Football: Stonington unable to stop Montville ground game

Football: Stonington unable to stop Montville ground game

The Westerly Sun
reporter photo

MONTVILLE — Things looked good for the Stonington High football team at the start Friday night against Montville, the season opener for both teams.

On the first possession of the ECC out-of-division game, the Bears got two long runs from Nate Miller, and, ultimately, scored on Josh Curtin’s 23-yard sweep around the right side.

But that was it for Stonington.

The Indians used a ground-and-pound game, including a 95-yard scoring drive in the second quarter, to defeat the Bears, 28-7.

Montville coach Tanner Grove said his team resorted to the run when Stonington chose to shut down the Indians’ top playmaker, receiver Marcus Velez, with double- and triple-teams.

“Historically for us, [the running game has] always been a great strength,” he said. “The kids were certainly comfortable tonight doing that.”

The Indians, staying fresh with a five-back rotation, rushed for 265 yards. Frank Cook was the team leader with 97 on 16 carries. Emmanual Mayfield had 57 yards on 11 rushes.

Paving the way were linemen Tyrone Mack, 6-4, 285 pounds, and Kolt MacCracken, 6-2, 265.

“I think in the second half, it got difficult for them to deal with guys like [Mack and MacCracken],” Grove said.

“… We were able to wear on them a little bit. Mack and MacCracken are great run blockers. They’re big, strong guys.”

Montville, on its second possession of the game, used good field position to close to 7-6, taking over at the Bears 45 and scoring in just five plays. Quarterback Ryan Douchette ran it in from 4 yards out. The point-after kick failed.

Then the Indians started to take control.

In the second quarter, after a 51-yard punt by the Bears’ Riley Burnside, the Indians went 95 yards on 12 plays that took almost six minutes. The drive was capped by Cook’s 7-yard scoring run, and Douchette’s point-after pass to Velez gave Montville a 14-7 lead.

The game’s theme had been established: Montville kept it on the ground, and controlled the clock.

The Indians took nearly another six minutes of the third quarter to make it 21-7, Dominic Emmons scoring on a 13-yard run. They went 60 yards in 10 plays, all runs, softening up the Bears defense with rushes up the middle before bouncing it outside for big gains.

Bears coach A.J. Massengale said the Indians didn’t wear his defense out. It was youth and inexperience that hurt Stonington.

“We were moving a lot of guys in,” Massengale said, adding that he used the most players he ever has in any game he’s coached. “We were just having a hard time getting them off the field.

“A lot of our kids were playing their first varsity game. The experience gained is going to help them. Everybody played with a great effort. We just have stuff to work on.”

Miller had runs of 10 and 20 yards on the Bears’ first possession and finished with 36 yards on seven carries. Burnside gained 40 yards, including a 36-yard run. He was also a force defensively for Stonington, making several tackles and intercepting a pass.

Stonington was penalized nine times for 89 yards.

Stonington linebacker Evan Champagne sat out much of the second half with an ankle injury, but Massengale said he only kept him out of the game for precautionary reasons.


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