Saturday, October 26, 2013

The Only Important Message for Homecoming: PROTECT THIS HOUSE

Yes, the Hawks' express train to what could be an unprecedented four consecutive State Super Bowl titles continued largely unimpeded, although it's clear that the Portsmouth Patriots are a very sound and well-coached football team. 

Yes, Remy Blue continued running the football seemingly at will, causing this writer to honestly wonder aloud during last night's telecast if there actually is a defense in Rhode Island high school football that can even hope to stop him. 

These things are true, and were, coming into the game, somewhat expected. This game was, however, our homecoming game. While many Rhode Island High School football fans are watching this Hendricken team pretty closely for a number of reasons, most of those reasons were - at least to an extent - put on hold last night. Only one thing mattered last night: Protecting the House.

The Hawks came into the game undefeated and ranked #1 in Division 1. They walked off the field in the same manner. 

Remy Blue rushed for 164 yards on seven carries - an astonishing average of 23.4 yards per carry - and scored four touchdowns of 41 ,4, 45, and 63 yards, leading the Hawks to a convincing 41-21 Homecoming victory at Hayden Stadium. Other scores came from a Gary Gibbs's six-yard rush and a beautifully-executed 31-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Pat Gill to Lee Moses. 

Last Friday night, the Hawks faced Cranston East on their home turf, a game that many of the state's football pundits marked as one with serious playoff implications; in what many might say was the Hawks' first real test of the season (though South Kingston and Cranston West might object to that assessment, and understandably so), the Hawks left Cranston Stadium that night as the clearly-acknowledged better team. 

In taking on the Portsmouth Patriots last night - a football program rich in tradition and always a perennial title contender - most people entering Hayden Stadium last night expected to see first-hand if the Hawks' express train to the playoffs could be either challenged or derailed. Truth be told, at the beginning of the game it appeared that this was going to be a serious game, as the Patriots, led by the superb quarterbacking of Matthew Sewall, marched right down the field with relative ease against what had been a staunch and scarily-improving Hawks' defense and took the lead, 7-0. 

Sewall, in fact, threw for that first touchdown and ran for two more himself. 

The Hawks answered that touchdown immediately on Remy's 4-yard rush into the end zone.  

The Hawks went for two after their first score, perhaps anticipating a close game; the conversion failed, resulting in an early 7-6 lead for the Patriots. 

After that, an effective word to describe the Hawks' assuming control of the game is methodical. While it was evident that Portsmouth is a very good team and had no intention of being pushed around, the nature of the Hawks' discipline and their relentless attack on both sides of the ball was, over the longer course of the game, simply too much for the Patriots to withstand. As pointed out, the offense was led by the running of Remy Blue. In addition to that early touchdown, he also crossed the goal line on runs of 41 yards - ...45 yards -
...and, on a play reminiscent of the first one of the second half last Friday night against Cranston East (Gary Gibbs' 60-yard run to the house), Remy took the handoff on the first play of the second half last night and galloped 63 yards to the house himself:  

Gary Gibbs also turned in some quality running for the Hawks during the game, and Matt Duffie even turned in a nifty 31-yard run:  

The Patriots did put 21 points up on the Hawks, but the stellar defense that we've had the opportunity to watch as it has quickly evolved from week-to-week also came up big when it mattered most. The defense stuffed Sewall when he attempted a run around end - ...Lee Moses laid himself out in spectacular fashion for one of his two interceptions (in addtion to his 31-yard TD reception) - ...and the defense came up with another takeaway on a fumble recovery. 
All in all, with the Homecoming victory and the reasonably convincing nature of it, everyone at Hayden Stadium last night who is a part of the Hendricken community went home pretty happy. One would think, however, that Coach Croft and the rest of his staff are probably going to work the team hard in an effort to clean up the number of penalties for which our guys have been flagged over the course of the last two games. 

Other than that, the Express to Four still appears to be on full steam ahead. 

The Hawks are off next week, giving our players and The Network staff a much-needed Friday night off. 

Next up? 

Another of the top teams in Division I - the Barrington Eagles.

The Network will be there.