WRENTHAM — Traditionally priding itself on defensive prowess, the King Philip Regional High football team could not have scripted a better start in its season opener at Macktaz Field Saturday.
Three plays into the non-league game with Boston College High, Warrior senior Nick Viscusi plucked off one of 33 passes by Eagle senior southpaw quarterback Brennan Malone.
Viscusi intercepted Malone at the BC High 31-yard and returned it to the Eagles’ 1-yard line. Two plays later, junior tailback Ryan Gately found his way into the end zone for the first of three visits as King Philip stormed to a 35-22 victory.
The Warriors were never tied, nor lost the lead while Malone (15-for-23 for 198 yards during the second half) tested the depth and the mettle of the KP defense.
Gately rambled for 119 yards on 19 carries, having TD runs of three and 24 yards in the first quarter and an 8-yard TD run in the second quarter to cap a 68-yard, 12-play series.
The Warriors’ offense stayed on the attack in the second half as senior Jonathan Joseph bolted 31 yards for a TD on KP’s second series and senior Crawford Cantave rambled 43 yards around the left flank three plays into KP’s third offensive set.
KP twice converted interceptions into touchdowns with Viscusi’s theft and another by Charles Grant with just over two minutes left in the third quarter.
“We were so sky high, we had the adrenaline going,” King Philip coach Brian Lee said.
The Warriors held a 22-8 halftime lead, the defense limiting BC High to gains of two yards or less on nine of its 11 rushing plays and other than an 84-yard scoring strike in the final minute of the first quarter, Malone was limited to 11 passing yards.
“Then we got gassed out there,” Lee said to having less than a full complement of players.
Senior 225-pound two-way end Andrew Danson and 6-foot-2 senior two-way back Dan Clancy were both out with injuries among others. In addition to eight touchdowns, 14 penalties, exhaustive time outs, there were numerous second half leg cramp episodes.
KP limited BC High to one touchdown on five first-half series, but in the second half, BC High went 71 yards on 14 plays for its second TD, then 60 yards on 12 plays for a third score.
“Every time you turned around, everybody was dying,” Lee said of the Warriors being physically exhausted.
KP scored on two of its first three series of the game. Gately (83 first half rushing yards on 11 carries) was escorted into the end zone by left guard Sean King on his first TD and by Joseph on his second TD.
Gately scored his third TD with some second effort, guided by center Dan Nineve. During that drive, KP converted a fourth down and 2-yard situation when Grant combined with Will Astorino for a 13-yard gain to the BC High 13-yard line.
Joseph’s TD run in the final minute of the third quarter behind a block from left tackle Hunter Hastings presented KP with a 29-8 advantage. A Boston College facemask penalty advanced the ball to the Eagles’ 43-yard line to create another chance for the Warriors to score, Cantave doing just that two plays later.
“The kids kept coming back and finding a way (to win),” Lee added. “They (BC High) had some big dudes in there, but we got it done.” The Warriors next visit Needham Friday for a non-league game.
Norton 46, Sharon 0
NORTON — Junior Colby Cerrone scored three touchdowns, while the Lancers turned a trio of specialty teams plays into points in a non-league rout at Adams Field.
“We came out and played hard, we did some good things with the football,” Norton coach Jim Artz said of the Lancers staking a 29-0 halftime lead and allowing the Eagles across just midfield just once.
Cerrone scored on runs of 33 and five yards during the first quarter, while adding a third TD during the second quarter.
The Tripolone brothers, Anthony and Nathan, factored prominently. Anthony returned a second quarter Sharon punt 42 yards for Norton’s third TD, while Nathan plucked off an Eagle pass in the third quarter and returned that 40 yards for six more Lancer points.
Ryan Strojny added a third specialty teams touchdown by bolting 60 yards with a punt return for six points in the third quarter, while Tom Mulvaney converted five point-after attempts and boomed a 33-yard field goal in the third quarter.
Sharon had a second half TD nullified by a penalty. However, the Lancers intercepted four passes and recovered an Eagle fumble in dominating.“We just have to throw the ball a little bit better and stay healthy,” Artz said.
Norton visits Canton Friday.