Football: Bulldogs will have their ‘hands full’ in Division II quarterfinal vs. Shea

Football: Bulldogs will have their ‘hands full’ in Division II quarterfinal vs. Shea

WESTERLY — Westerly High takes to the road for the second straight season in the Division II football playoffs, this time facing Shea in Pawtucket.

The game kicks off at 6 p.m. Friday at Max Read Field.

Shea is the defending Division II Super Bowl champion and comes into the game with a 6-3 overall record. The Raiders finished the regular season 5-2 in Division II-B and overwhelmed Middletown last week, 42-7, in a game that decided second place and gave the winner a home playoff game.

Shea lost to Moses Brown, 32-26, in overtime in September and to Division II-B league champion North Kingstown, 28-19, in October. Their other loss was a nonleague setback against Burrillville.

“They have a tremendous amount of team speed,” Westerly coach Duane Maranda said. “Their quarterback (Eric Palmer) has a cannon for an arm and he can run the ball. They have great athletes around him. We will have our hands full containing those guys.”

Maranda said the Raiders throw 20-25 passes a game, and rely on quick screens or long passes down the field. Devin Fonesca is their top receiver and Jaylen Smith is their top running threat.

Westerly will have to be in the correct pass coverage across the field, Maranda said.

“Against good football teams like Shea, if one guy is in the wrong place they can hurt you,” Maranda said.

Westerly starting defensive linemen Junie Rios and Antonio Laboy and linebacker Noah Silva will be back for Friday’s game. They missed last week with injuries.

Westerly (4-5, 4-3) is coming off a 46-42 road loss to Division II-A league champion Moses Brown. The teams combined for more than 900 yards, and the game was not decided until the final possession.

Westerly junior Tristan Turano continued his outstanding season with 267 rushing yards and four touchdowns. Turano has rushed for 1,753 yards and 21 touchdowns, the most productive season by a Westerly back in decades. He is averaging 8.2 yards per carry.

Defensively, Shea is quick to the ball.

“They run the alleys well and when they bring pressure they bring it,” Maranda said. “We have to knock people into one another and create seams. We have to see the blitz, pick it up and that will give us an advantage.”

The winner faces the winner of Moses Brown and Mount Hope. Moses Brown hosts that game on Saturday at noon. In other quarterfinal games, North Kingstown hosts West Warwick and East Greenwich hosts Middletown. Those games are Friday at 7 p.m.

The semifinals games are scheduled for Nov. 17.

Westerly lost to Mount Hope, 21-7, in the D-II quarterfinals last season. The last playoff win was 2011, 36-22, against St. Raphael Academy.



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