 19-yard rushing touchdown and Nolan converted the two-point try to cut the gap to just one point.
East rebuilt its two-score lead before Santos delivered a 29-yard touchdown. Beauvais scored a 25-yard touchdown after a perfect pass from Corvese to finish the day.
“We still have a lot of work to do offensively to sure up the things we are doing,” Zannella said. “I like the weapons we have and we were able to move the ball around pretty well. East has a lot of big-time weapons and they’re a lot like the Wizards. The ball moves around quite a bit. We have to get better defensively with our philosophy, our coaching and our schemes.”