Will Friday's loss make Seekonk football better in the playoffs?
Football: Case 35, Seekonk 0
SEEKONK - Everything that can go wrong on a football field went wrong for the Seekonk Warriors Friday night.
Seekonk committed 10 penalties, turned the ball over four times and had big mistakes on offense, defense and special teams in a 35-0 loss to Case.
“This wasn’t our best performance,” Seekonk coach Vernon Crawford said. “This is the first time in a couple of years we’ve been shutout. We made a lot of mistakes out there.”
The good news for the Warriors is they might get a shot at redemption down the road. Both Case and Seekonk are headed to the MIAA Div. 7 South playoff tournament as the top two teams in the Gold Division of the South Coast Conference. Case (5-0) clinched the Gold title with the win while the Warriors (4-2) are locked into the No. 2 spot with two SCC Gold wins and head-to-head tiebreakers over Wareham and Fairhaven. Case will likely be the top seed in Div. 7, but the Warriors will be in the mix and could see the Cardinals again in the postseason.
“They’re an excellent football team,” Case coach Anthony Palladino said. “They’re going to do damage in the playoffs.”
SLOW SLIPPERY START: The Warriors won the toss and took the ball. Their first of 10 penalties came on the first play of the game, a holding call that negated a completion from JT Moran to Greg DeMarais and put Seekonk in a first-and-19 right off the bat. With the field wet after three days of rain and showers still sprinkling, Jack Murphy slipped on the next play that resulted in a loss of a yard. Moran was sacked on the next play when he couldn’t get a grip on the ball, and was sacked again on third-and-24. Stephen Prew had trouble handing the wet ball on the punt attempt and Case’s Alexander Janicki pounced on the ball in the endzone as Case had an early 7-0 lead without its offense taking the field. “We talk about it, figuratively, we want to punch first, come out and come out hard, whether its on offense or defense,” Palladino said.
FINDING THE ENDZONE: Cardinals running back Brady Thiboutot put Case up 14-0 with 4:09 left in the first quarter on an 8-yard scoring run that capped a 7-play, 45-yard drive. Case QB Daniel Silva threw the first of two TD passes with 5:58 left in the first half, hitting Clayton Dyer from 6 yards out to put the Cardinals up 21-0 at halftime. Silva hit Keagan Lecomte for a 14-yard score on the opening drive of the second half, and Silva capped the scoring with a 2-yard TD run with 8:41 left in the fourth.
LEARNING EXPERIENCE: The Warriors are a young team that has juniors, sophomores and even freshmen starting at key positions, and Crawford said that inexperience might have contributed to the poor performance as the top two teams in not only the SCC Gold Division, but the top two ranked teams in Div. 7 South squared off. “We’ve got kids out there who have never been in this type of game,” he said. “I think some of the kids may have hyped it up a lot more. Things we’ve done well for three, four weeks, and tonight they feel like they needed to do more. I’m proud of the team overall, they fought hard. It’s a learning experience for them.”
LOTS OF YELLOW: The Warriors were penalized 10 times for 101 yards with some of those flags proving extra costly. An illegal touch penalty negated an 11-yard double pass from Moran to Nathan Clarke to Jacob McKitchen on a fourth-and-nine early in the second quarter. Seekonk looked to be gaining momentum after halftime with two big defensive plays after Case took the kickoff, but an unnecessary roughness flag turned a third-and-long deep in their own zone to a first down around the 40 as the Cardinals ended up scoring on the drive.
SEEKONK STATS: Moran led the offense with 109 yards, 60 coming on the ground and 49 through the air as light but steady rain combined with gusty winds and a penetrating Case defense made life difficult for the Seekonk passing game. Robbie Lebeau rushed for 52 yards on seven carries.
PLAYOFFS LOOMING: The Warriors have two road games left before the playoffs begin on Nov. 1. They are at Bourne next weekend and Old Rochester the weekend after. Seekonk came into Friday’s game as the No. 1 team in Div. 7 South, but will now be battling with Cohasset, Abington and Mashpee for seeding in the tournament. “It doesn’t matter who we play,” Crawford said. “If we play at our level, at our tempo, we can beat anyone.”
TOUGH COMPETITION: The two teams Seekonk has lost to this season, Apponequet and Case, are a combined 9-0 and both are in first place on their sides of the SCC. They are also both likely to be ranked first in their playoff divisions following this weekend if Apponequet, which is currently No. 1 in Div. 6 South, can outlast Dighton-Rehoboth on Saturday.
QUICK SLANTS: Austin Blanco got a hand up for a blocked punt late in the first quarter to give the Warriors good field position at the Case 39, but the illegal touch penalty ended the ensuing possession. … Case was penalized three times for 20 yards. … Moran connected with Nathan Clarke only once, but it was a 46-yard completion deep down the right sideline on his best pass of the night. On the next play, Dyer made a diving interception to give Case the ball back. … Case lineman John Garell rumbled for a 29-yard gain on a fake punt. … The Cadinals are now back-to-back SCC Gold champions after winning the division last year as well. … Gamble French had a big sack of Silva in the third quarter. … Among the media contingent covering the game were local legends Greg Sullivan of the Herald News and Bill Hall of the Somerset/Swansea Spectator. If it’s happened in Swansea over the past few decades, chances are Bill Hall has been there for it. You’ll have a hard time finding a nicer guy than him. … The Seekonk marching band again dazzled with its James Bond-themed halftime performance. … Congrats to the SHS Homecoming Court, which was announced at halftime: Queen Megan Accardi, King Kevin Moszkowicz and the court of freshmen Sarah DeMelo and Jack Santos, sophomores Lucy Codega and Jack Tow, and juniors Jaden Deal and Cameron Silva.
CASE 35, SEEKONK 0
Case 14 7 7 7-35
Seekonk 0 0 0 0-0
C: Alexander Janicki fumble recovery (Tyler Cabral kick), 9:49
C: Brady Thiboutot 8 run (Daniel Silva pass to Alexander Janicki), 4:09
C: Clayton Dyer 6 pass from Daniel Silva (pass failed), 5:58
C: Keagan Lecomte 14 pass from Daniel Silva (Tyler Cabral kick), 7:02
C: Daniel Silva 2 run (pass failed), 8:41
Rushing: C - Logan Medeiros 7-18, Daniel Silva 16-54, Brady Thiboutot 7-25, Joseph Garell 1-(-5), John Garell 1-57, Clayton Dyer 2-14; S - Jack Murphy 3-1, Robbie Lebeau 7-52, JT Moran 8-60, Cameron Silva 2-8.
Passing: C - Daniel Silva 8-21-126-2; S - JT Moran 7-22-49-0-2
Receiving: C - Joseph Garell 1-6, Matt Howard 1-30, Clayton Dyer 3-29, Keagan Lecomte 1-14, Alexander Janicki 1-46, Brady Thiboutot 1-1; S - Greg DeMarais 2-15, Jack Murphy 1-1, Robbie Lebeau 3-(-11), Nathan Clarke 1-46.