STONINGTON — Westerly High running back Adam Mitchell scored on the first play from scrimmage and the Bulldogs turned back Stonington High, 15-0, in the annual Thanksgiving Day game between the two schools in 2011.

Mitchell, the son of former Westerly great Bob Mitchell, scored on a 68-yard sweep play to his left. Mitchell was the Stonington football coach for five years including 1991 when the Bears won the Class SS title.

The loss prevented Stonington from qualifying for the CIAC playoffs. It was only the second time to that point in the rivalry that Stonington had a postseason berth riding on the outcome.

"Great blocking. I just turned the corner, bounced it outside and there was nothing left, but daylight," said Mitchell, who was named the WBLQ Sports Open Mic MVP of the game.  "Anthony Euwing — 'A Train' — made a great block. I just cut right off this back and turned on the jets."

Westerly had won the coin toss, but elected to take the ball instead of deferring. Coach Chris Wriedt said it was a decision by the players.

"We usually defer. I asked the captains and they said we want the ball because we know they have a pretty potent offense and we didn't want to get ourselves in a situation where a first drive, [they] come down the field and score," Wriedt said. "I said 'OK, it's in your hands fellas. If that's what you want to do, that's what we will do,' so we took the ball."

The game was closely contested as Stonington reached Westerly's 29-yard line, the 11 and 4 on three drives in the first half, but could not score.

Stonington nearly scored on the next to last play of the half.

Tight end Peter Hoops had his hands on a 1-yard pass from Eddie Rathbun in the end zone. But Westerly defensive back Spencer Read made a hit and officials ruled, in a disputed call, that Hoops did not make the catch.

"We've been watching that all week, we've been studying it. We knew they like to just pop pass, that's what they call it," Read said. "The end just shoots out, so I saw him coming out and then I stuck him pretty good and thankfully he didn't hold onto the ball. It was huge."

Stonington's Brandon Hall returned the second-half kickoff 46 yards and the Bears later moved to Westerly's 24-yard line. But the drive stalled there and it would prove to be Stonington's best scoring opportunity of the second half.

Westerly's Pat Nix blocked a Stonington punt with 6:57 remaining in the game and the ball rolled out of the end zone to give Westerly a 9-0 lead.

Read later scored on a 3-yard run to give the Bulldogs a 15-0 lead with four minutes left in the contest.

The game was the 100th anniversary of the first game played between the two schools in 1911. The first game was not played on Thanksgiving. That did not happen until 1913.

The loss ended the season for the Bears.

"I think our kids gave a great effort and Westerly's kids obviously played a great game," Stonington coach A.J. Massengale said. "I can't say it was all execution breakdowns. As coaches maybe we have to be better at picking those things up, but we had some breakdowns. We had clear mistakes out there today."

Stonington's Arrow Johnson and Westerly's Alex Santangelo received the Washington Trust Leadership Award.

The WBLQ/Dime Bank MVP of the season awards were presented to Stonington's Luke Brogno and Westerly's Read.

Westerly's Nix, a defensive end, and Stonington linebacker Kyle Woodworth were named the top defensive players of the game by the Stonington Police Association. Westerly's D.J Cappizano, a guard, and Stonington's Johnson, a running back and receiver, were selected as the top offensive players for their teams.

Westerly senior Matt Pucci received the Myllymaki Award, which is given annually to Westerly's best lineman of the season. Myllymaki is a former Westerly player that was killed in the Vietnam War.

Westerly finished the season 8-3 losing to Central in the Division II semifinals after Thanksgiving. Central later lost to Chariho in the Division II Super Bowl.

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