TIVERTON—The worst thing you can give a lesser opponent is hope.
The goal for the Narragansett football team entering Saturday night’s game at a young, rebuilding Tiverton squad was to make sure it took control early on and the Mariners did just that thanks to some early fireworks from juniors Austin Butler and Deontae Stanley.
Butler returned the opening kickoff down to the Tiverton 20-yard line and Stanley punched the ball into the end zone one play later as the Mariners cruised to a 41-8 victory in their season opener.
“We knew we had to play better than we did last week. Obviously you can’t have 10 penalties,” Narragansett coach Dick Fossa said. “We really stressed that this is a young team and we had to come in here and take care of business right away. We jumped on them early.
“They’re a young team and they have a few injuries so they were definitely outmanned. They stuck in there and they didn’t quit, which is a tribute to coach Murray and his staff.”
From the opening kickoff the Mariners showed they were the superior team and didn’t stop there, as it only took ’Gansett 10 offensive plays to take a 27-0 lead.
“What was nice was what we only had to run a few plays,” Fossa said. “We have more time to work on some of the other things we’re going to need when we play Moses Brown.”
“…That’s about as basic as we can get. If you can do that then that’s great. If we can run two or three plays and have our line control their line the way it did tonight it’s poor coaching if you run more plays than that.”
On Narragansett’s second possession Stanley rushed for 24 yards on first down from the Tiverton 40-yard line and senior Reed Nelson took care of the rest, scoring on a 16-yard rush on the very next play.
Tiverton went three-and-out on its next possession and after a poor punt, the Mariners’ took over at the Tigers’ 21-yard line.
Nelson rushed for four yards on first down, Stanley picked up 16 on second down and Nelson capped off the drive by punching it in from a yard out one play later.
Tiverton then came up short on a on a fourth down conversion with 48 seconds left in the first quarter on its ensuing drive, and the Mariners took over from their own 32-yard line.
Stanley rushed for 25 yards – around gains of four and two yards from Nelson – before Nelson capped off the drive with a 46-yard touchdown scamper.
From there it was a combination of the Mariners’ second team and junior varsity as Narragansett led 34-0 heading into the half.
The Mariners final two touchdowns came on a 23-yard touchdown run from Butler late in the second quarter and a Reece DeWardener 34-yard run early in the third quarter.
As easy as Narragansett had it Saturday, it should expect a much more difficult challenge this week when it travels to Providence to take on Moses Brown at 1 p.m.
While the Mariners more or less dominated the Tigers Saturday, one way Tiverton did manage to move the ball was through the air.
Narragansett’s passing defense will have to be sharp if it hopes to improve to 2-0 as the Quakers boast one of the best receiving groups in Division III – headlined by Sebastian Ferrell – and one of the division’s top passers in Eric Cosmopulos.
“There were some soft spots in the zone that we’re definitely going to have to toughen up next week when we play Moses Brown because they throw the ball well and they have probably the top receiving corps in the division,” Fossa said.
“That’s going to be a playoff atmosphere for us. There are five or six teams that are very good in the league and they’ll be competing for four playoff spots. That’s one of those games where you have to go in there with playoff intensity. It’s a big early season test for us.”