The Pilgrim Patriots were pummeled by the Central Falls Warriors 36-6 on Saturday evening in a DIII football battle at home. The game was moved from Friday night to Saturday night because of rain.
Pilgrim was without its starting quarterback, junior Michael Borges, who broke a bone in his throwing hand during last week’s game against Ponaganset. Borges did start at linebacker however.
“He broke a bone in his hand, so he was casted up and he was playing some linebacker for us tonight,” Pilgrim head coach Blake Simpson said. “He’s one of the guys that goes both ways. Obviously, we need the best 11 on the field to win a game, so it’s a tough loss offensively, but defensively he’s one of our better linebackers. So we had to keep him out there.”
Central Falls junior quarterback Luis Gonzalez threw four touchdown passes, two to Dutchie Arroyo, and one each to junior tight end Jaquell Christal, and senior running back Stephawn Lockley. Arroyo, the senior wide receiver, also ran in a touchdown from 20 yards out.
“Luis is a junior and we gave him the keys to the Cadillac,” Central Falls head coach Jeff Lapierre said. “In the sense that, hey listen, this is your team, you’ve got some pieces that you can make things happen, with Arroyo, Alvarado, and Leonardo Da Veiga. And he did. He hit some targets. Obviously, they helped him out. They’re great yards after catch guys, so we’re very fortunate to have them. All of them.”
After a physical first quarter where no points were scored, a holding penalty against Pilgrim pinned the Pats back at their own 8-yard line. And on second down, Alvarado, who was at linebacker, sacked Pilgrim sophomore quarterback Souksakhone Xayapanya in the endzone for a safety with 8:19 remaining in the second quarter and gave the Warriors a 2-0 lead and the ball.
Warriors senior Tyrique DaSilva returned the ensuing kickoff to the Pats 40. Then on second down, Gonzalez threw a bullet to Arroyo who was in the middle of the field, and he caught it and cut left, then sprinted down the sideline and in for the score and gave Central Falls an 8-0 advantage with 7:47 left in the first half. Gonzalez’s pass intended for Christal fell incomplete during the two-point conversion attempt.
After the Central Falls defense forced Pilgrim into a three-and-out during its next possession, the Warriors returned the Pilgrim punt to the Warriors 47. Then, on first down, Gonzalez completed a pass to Arroyo, and he deked past Pilgrim freshman defensive back Brady Burke, and raced down the right sideline, 53 yards and into pay dirt with 5:13 left in the half. Alvarado rushed up the gut for a successful two-point conversion and upped the Warriors lead to 16-0.
In the final seconds of the first half, Arroyo received a shovel pass from Gonzalez and took it 35 yards to the 2. Then with 17 seconds remaining, Gonzalez connected with Lockley for a two-yard touchdown reception and that gave the Warriors a 22-0 edge heading into halftime.
The Pats started the second half with freshman Connor Widmer at quarterback and that opened up the passing game.
“He’s a comfortable passer in the pocket and he had his eyes downfield,” Simpson said. “I think the offensive line stepped up a little bit when we went to the freshman quarterback, so they knew they had to protect him a little bit more, so he had more time to throw and he just got the ball out of his hands.”
Midway through the third quarter, Central Falls started a drive from their own 42.
The Warriors had the ball at midfield when a personal foul on Pilgrim put the ball at the Pats 20. Then on second down, Arroyo rushed up the middle for 20 yards and into pay dirt with 4:21 left in the third quarter and put the Warriors up 29-0.
Central Falls added to its cushion when it drove 58 yards, down the field and on a fourth-and-11, Gonzalez heaved a pass to a leaping Christal in the endzone and gave the Warriors a 36-0 advantage.
The Pats got the ball at the Warriors 32 in the last two minutes, after Central Falls turned the ball over on downs. Then, on second down from the 27, Widmer tossed a pass to junior wideout Nick Kirejczyk in the endzone for a touchdown as time expired and got Pilgrim on the board at 36-6.
“It was a good way to cap off the loss, rolling into another tough opponent next week,” Simpson said. “Nick’s a big junior receiver and we’ve been looking for him to go up and get the football. Connor threw a beautiful ball and he was able to do that, so we’re going to take that momentum into next week for sure.”
Pilgrim hopes to have Borges back at signal caller for its next game against Tolman at home on Friday night.
“Tuesday, they’re going to cut the cast off and do another x-ray and see how the bone is healing and hopefully, he’ll be back next week at quarterback, but we’re not really sure,” Simpson said. “We’re just going to get ready no matter what’s happening.”
The loss drops the Pats to 1-2 in the league and 2-2 overall, while it improves the Warriors record to 3-0 in the conference and 4-0 overall.