Late score lifts ’Canes to another crucial win
The Warwick Vets Hurricanes delivered a dominant defensive effort and finally made it count with a touchdown in the waning moments as they slipped past Westerly 7-0 on Saturday night in a crucial Division II-A game.
David MacDonald scored from 6 yards out with less than two minutes on the clock to break a scoreless tie and give Vets all the points it needed
“It’s a big win,” Vets head coach Mike Nappa said. “Westerly is always tough so it was good to get past them. The kids played well and they came through when they had to.”
Vets improved to 4-1 in league play. The ’Canes haven’t yet clinched a playoff berth, but the win put them more firmly onto the inside track. Vets and Johnston are tied for second place in Division II-A, just behind 5-0 Woonsocket. Coventry is 3-2 while Mt. Hope and Westerly are 2-3.
The ’Canes nearly squandered the opportunity for the big win. They had one touchdown called back on a penalty and came up empty on several other scoring chances. The seven points was the team’s second-lowest output of the season.
Thankfully for Vets, the defense turned in its best performance of the season. Westerly had a handful of big plays, but little else. Kyle Agin made a touchdown-saving tackle on one of the big plays, and the ’Canes responded with a goal-line stand. They stopped a fourth-and-goal at the 1-yard line to complete it.
“They broke one play, but we stopped them,” Nappa said. “We played our base defense and we held them down all night.”
That set up the late heroics. After a punt left the ’Canes at the Westerly 42 with just over two minutes to play, quarterback Jesse Sedoma broke off a 29-yard run to put the ball deep in Bulldog territory. MacDonald then powered his way in from 6 yards out, scoring on a second effort for the go-ahead touchdown.
“It was a sigh of relief,” Nappa said. “It was crazy. The clock was messed up so we couldn’t tell if it was two minutes or ten seconds. But the kids came through.”
Westerly had one more possession but was once again stopped cold by the Vets defense. The shutout was Vets’ second this season and it couldn’t have come at a better time.
With the win, the ’Canes now own head-to-head tiebreakers over both Coventry and Westerly. Mt. Hope, another team that could end up at 4-3, will play Vets in the season finale, so no tiebreaker has been established in that match-up yet.
However the math shakes out, the ’Canes have once again taken another step in the right direction. They’ll try to continue it Friday when they host Johnston on Friday at 7 p.m. in their final home game of the season. The Panthers haven’t lost since dropping their league opener to Woonsocket.
“Johnston is good,” Nappa said. “They’ve really matured. We’d like to win out, but our goal is to qualify for the playoffs.”