WOOD RIVER JCT.—For the first time this preseason the Narragansett football team had its full stable of talented running backs available.
Senior Reed Nelson and junior Deontae Stanley each sat out against South Kingstown in Injury Fund the previous week but Friday night against Chariho each played fairly well.
That was about where the positives ended for the Mariners though as too many penalties – most of which personal fouls – cost them in a 20-14 Charger victory.
“It was embarrassing because we played very undisciplined,” Narragansett coach Dick Fossa said of his team, which committed 10 penalties for 125 yards Friday.
“We must of has five or six personal fouls, two or three unsportsmanlike conduct penalties. A few turnovers, kids didn’t know where to go on certain plays [and] defensive breakdowns.”
Neither team scored on their opening possessions Friday but on its second go through Narragansett broke the tie, putting together a nine-play, 54 yard drive that was capped off by a five-yard run from Stanley.
The point after was no good but the Mariners led 6-0 nonetheless, an advantage that would remain into the early portion of the second quarter.
The Mariners found themselves with an ideal opportunity to break the game open with 9:25 remaining in the second after the Chargers fumbled the snap on a punt, giving ’Gansett the ball on the Charger 15-yard line.
Narragansett gained just one yard in three plays but was still well within field goal range to extend its lead to nine points.
Rather than building its lead though, the Mariners would watch it disappear in an instant courtesy of a tremendous athletic play from senior Dan Urena.
“We have two of the best kickers in Division III, kids who can kick 45-yard field goals and we can’t even get the kick off,” Fossa said. “That was a turning point in the game. We could have went ahead 9-0, instead it was 7-6.”
Urena – and a host of his Chariho teammates – broke through the Mariners’ line to block the field goal try, which Urena alertly scooped up and returns 75 yards for a touchdown.
“We don’t have a lot of seniors but there was the senior stepping up to make the play that we needed,” Kelly said. “We work on kick blocks all over the place but making the block, wasn’t as [impressive] as having the presence of mind and athletic ability to run like that and make that play.
“He made other plays all night long and I think it sparked him and everybody else. He was a man tonight and we need that from him.”
Chariho led 7-6 at the break and out of halftime put together the kind of drive Kelly hopes to see more often from his team.
The Chargers marched down the field, going 80 yards in six minutes on 13 plays to take a 13-6 lead after the kick failed on a three-yard run from quarterback Jacob Rousseau.
“We corrected some things up front, kind of changed how we blocked it a little bit, which we needed and that was our drive,” Kelly said. “That was what we had to have and I think what that did too was it gave the O-line as a group and everybody else some confidence to say, ‘we can move the football.’”
On the drive junior Sal DeSantis – who had been limited by a shoulder injury in the preseason – carried the ball five times for 24 yards, while senior John LaMotte had gains on the ground of nine, 12 and 13 yards.
“I missed it a lot,” DeSantis said of his time away due to injury. “It sucks to sit there and watch both Injury Fund and scrimmages. First contact was this week to finally see if my shoulder was alright, see if I can get back into it.
“It was still a little sore but it’s pain I can take and that I can live through.”
The Mariners managed to come up with an answer though, going 80 yards as well for a touchdown as a 30-yard pass from quarterback Kullen McGill, 13-yard run from Nelson and two-yard plunge from Stanley capped off the drive.
Narragansett then went for two and converted it on another Stanley run to take a 14-13 lead.
Chariho would not be denied though, as Rousseau capped off a 65-yard drive by finding wide receiver Tyler Bobbin in the left corner of the end zone from four yards out to put the Chargers ahead 20-14 at the start of the fourth quarter.
The Mariners got three more possessions in the fourth but each proved fruitless, ending with a three-and-out, fumble and interception, respectively.