Football: Seekonk Keeps Piling Up Points in Win over Fairhaven
Football: Seekonk 39, Fairhaven 14
SEEKONK - Don’t be surprised to see Seekonk wide receiver Nathan Clarke on ESPN.
NFL Hall of Famer and former New England Patriot Randy Moss has a segment on one of the football shows called “You Got Mossed” which features players on all levels making spectacular catches over defenders like Moss used to do against smaller cornerbacks in his playing days.
That’s exactly what Clarke did at the end of the first half Friday night, leaping and using his big frame and long arms to catch a ball above a smaller defender in the endzone for a 27-yard touchdown. It was one of many big plays and touchdowns by the Warriors in a 39-14 home win over Fairhaven.
“I’m gonna see that on ‘You Got Mossed,’” Seekonk coach Vernon Crawford said after the game. “Nathan’s been spectacular. He’s a kid who’s always going to get his because he fights for the ball and gets open. I can always find ways to get the ball to him.”
Seekonk improved to 3-0 on the season and continued its offensive assault on opposing defenses. The Warriors had 33 at halftime that could have easily been 40 if it wasn’t for a fumble on the 1-yard line on their opening drive. When the dust settled, the Warriors had 427 yards of total offense and have now scored 114 points in three games this season.
Junior quarterback JT Moran accounted for 254 of those yards. The junior completed 18 of his 22 passing attempts for 231 yards and two touchdowns, and added 23 yards rushing on six carries and a touchdown on the ground.
“I thought we played really well,” Moran said after the game. “I think we’ve proved we’re a good team in this conference with another big game next week.”
That big game Moran mentioned is Apponequet, which holds the top spot in the South Coast Conference Large Division at 2-0 after shutting out Old Rochester on Friday night, 14-0. At 3-0 and 1-0 in the conference, Seekonk holds the top spot in the SCC Small Division, which contains Fairhaven, Bourne, Wareham and Case.
“If we can beat them, we can make a big statement in the league,” Moran said of the Lakers, who opened the season with a 42-26 win over Middleboro. “They’re a good team, so we’re going to have to match their intensity and come out strong on defense.”
REPORTERTODAY.COM MVP: In a game with plenty of offense, junior running back Robbie Lebeau stood out for the Warriors with almost 200 yards of total offense in the first half alone. He rushed for 114 yards on seven carries and caught three passes for 66 yards while sitting out the second half with a minor injury and the Warriors holding a big lead. “I could go on and on about him. He busted his tail the entire offseason,” Crawford said.
PLENTY OF POINTS: The Warriors got on the board with 4:39 left in the first quarter when Lebeau took a handoff 21 yards down the right side for a score. Moran found the endzone on the ground on the next possession from 7 yards out. Cam Silva took an option pitch from Moran 18 yards to the house in the second quarter to extend Seekonk’s lead to 20-6. Moran threw two TDs before halftime, a 22-yarder to a wide-open Silva and the 27-yard Randy Moss special to Clarke. Julian Mendes capped the scoring in the fourth quarter with an 11-yard TD run.
MORAN COMING ALONG: Crawford had nothing but praise for his junior quarterback, saying that he’s come a long way in the past year. “Between last year and this year, it’s night and day,” he said. “Last year was more telling him what to do and teaching him. Now we can sit and have a conversation about the offense and how to attack. He’s a running threat and he’s a passing threat. He’s got ‘it’ and we haven’t even showed everyone what he really can do. He’s going to be a force to be reckoned with.”
KEY TO THE OFFENSE: The Warriors are scoring early and often, but Crawford and Moran were quick to recognize the key to the offense. “The offensive line was awesome tonight. I barely got touched, and when I did it was my fault. Those guys are great,” Moran said of center William Prew, guard Josh Toriano, tackles Brendan Santos and Jacob McKitchen, and left guard No. 77, who is not listed on the Seekonk roster. “We have three freshman starting on our offensive line,” Crawford said of Prew, Toriano and No. 77. “They get better each week and they’re surpassed expectations so far. I’m so proud of all our linemen.”
FAIRHAVEN WAS NO PUSH OVER: The Blue Devils (0-2) were blown out in their opener last weekend against GNB Voc-Tech, 57-0, but battled hard from start to finish against the Warriors on Friday night. Fairhaven led 6-0 early on a 16-yard TD pass from sophomore quarterback Cameron Gordon to senior Owen Sebula with 5:33 left in the first quarter. After Seekonk ripped off 39 unanswered points the Blue Devils scored again on a 1-yard keeper by Gordon late in the fourth.
DEFENSE GETS IT DONE: While the Warriors are piling up points, the defense has been just as good, allowing 11 points per game so far this season. “The defense stepped up again,” Crawford said. “They got stops, they got turnovers, when we needed them.” The Seekonk defense forced two turnovers (an interception by Jazmany Donatiu and a fumble recovery by McKitchen), three turnovers on downs and a punt. The Blue Devils scored on their opening possession but didn’t see the endzone again until late in the fourth quarter.
MORAN ON CLARKE’S MOSS CATCH: “I thought it was going to be (intercepted). I’m just throwing it and the receivers are making great catches making me look good,” he said with a smile.
EMOTIONAL HALFTIME PERFORMANCE: Former cheerleader Hayley Sanford, SHS Class of 2014, was killed in a car accident on Sept. 21, 2016, and every year since, the Warriors cheerleaders dedicate a halftime performance in her honor. Cheerleading coach Amanda Troiano presented Hayley’s parents, Russ and Sharon Sanford, with some flowers before the game in one of several emotional moments on the special night. “She was one of my good friends,” Troiano said before the game. “So we do this to honor her. Her parents are amazing and they do so much for our team.” There was a moment of silence held before the game in Hayley’s honor. If anyone wants to see the cheerleading performance, there is a video of it on our Facebook page, The Reporter, and our Twitter page, @ReporterSports1.
BIG TOUCHDOWN: The game was out of reach, but the Warriors reacted as if the touchdown meant the world. When Mendes found the end zone from 11 yards out in the beginning of the fourth quarter, the Seekonk sideline erupted in celebration. “He’s been playing for four years and he’s put in a ton of work. He finally got the chance to get the ball in his hands and look what he did,” Crawford said.
QUICK SLANTS: The entire Seekonk side of the field was filled with fans and the crowd did not disappoint, from the parents cheering to the chants from the student section, Seekonk was rocking Friday night. “The community came out and supported us,” Crawford said. … The marching band absolutely nailed the halftime show with a James Bond theme. Cheers to the band for a solid performance. Check out a clip from it on our Facebook page. … Robert Sheahan had a big 77-yard return on the opening kickoff to give Seekonk good field position early. … Seekonk had 12 plays of 20 yards or more. … The Warriors are 3-0 but Crawford isn’t talking playoffs just yet. “Our goal is to be 1-0 each week,” said Crawford, who played under Bill Belichick during his time with the Patriots. … Moran and Gordon combined for 47 passing attempts and 410 yards through the air. … Eight different Warriors caught passes with Clarke leading the way with six receptions for 63 yards. … The running clock in the fourth quarter made for a quick final frame and some time oddities. For example: Fairhaven scored with 6:00 left in the game, and after two cracks at the 2-point conversion thanks to a penalty, Seeonk didn’t get its first play off until after the kickoff at 2:12 left. … Cebula is Fairhaven’s only senior.
UP NEXT: Seekonk will host Apponequet Friday night at 6:30 p.m. “They got some big kids,” Crawford said of the Lakers. “We need to do the little things right and make no mistakes.”
SEEKONK 39, FAIRHAVEN 14
Seekonk 14 19 0 6-33
Fairhaven 6 0 0 8-14
F: Owen Cebula 16 pass from Cam Gordon (kick failed), 5:33
S: Robbie Lebeau 21 run (Stephen Prew kick), 4:39
S: JT Moran 7 run (Stephen Prew kick), 1:29
S: Cam Silva 18 run (kick failed), 3:23
S: Cam Silva 22 pass from JT Moran (conversion failed), 4:12
S: Nathan Clarke 27 pass from JT Moran (Stephen Prew kick), 1:09
S: Julian Mendes 11 run (kick failed), 11:52
F: Cam Gordon 1 run (Owen Cebbula pass from Cam Gordon), 6:00
Rushing: S - Cam Silva 2-13, JT Moran 6-23, Julian Mendes 1-11, Robbie Lebeau 7-114, Katana Hollins 6-35; F - Owen Cebula 6-39, Cam Gordon 9-18, Reece Antunes 3-14, Peter Joseph Jr. 1-1.
Passing: S - JT Moran 18-22-231-2-0; F - Cam Gordon 14-25-180-1-1.
Receiving: S - Greg DeMarais 2-16, Harry Murphy 1-5, Robert Sheahan 2-11, Katana Hollins 1-20, Nathan Clarke 6-63, Will Smith 1-5, Robbie Lebeau 3-66, Cam Silva 2-46; F - Peter Joseph Jr. 5-31, Jason Motta 1-23, Alex DeAlmeida 2-22, Isaiah Burlinson 1-20, Owen Cebula 2-63, Reece Antunes 3-33.
Both teams play Friday night at 6:30 p.m. Seekonk (3-0) will host Apponequet while Fairhaven (0-2) will host Wareham.