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EAST GREENWICH â€“ Despite leading them in the standings, before even taking the field last Friday night, East Greenwich High School football coach John George knew his team was going to have their hands full with a potent Moses Brown Quakers attack considered by some the best in the division.
As the Avengers quickly found out when they took the to Carcieri Field, however, it was not the Quakers skill, but their sized that proved Eastâ€™s ultimate downfall as they were pushed around in a 34-0 beating, their first loss of the season.
â€śThey were way more physical than we were and they were skilled, too,â€ť said George after the loss. â€śWe knew they were going to be skilled, I didnâ€™t know they were going to be that physical. I didnâ€™t know we were going to be overmatched upfront. We lost AJ Turchetta, our center and our defensive tackle, so that hurt a little bit, but even aside from that all across the front they beat us.â€ť
It was ugly from the start as Moses Brown defensive linemen Mathew Romano, David Eides, Sam Greenfield and Stephen DeLeo along with linebackers Bryan McAdams and Maxx Bertman terrorized the Avengers offense, combining for six sacks while batting down a pair of pass attempts from quarterback Andrew Miner in the first half alone, never allowing their hosts to find any sort of rhythm while holding possession.
Conversely, the Moses Brown offense was able to settle right in and get into a good groove throughout the first half. After a quick 3-and-out on their first possession, the Quakers engineered touchdown drives on their next four times on the field with quarterback Cosmopulos throwing strikes of 30 and 35 yards and rushing for a five-yard score, while Andrew Howard ran one in from nine-yards out helping Moses Brown amass a 27-0 lead by the half.
â€śAt that point you are just kind of looking for something thatâ€™s going to work,â€ť George said. â€śThatâ€™s kind of how we were last year. We were more physical than most teams we faced and when youâ€™re more physical it opens everything up. When the other teamâ€™s more physical it closes everything off. We were really limited in the things we could do and it showed.â€ť
Search as they did, there were no answers to be found for the Avengers when they came back from the half. Things briefly looked promising as they held Moses Brown to another 3-and-out to start the second half and put together their longest drive of the game their first time out on offense as running back Carney Crawford shouldered the team and carried them deep into enemy territory.
With the Avengers threatening for the first time, Greenfield dropped Miner on back-to-back plays for losses of 11 and four yard to stall the drive and force a punt.
Any momentum East had briefly gained had been lost and, on the ensuing drive, the Quakers put the proverbial nail in the coffin, engineering a 10-play, 3:18 drive that culminated with Cosmopulosâ€™ third touchdown pass of the day, a seven-yarder to Thomas Chase, at 11:05 of the third quarter to round out the scoring at 34-0 following the extra point.
Both teams continued to try to move the ball throughout the fourth quarter, but no points were scored. As tough as the box score may read for the Avengers in a game that may prove pivotal when it comes time to be seeded in the playoffs, such a loss based more on physical size than talent and execution is not one George is about to ruin his teamâ€™s season.
â€śI was more upset last week [against Lincoln] to tell you the truth,â€ť the coach said of the Avengersâ€™ woes compared to the week before in a 15-8 win over the Lions. â€śWhen youâ€™re overmatched up front, you canâ€™t really get mad at a kid. If the guy across from you is better, itâ€™s hard to get frustrated. I thought last week we were better and we were able to do some things, but we didnâ€™t do them.â€ť