By ALEX SPONSELLER The Pilgrim football team pulled off a 28-27 comeback victory over visiting East Greenwich in the teams' Injury Fund exhibition last Friday evening. The Avengers would jump out to an early 13-0 lead, but Pilgrim would get two rushing
By ALEX SPONSELLER The Pilgrim football team pulled off a 28-27 comeback victory over visiting East Greenwich in the teams’ Injury Fund exhibition last Friday evening.
The Avengers would jump out to an early 13-0 lead, but Pilgrim would get two rushing touchdowns from Danny Halliwell to cut the score to 21-13 at halftime.
Trailing 27-20 late in the fourth quarter, Pilgrim backup quarterback Chace Roberts would lead the team down the field and connect with Tristan Miller for a touchdown, then later Carter Clifton for the 2-point conversion with 41 seconds left. The Pilgrim defense would hold on in the ensuing drive to pick up the upset.
“I’m very excited for the team. I trusted my offensive line to help us make things happen. We had a couple of drops, a couple of missed plays, we’ll have to watch film to make sure those things don’t happen. But I think we played great in the second half. It was a team win,” said Roberts. “In the first half we had some butterflies. We had some new kids playing, the big-game atmosphere, the crowd was back, it was big time. I told them in the huddle, ‘just calm down, breath and make plays. Make your blocks, don’t get upset with one another, and we will win this game.”
Pilgrim head coach Blake Simpson was excited to see his bench pieces produce in the big moment.
“We’re super excited because the entire second half was our 2’s and JV guys. They completely took control of that game which was impressive. You’d think that they’d have those butterflies with it being a Friday night game, but they came up huge,” said Simpson, who is also relieved to know that he has a reliable backup in Roberts.
“That is a huge boost for us in case Connor ever were to go down. Chace has had limited reps with no JV season in the spring. The last time he played in an actual game was in 2019, so for him to come out and have a performance like this is big.”
Simpson was also pleased with starting quarterback Connor Widmer and Halliwell for helping pull the team out of the early hole with the big second quarter.
“Their leadership, the way they control the game and keep their poise. It is a testament to the experience that they got in Division II during the spring season. The experience that we gained from that was huge going into this year,” said Simpson.
Coming up with another big play was senior Marcus Pascual, who returned the second half kickoff for a touchdown to set the tone for the rest of the way.
“He’s a huge sparkplug for us. We just named him a captain, and to see him respond after giving up a couple big plays on defense … that’s exactly what you want to see from a senior leader,” said Simpson.
Pilgrim will take on Tolman this Friday to open its regular season. Although Simpson and company are excited in the win, they are planning on refocusing come Friday night.
“Hopefully not too much (confidence) because we have a tough game coming up against Tolman, but I do think that they’re starting to click,” said Simpson. “We feel that we’re going to make a deep run this season.”