Bishop Hendricken Defeats Cranston West 28-16 in Offensive Standoff
It was quite the scene at Cranston Stadium Friday night as the Bishop Hendricken Hawks took on the Cranston West Falcons, with the stands packed and big plays transpiring on both sides. This was expected to be a good game and it certainly was.
The Hawks came into Cranston Stadium with something to prove at 3-2 after a 48-6 loss to Catholic Memorial last week. The 2-2 Falcons were hoping that homefield advantage would serve them well in stringing wins together after a close win defeating East Providence 28-22 last week.
The game was closely fought with scoring back and forth all the way until the fourth quarter. The first quarter started with a big kick return by Cranston West, setting them up at their own forty-two-yard line. The Falcons then quickly made their way down the field thanks to an impressive contested catch by senior receiver Hudson Carvalho for twenty-six yards. This led to a touchdown with a connection between sophomore quarterback Kelan Cornell and senior running back Marcus Chung on a fourth and three.
After some hard running by junior running back Oscar Weah and Junior quarterback Jayden Falcone, the Hawks found themselves quickly moving down the field as well. After some offensive sputtering past midfield, Falcone found Senior receiver Noah West on a seam pattern for a thirty-yard touchdown, tying the game at 7-7. The second quarter started with a couple possession exchanges until the Falcons said enough was enough in the form of Kelan Cornell finding Hudson Carvalho for a ninety-one-yard touchdown connection. This made the score 13-7 due to a failed two-point attempt.
After the big play by Cranston West, Bishop Hendricken had some good fortune of their own, with an impressive kick return, setting them up close to midfield. The Hawks then proceeded to run the ball all the way to the goal line chunk by chunk. The Hawks’ drive finished with a one-yard quarterback sneak by Falcone. The Falcons then responded with a thirty-two-yard field goal by junior Jack Majcher, putting the Falcons up 16-14 into halftime.
Bishop Hendricken opened the second half with what they seem to do best; running the ball. The drive was kickstarted by a thirty-three-yard rip by Oscar Weah, who eventually capped off the drive with a four-yard touchdown run. The Hawks did not run one passing play on this scoring conquest. With the extra point being good, the Hawks went up 21-16 in the third quarter.
Cranston West started hot with another catch by Carvalho for a first down, but after that, the Falcons’ offense began to stall. Incompletions, stuffed runs, and a poorly timed penalty ultimately forced the Falcons to punt on a fourth and nine. From then on, the Hawks took control of the ball and played to their ultimate strength of the ground game, with a three-way effort of Falcone, Weah, and junior Ronjai Francis. Francis’ touchdown proved to be the final nail in the coffin, putting Bishop Hendricken up over Cranston West 28-16 with just over a minute remaining in the fourth quarter. Bishop Hendricken when on to be victorious.
Cranston West had some playmakers on their side such as explosive running back Marcus Chung putting together quite the season and Hudson Carvalho proving to be a playmaker at wide receiver. Before the game, Hendricken Head Coach Keith Croft addressed the threat of Marcus Chung and how to contain him; “You got to have a lot of guys [in] on the tackle, got to keep the feet moving, don’t keep the feet stationary. He’s a real tough, slippery running back and he’s going to pose a problem for us tonight.”
Besides the receiving touchdown on a quick out during the Falcons’ opening drive, Marcus Chung was held in check by Hendricken’s strong defensive line. On the ground, Chung was held to just twenty-three yards on nine carries. As for Carvalho, there did not seem to be much of an answer, with him racking up 149 yards on four receptions and a ninety-one-yard touchdown.
Bishop Hendricken’s run-by-committee approach has served them well in their winning campaign thus far, with the three-headed monster of juniors Oscar Weah, Ronjai Francis, and sophomore Michael Dasilva, not to mention their mobile quarterback Jayden Falcone. Pregame, Falcons Head Coach Tom Milewski addressed the concern of this hardnosed running approach; “Our kids have worked hard all week at that, the quarterback’s run game usually makes it a bit tougher. It’s tough to mirror [that] for us in practice. We’re going to see other mobile quarterbacks in the season, so it will be a good test for us.”
Ultimately it did prove to be a tall task for the Falcons to contain the Hawks’ running attack. The Hawks came out of the game with 307 total yards on the ground, the majority of which was produced by Oscar Weah and Ronjai Francis, who Head Coach Keith Croft said, “They’ve worked really well as a tandem this year.” Hendricken’s defense was also instrumental in their win over Cranston West, with them allowing only 43 total yards on the ground, forcing them to take to the air.
Although Cranston West lost the game, they put up quite the fight, with a great passing attack resulting in 152 total yards and two touchdowns. The Falcons defense also made some plays in the passing game, intercepting Falcone twice and only giving up forty yards through the air. The turnovers created by the Falcons were no mistake, with Cranston West Head Coach Tom Milewski saying before the game that “We’re going to try and bring a little bit of pressure on them in the passing game. We figure if we can get some pressure on the quarterback, maybe he’ll make an arid throw and we can get a quick turnover.”
With this loss bringing their overall record to 2-3, the Cranston West Falcons will hope to right the ship and get back to 500 next week in a league game against Cumberland. As for Bishop Hendricken, they will have another big game next week against rival LaSalle Academy. With a lot of football still to be played, it will be interesting to see how these two teams evolve and where they end up towards the end of the season.