BRISTOL — Three plays into Friday night’s Division II-B football game between Westerly High and Mt. Hope, it was clear how this one was going to play out.
The winless Huskies fumbled the ball away on their second play. Westerly’s Anthony Durante then went 27 yards on a counter play for a touchdown on the Bulldogs’ first play from scrimmage.
Less than a minute into the contest and the Bulldogs were already up a touchdown. They would score on their first four possessions during the quick start and overwhelm the Huskies, 35-0.
“I thought we started the football game the way we wanted to start the football game,” Westerly coach Duane Maranda said. “We were running to the football defensively, firing off the line of scrimmage and playing clean football.
“Those are the three things we wanted to do. When you do that, you have good results.”
Westerly (4-1, 3-1 Division II) was coming off a 31-26 loss to Middletown, where it fell behind 31-0 and did not score until the fourth quarter.
“All week we preached about playing to our standard,” Westerly senior linebacker Derek Mason said. “I thought last week, especially, we didn't play to our potential.
“We didn’t kick into it in until the fourth quarter. So all week we preached playing our type of football — disciplined — and obviously tonight it paid off. We got a shutout. We had four full quarters of effort. I’m proud of everybody.”
Rocco Cillino had three touchdown runs in the first half of 1, 3 and 10 yards. His final one came with 5:04 remaining in the half and gave the Bulldogs a 28-0 lead. Chad Mayne kicked all four extra points.
Coach Maranda said playing well early was important.
“Some of our practices have not started off well. So we challenged them this week [in practice],” Maranda said. “And we had some really good days of practice despite the weather. I thought freshman Zach Morin played well up front starting just his second game at center. His snaps are really consistent. I was happy with the way Chad Mayne kicked the football.”
Westerly finished with 236 yards and 16 first downs in the first half. Mt. Hope (0-5, 0-3) managed just 66 yards and four first downs.
Xavier Ledbetter pushed the lead to 35-0 when he returned the second-half kickoff 79 yards for a touchdown. Ledbetter and Tyler Rodriguez also had interceptions for Westerly.
Westerly defensive lineman Trent Lamb had another big night with four tackles for losses totaling 22 yards. Linebacker Alex Sisco had two sacks in the second half.
Westerly faces a big-league contest next week, taking on Mount Pleasant at Classical on Saturday at 1 p.m. Mount Pleasant (1-1 Division II) hosts Coventry on Saturday as the league starts to sort itself out. The top four teams qualify for the postseason and the top two host playoff games.
“Mount Pleasant has two of the best kids in the league,” Maranda said. “It’s a big game next week.”