WESTERLY — Woonsocket scored three touchdowns in the fourth quarter and pulled away from Westerly High for a 33-15 victory in the Division II football quarterfinals Friday night.
Struggling to move the ball, Westerly trailed 14-3 at the half. The Bulldogs had just 31 yards in the first half and ran just seven plays in the second quarter.
But Westerly, the No. 2 seed from Division II-A, got back in the game in the third quarter, thanks to the efforts of Rocco Cillino.
On the first series of the second half, Cillino ran 79 yards down the left side for a touchdown.
It appeared Cillino was looking to pass on the play. The Bulldogs were facing third down and 14 at their own 21-yard line, and Cillino rolled left looking for a receiver. But he pulled the ball down and was able to make his way down the sideline for the score.
His touchdown made it 14-9 with 9:52 left in the third quarter.
Westerly stopped Woonsocket on its next series — defensive end Trent Lamb sacked quarterback Tarik O'Hagan for a 10-yard loss on third down.
Cillino then returned the ensuing punt 63 yards to Woonsocket's 19.
Five plays later, Westerly scored when Cillino passed 11 yards to Joe Fusaro for a touchdown. The pass deflected off a player or two in the end zone before Fusaro came up with the ball.
The score came with 31 seconds left in the third quarter, and gave Westerly a 15-14 lead. But the Villa Novans responded quickly, moving 62 yards in just three plays.
Logan Coles had a 48-yard run to set up a 14-yard scoring run by O'Hagan. O'Hagan carried the pile the final few yards for the touchdown, putting the Villa Novans ahead for good, 20-15, with 11:11 left in the game.
The Villa Novans added two more scores in the fourth quarter on touchdown receptions by Eric Agyemang from O'Hagan.
Agyemange was well covered on both throws, but managed to go up and come down with the ball. One pass covered 16 yards; the other, 22.
"They made some plays in the fourth quarter," Westerly coach Duane Maranda said. "They have tremendous players and they've continued to improve all year long. They are pretty deep with talent."
Westerly's Chad Mayne kicked a 17-yard field goal in the first half. The Bulldogs had moved 37 yards to the Woonsocket 1, but settled for the field goal instead of trying for a touchdown on fourth down.
In the second quarter, the Bulldogs had a first down at the Woonsocket 18 after the Villa Novans shanked a punt. But three plays netted 6 yards, and a 28-yard field goal attempt was wide.
Woonsocket (6-4), the No. 3 seed from Division II-B, will next play East Greenwich in the semifinals. Westerly (6-3) will face Middletown, likely on Friday. East Greenwich topped Middletown, 34-26, on Friday.
"I really am proud of where these guys are," Maranda said. "What I just told them is the level of expectation now for the program is so high. That's why it hurts so bad in that huddle right now.
"Four years ago, people were just happy if you made the playoffs and if you were competitive. I'm really proud of the seniors and what they have done in four years."