NORTH KINGSTOWN – The continual success of the Skipper football team has set their expectations mighty high. They may have raised the bar even higher last Friday, defeating Barrington in a first-round playoff game, 50-7.
NK quarterback James Osmanski broke the school record for touchdown passes in a game in the win, throwing for six scores. The record was previously held by Joe Gilmartin, son of the current NK head coach who bears the same name.
“I’m super proud of him,” said the elder Gilmartin of Osmanski. “He gutted it out. He was sore all week. [Justin McCarthy] practiced all week with the 1’s, just in case we had to play him a ton more.”
McCarthy eventually entered the game as a wildcat quarterback in the fourth quarter, running for a 73-yard touchdown. With Osmanski battling a sore back, McCarthy was the emergency option under center.
Injury or not, Osmanski was on fire during the quarterfinal matchup. He connected with Shane Kenyon for four total touchdowns, ranging from 20 to 66 yards. The other two scoring pass plays went to Eddie Cardarelli (74 yards) and Tyler Pezza (nine yards).
“It’s awesome,” Kenyon said of Osmanski’s play. “He’s a great quarterback. Fun to play with him.”
“James threw the ball really well tonight,” Gilmartin said. “He said it was the best he’s felt in two weeks.”
Osmanski took full advantage of the various offensive weapons NK has. With the Eagles playing an aggressive, blitzing defense, Osmanski found his speedy receivers in open space along the flat.
“They played a lot of man-to-man tonight,” Gilmartin said. “You’re going to give up a lot of points playing that high-risk, high-reward defense.”
The Skipper coaching staff has been able to take their large numbers and find a use for seemingly every player on their roster. In many instances, they’ve taken raw talent and allowed it to flourish in an exciting offense.
“Eddie never ran it through the tackles one time all year,” Gilmartin said. “That’s just not him. He stretches the perimeter and forces you to defend it. Those other guys up the middle become that much more effective because he’s able to force people to flatten out and play bland defenses.
“Then you bring [McCarthy] in, he’s pretty fast too. There’s not much of a drop-off. We’re blessed with a lot of good athletes. Our coaches do a really good job of getting them ready. These guys have never played football before. Eddie’s never played a down of football [before this].”
“We’re all happy for each other,” Kenyon said. “When one guy scores, there’s no competitiveness between us to have more touchdowns.”
You wouldn’t be able to tell how inexperienced some of the Skipper players are by watching them play. The absolute domination on Friday sets up a semi-final home game against La Salle on Friday.
“We wanted to focus on this week and not look ahead,” Kenyon said. “Focus on Barrington and make sure we win this one, because if we don’t... no more games.”
“What more could you ask for,” Gilmartin said. “We’ve had a chance to play both Catholic [schools]. I think we’ll cause them some matchup problems. [Running back Jacob] Gibbons can run the ball. He’s going to give us fits. You just can’t see him. You literally can’t see him in the backfield [because of how small he is].”
“[Quarterback Nate] Lussier gets a lot of press, but I think we can do some things to give him some difficulty. He does run it pretty well when he gets it in the open field. Hopefully we can rise to that challenge. We’ll see.”
NK hosts La Salle tomorrow. The winner will play for the D-I Non-State Super Bowl.