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Saturday, October 15, 2011
Recap: No. 8 B-R 27, La Salle (R.I.) 16

By Scott Barboza

BRIDGEWATER, Mass. – No. 7 Bridgewater-Raynham has a lot to worry about in the coming weeks, with a  Top 10 matchup against Xaverian next week and Old Colony League play set to start. So Trojans head coach Dan Buron was concerned that his team was looking past top-ranked Rhode Island squad La Salle Academy on Saturday afternoon.

The Trojans shook off their slow start, however, storming back with three scores in the second quarter while handing the Rams their first loss of the season, 27-16.

“I think that’s a good quality win for us because that’s a good, tough football team,” Buron said.

B-R (5-1) spotted La Salle (5-1) a 3-0 lead largely on field position in the first quarter with Peter Picerelli drilling a 41-yard field goal.

The Trojans began to assert their will in the ground game on the ensuing drive, capping off an 11-play 80-yard drive on quarterback Brad Deluliis’ 3-yard touchdown run with 6:15 remaining in the half.

The Rams took the lead back promptly with fullback Martin Bannerman rumbling 49-yards up the middle of the field on a gut trap for a touchdown.

Just 18 seconds later, the Trojans broke off a big play of their own with Nick Schlatz hitting the corner and striding 64 yards to the end zone.

“We played good in spurts, but you can’t do that against these guys,” La Salle head coach Geoff Marcone said. “If you play good in spurts, you’re going to lose the game. That’s what happened. They’re a good football team and we just didn’t give a good effort today.”

B-R struck again before the half was out. As time expired, kicker Kevin Wadsworth rolled left on bootleg off a fake field goal. The Rams had the trick play almost perfectly defended, but Wadsworth found Brendan Page with a 4-yard pass on the flick of a wrist for a 21-10 Trojan lead.

“We called that and then I was going to call a timeout if it wasn’t there, and I just said the heck with it,” Buron said. “The kid that caught the ball [Page] was supposed to be blocking, but thank god he did. He made a nice catch.

“He was like the third option on that play, not even, he wasn’t really an option, but it worked out.”

After a scoreless third quarter, La Salle made it a one-possession game on Josh Morris’ 5-yard touchdown run on an option left.  After the two-point conversion failed, the B-R lead was down to five.

Then, the Trojans running game took over once again.

Branden Morin had five straight carries to finish off a 9-play drive that bled nearly four minutes off the clock and exhausted all of the Rams’ timeouts.

B-R junior Matt Petty astutely recovered the ensuing kickoff on a squib kick, putting the game out of reach.

The Trojans receiver another solid performance from senior captain Nick Schlatz who racked up 135 yards on 23 carries.

But even when Schlatz wasn’t able to go on the Trojans’ final drive, Morin proved a more than adequate replacement. Morin chipped in 11 carries for 75 yards and a touchdown, spelling Schlatz and creating a viable 1-2 punch.

“Nick Schlatz was a little dinged up [on the last drive] and Branden Morin stepped up,” Buron said. “[Fullback] Stevie Wentworth blocked well and Eric Wabrek does a great job of blocking, too.”

It was an encouraging sign ahead of the Trojans’ date with No. 5 Xaverian next week, which will pit B-R strength against a large, physical Hawks defensive line.

La Salle entered the game as our top-ranked Ocean State team at No. 7 in the ESPN Boston New England football poll.

At times, the Rams delivered on their top-billing, with Morris (16 car., 84 yards) showing flashes of the brilliance he’s shown against in-state opponents this year.

“He’s a big-play player,” Marcone said of Morris. He can grind it out, but he make big plays happen for you, too. I’m a little biased in this opinion, but he’s one of the best backs in our state. Hopefully, by the end of the year, he’ll be the best.”

For the most part, the Rams were effective in their ability to shoot the gaps against the Trojans’ traps and counter runs. Senior middle linebacker and de facto captain of the defense Marcanthony Reynoso also put on a tackling clinic.

But, in the end, it came down to consistency.

“Every time we seemed to get momentum, there was a penalty, or we fumbled the ball, or there was a bad snap,” Marcone said.

B-R (5-1)  0  21  0  6  --  27
La Salle (5-1)  3 7  0  6  --  16

1st quarter
LS – Peter Picerelli 41-yard field goal

2nd quarter
B-R – Brad Deluliis 3-yard run (Kevin Wadsworth kick)
LS – Martin Bannerman 49-yard run (Picerelli kick)
B-R – Nick Schlatz 64-yard run (Wadsworth kick)
B-R – Wadsworth 4-yard pass to Brendan Page (Wadsworth kick)

4th quarter
LS – Josh Morris 5-yard touchdown run (Pass failed)
B-R – Branden Morin 4-yard run (Kick blocked)