The Toll Gate football team picked up its third straight win last Friday when it cruised past visiting Hope 38-6.
After a tightly-contested first half in which Toll Gate led 14-6, the Titans would catch fire in the third quarter and score 16 points to put the game out of reach for the Blue Wave and wrap up the victory.
The Toll Gate rushing attack had been putting up big numbers heading into last Friday’s matchup, but the Titans opened up their playbook and unleashed their passing attack on Hope, which resulted in quarterback Greyson Pasquina tossing three scores.
Hauling in two of them was senior receiver Christian Rapoza.
“There were a couple times where Greyson got sacked and I was wide open. So in the huddle and on the sideline I told coach, ‘On that pass play I’ve been wide open, so if we try it again I’ll be wide open and get the touchdown.’ It was exciting for me, I came into the game with one touchdown (on the season) and now I have three,” said Rapoza after the win.
Pasquina opened the game with a touchdown run to put the Titans up 8-0.
Hope scored midway through the second quarter to cut the deficit to just two points, but Pasquina connected with Rapoza with just 25 seconds remaining in the first half to push the score to 14-6 at the break.
Rapoza would then haul in a 29-yard touchdown pass in the third quarter to make the score 22-6. Kenny Morel scored on the two-point conversion.
Anthony Shaw would then take another Pasquina pass the distance, followed by another successful two-point PAT, to extend the Toll Gate lead to 30-6 entering the final quarter.
Pasquina would rush for a seven-yard score with 5:39 left in regulation to secure the victory.
Toll Gate head coach Jim Stringfellow was excited to see his passing game take off, which was by design heading into Friday.
“That’s what we wanted to do. We made some adjustments this week going from Scituate to (Hope). We knew that they were a little faster than we were. We came out a little slow in the first half but made some adjustments. Our offensive coordinator Jack Paliotte made a great offensive program for this week and the kids have been buying into everything,” said Stringfellow.
“We knew we had it. We wanted to use it against Scituate but we couldn’t since it was so rainy that day. We knew we had it and we practiced it a lot this week and the kids executed. Greyson played great today, Ethan Durand played well, Christian Rapoza played unbelievable.”
The Titans improved to 3-2 on the season and will now take on Tiverton, who is also 3-2.
The Titans are expecting a tough test as they try to finish the season strong and push for favorable playoff seeding.
“Tiverton will be our toughest test the rest of the way,” said Stringfellow. “That’s a tough, well-coached team with some great kids. It’s going to be close, back and forth. Whoever has the ball last is probably going to win.”