October 26, 2014
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Sports Column
Vets football win was a long time coming

I didn’t believe it originally, but the Mayans were actually right about the Apocalypse coming. They were just a little bit off on the timing.

They had it pegged for December 21, 2012. It actually happened on October 1, 2011.

On that date, the Warwick Vets football team did something that it hadn’t done since November 27, 2008, Thanksgiving Day.

Win a football game.

The ’Canes used a gritty defensive effort and a steady performance by quarterback Danny Greaves to defeat Coventry 14-8.

When it was over, Vets celebrated like it just won the Super Bowl – the real one, not the high school one. Coaches, players and fans all hugged each other. It was a mob scene.

And it was completely understandable when you think about how long it really had been since the ’Canes had won a single game.

The last time Vets won a game, when it defeated Pilgrim 42-13 on that Thanksgiving in 2008, George W. Bush was President of the United States and Barack Obama had just been elected. I was a junior in college.

Actor Heath Ledger had died earlier in the year, and that summer the Movie “The Dark Knight” had taken everybody by storm, leading to Ledger winning an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor.

The No. 1 pop song in the country was Katy Perry’s “Hot n’ Cold,” and the Patriots were still stinging from their Super Bowl loss to the Giants earlier in the year.

The Celtics had just acquired Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen and won their first NBA title since the 1986 season.

Mark Zuckerberg, the founder of Facebook, has made 16 billion dollars since Vets last won a football game.

And here’s the kicker: the average price of gas was a mere $1.89 per gallon.

If I told you that prohibition was lifted in 2008 and “My Fair Lady” won Best Picture, it wouldn’t even seem that far-fetched.

That’s how long it’s been.

It’s been tough, too.

For the three years leading up to Vets’ last win – 2006-08 – it made the playoffs behind All-State quarterback Bob Bentsen. It looked like a program on the rise.

Instead, it became a program that everybody else scheduled for Homecoming.

The ’Canes suffered in two ways. They had the blowouts, like a 41-0 defeat to Cumberland last year. Then, they had the heartbreakers, like a 26-20 loss to Toll Gate to open this season.

They suffered through 21 straight losses spanning 1,039 consecutive days.

But that all came to an end on Saturday. Fittingly, it happened during Coventry’s Homecoming game, and there was no question that the Oakers expected to leave with a win.

After all, everybody else had over the past three years.

And when the ’Canes fumbled the ball away late in the fourth quarter, nursing a 14-8 lead, it looked like Coventry would go ahead and extend the streak to 22.

The Oakers moved the ball down to the 4-yard line. It was only a matter of time.

Then, the impossible happened.

Vets’ Fred Pierce stepped in front of a pass in the end zone and picked it off, giving the ’Canes the ball back. They would never give it up again, as two first downs killed the clock and sent Coventry players off the field swearing at one another and wondering what had just happened.

After the game, it was almost as if Pierce didn’t know what had happened either.

“We were down, but we came back and did what we had to do, I guess,” he said, laughing at the end of his statement like he couldn’t believe he was actually saying it.

But he was has right. For the first time since November 27, 2008, Vets did what it had to do.

The Apocalypse is upon us. I bet the Mayans didn’t expect it to happen at Warwick Vets. Coventry certainly didn’t.

Kevin Pomeroy is the assistant sports editor at the Warwick Beacon. He can be reached at 732-3100 and kevinp@rhodybeat.com.


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