East Greenwich Football improved to 4-0 with a 41-37 league win over the Westerly Bulldogs last Friday.
On Westerly’s homecoming, the run-heavy offense came out of the gates hard. But EG captain and the state’s leading passer Andrew Blessing broke the ice first, with a 48-yard slant to fellow captain and reigning All-Stater Andrew Licciardi. Westerly answered with a 25-yard TD run, and again with an 18-yard TD run to take a 14-7 lead. Blessing fired back with a 19-yard pass TD to Andrew Licciardi to end the first quarter.
Westerly picked up the intensity in the second quarter, forcing EG to punt twice, and once out of their own end zone. Sophomore center Jack Holmgren snapped the second punt and ran upfield to meet the ball. A return man for Westerly lost track of the punt, and Holmgren was able to push him back into the ball. Coaches screamed from the sidelines as junior Kevin Licciardi scooped up the live ball, and ran it back 59 yards to the house.
The momentum flipped after halftime, where the Bulldogs outscored the Avengers 16-7. Senior captain Will Ladas brought some energy into the Avengers bench with a 55-yard strip and score. Despite the play, Westerly scored two rushing touchdowns and a field goal in the third. EG trailed 27-30 heading into the fourth quarter.
Kevin Licciardi scored a go-ahead touchdown in the fourth quarter on an 11-yard pass from Blessing, but Westerly came back quickly to score on a 5-yard run with 6:34 left. Trailing 37-34, East Greenwich had one more shot at a winning drive. Blessing quickly stormed down the field, and Kevin finished the drive with a 1-yard run to put the Avengers ahead 41-37.
With 4:57 seconds left, Westerly failed to recover a pooch kick from East Greenwich’s Eamon Keenan, with sophomore Grant Driscoll taking the ball at the last second. EG was able to burn the clock from there until a late pass resulted in a Westerly interception. The dramatic rally was cut short when the Bulldogs failed to convert on fourth down with two minutes left.
Andrew Blessing was as good as advertised, going 17-31 for 253 yards and 3 TDs. Andrew Licciardi caught 7 passes for 135 yards and two touchdowns, and Kevin Licciardi totaled 87 yards, with a receiving and rushing touchdown.
On the defensive of the ball, senior Corey Gavin led the way with 18 tackles. Andrew Licciardi had 14, senior Brad Harrington had 12, and sophomore Matt Licciardi had 10. The Licciardi’s combined for 30 tackles and 222 yards, and the Ladas’ 7 and 55 respectively.
East Greenwich improved to number 9 in the state rankings and will test their undefeated status this Friday with an away game at West Warwick.
by Josh Petteruti