NEWPORT — After losing to St. Raphael by three touchdowns last week, Westerly High's football team wanted to put on a good performance Friday night against Rogers.
And the Bulldogs did just that.
Westerly scored 28 points in the first quarter and overwhelmed the Vikings, 50-12, at Toppa Field.
"I think this was a statement game," junior running back Zack Tuck said. "I think it's going to get our heads back on the right track, and I think we are going to do great the rest of the season."
Tuck sure did his part, rushing for 222 yards on just nine carries (24.6 average). He scored on runs of 96, 27, 9 and 65 yards.
"The O-line really showed up. it was a great performance by them up front," Tuck said. "I wouldn't have been able to do it without them. Overall, I can't take that much credit. It's a team effort. It was an all-around great game for us."
Junior guard Mitch McLeod was part of an offensive line that more than controlled the line of scrimmage.
"We thought we were going to drive them into the ground, and I think that's what we did," McLeod said. "I thought we played great, never stopped, pedal to the metal."
McLeod also played well on the defensive side, causing a pair of fumbles, one that Westerly's Marcus Haik recovered and the other the Vikings retained.
Westerly took control of the game early.
On the second play, quarterback Lance Williams threw a 61-yard scoring pass to Luke Marley down the Rogers sideline. Williams did a good job of leading Marley on the play and he managed to run the ball down with a defender close by. It was his third TD reception of the season.
On Westerly's next offensive play, Tuck broke loose on a counter over the right side for a 96-yard scoring run. He was hardly touched.
Rogers' next possession ended after two plays when defensive back Joe Gervasini came up with an interception off the hands of a Rogers receiver.
Williams then found Ben Gorman on a 22-yard crossing pattern for a touchdown.
Rogers' Donovan Wright returned the ensuing kickoff 88 yards for a TD to make it 21-6 with 4:13 left in the first quarter.
But Westerly answered quickly. Williams ran for 45 yards, and Tuck then scored from 27 yards out. Chad Mayne's fourth extra-point kick made it 28-6 with 3:38 left in the first quarter.
Westerly ran six plays in the period and scored on four of them. At one point, the Bulldogs scored on three straight plays. Westerly compiled 260 yards in the first quarter alone.
"I thought we played well offensively and defensively," Bulldogs coach Stanley Dunbar said. "Our offensive line dominated the line of scrimmage. I told the guys before the game that we needed to make a statement after the St. Ray's game."
In the second quarter, Tuck scored on a 9-yard run, and Williams went in from a yard away. Later in the quarter, the Bulldogs scored on a safety when they tackled the Rogers punter in the end zone after the snap sailed over his head.
Westerly (2-1, 1-1 Division II) led 44-6 at the half. Westerly's final score of the game came on Tuck's 65-yard run, once again a counter over the right side, with 9:24 left in the third quarter.
Westerly defensive end Greg Gorman was a force throughout the night, likely leading the team in tackles.
Rogers, which had beaten Middletown, 15-7, and Lincoln, 14-6, to open the season, fell to 2-1, 1-1 Division II.
"I told my guys we have yet to play a complete football game," Dunbar said. "I think we still have room to grow. We gave up two touchdowns on kickoffs. That's an area we can improve on. I do think we are one of the best teams in Division II.
"We beat Chariho, and I think in my opinion they are a lot better than people think they are. I think they will make a lot of noise in D-III and they played us tough and then we lost to St. Ray's, one of the top teams in the state. Today, I think we kind of showed our potential."
Westerly next travels to Mt. Hope on Friday for a 7 p.m. game.