This was a highly anticipated game with both Mount Pleasant and Saint Raphael Academy coming off impressive wins. Not to mention it was the Mount Pleasant Kilties’ senior night. Last week Mount Pleasant handled East Providence in the form of a forty to eight victory, while Saint Raphael’s beat the at the time undefeated Cumberland Clippers twenty-seven to seven.
Head Coach of the Saint Raphael Academy Saints Mike Sassi remarked how important it was to keep the momentum going from last week into this game; “We haven’t even won two games in a row yet this year, so obviously we want to use it as a springboard. We’re both 2-1 and this would be a big game to separate ourselves.” Coming into the game it was apparent that these two teams had high powered offenses capable of running up a score as well as defenses that could hold the opponent down to limited scoring. It was going to be interesting.
The Saints started off hot in the first quarter, with them driving down the field, converting a fourth and five through the air with a pass from junior quarterback Daniel Wulf to sophomore Damien Ocampo. The Wulf to Ocampo connection proved to be strong on the opening drive, with them connecting again for a twenty-yard touchdown. The PAT was good, with senior kicker and center Jonah Costa nailing the kick, putting the Saints up seven to zero early.
The Kilties started their opening drive on their own thirty-three, with them touting an impressive passing attack as well. Senior quarterback Jelon King connected with sophomore receiver Angel Rivera to convert a fourth and eight, there was also a roughing the passer penalty called on the Saints. In total the play resulted in a thirty-two-yard gain, quickly flipping the field. Jelon King then ran for a first down. The good fortune did not last long for Mount Pleasant, with King throwing a red zone pick to Saint Raphael senior linebacker Connor Curran, who returned it eighty-two yards for the touchdown. Costa’s extra point attempt hit the left goal post, falling to the turf, making the score thirteen to zero Saints.
The score stayed the same until about midway through the second quarter. After a couple of possession exchanges, the Saints found themselves in the Kilties red zone once again, set up by a big completion from Wulf to senior receiver Robert Littlejohn. The Saints capped off the drive with a screen pass to senior playmaker Ethan McCann-Carter for a touchdown. Costa made the extra point, making the score twenty to zero Saints going into the half.
Mount Pleasant received the ball going into the second half and started to drive down the field with a thirty-seven yard catch and run by junior receiver Cassidy Negron. The promising Kilties drive quickly fell apart though, starting with a sack by Saints senior linebacker Christopher Molina. The sack was followed by a forced fumble on senior running back Jadiel Diaz, caused by the do-it-all senior Moses Meus of Saint Raphael’s. Luckily for the Kilties, their defense was able to come up big as well, with two big stops, one in the form of a fourth down sack by Senior defensive end Xavier Alvarado.
With a couple more changes of possession, it was a scoreless third quarter. The Kilties started the fourth quarter with the ball inside their own five thanks to a beautiful punt by number two for the Saints, Robert Littlejohn. The Kilties went on to go for it on fourth down on their own eleven, which paid off in the form of Jelon King connecting with Cassidy Negron once again for a forty plus yard catch off a crossing pattern. King then found Kilties’ standout player, senior receiver Izzy Hiraldo for a twenty yard catch which was fumbled, but Mount Pleasant maintained possession. King then found Hiraldo again, with Hiraldo making an impressive contested catch along the sideline. This ultimately led to a Kilties score, with King finding Cassidy Negron for a six-yard touchdown. The Kilties had a failed two-point attempt, which made the score twenty to six.
The Saints were not about to be complacent, with them quickly answering Mount Pleasant with a fifty-four yard catch and run off a slant by Ethan McCann-Carter, getting his second touchdown. Down by three scores, the Kilties needed to do something fast, and no one seemed to know that better than Izzy Hiraldo. Hiraldo returned the Saints kick eighty-two yards for a touchdown, with many quick cuts and broken tackles along the way, running along the Saints’ sideline. With another failed two-point attempt, this cut down the Saints lead to fifteen.
The Saints went three and out and with the help of Robert Littlejohn once again, they pinned the Kilties at their own six-yard line. At first Mount Pleasant was able to work out of their own territory with great grabs by both Senior receivers Jorge Ventura and Izzy Hiraldo. Unfortunately for the Kilties, back-to-back penalties and a fumble forced and recovered by Saints Junior Jalen Antione effectively ended the game for Mount Pleasant. The Saints went on to win the game twenty-seven to twelve, spoiling the Kilties’ senior night.
Both the Saints and Kilties exhibited powerful air attacks throughout the game, with both teams passing much more than running. The Kilties recorded just seven rushing attempts all game, with their leading rusher being their quarterback. Even with minimal offensive scoring, the Kilties still managed to put up over 200 yards passing with Receiver Cassidy Negron having six catches for eighty-four yards, and Izzy Hiraldo having some impressive catches. The killers for the Kilties were ultimately turnovers and penalties, with six false starts, four of which in the first half, along with other various penalties
As for the Saints, their quarterback Daniel Wulf had three passing touchdowns, two of which to Ethan McCann-Carter, who also had sixty-eight yards receiving. Both players were held in high regard by their Head Coach Mike Sassi; “[Dan Wulf] is a pretty good passer. We also have a pretty good guy, number one, Ethan McCann-Carter, him and [Izzy Hiraldo] will probably become very good friends tonight.” The defensive line for Saint Raphael’s played exceptionally, with them stuffing runs and recording four sacks, two of which by Christopher Molina. The defense recorded three turnovers altogether.
When talking to Mount Pleasant Kilties Head Coach Jay Addison, it became clear that these two teams knew each other well, which comes as no surprise since the two schools are just under seven miles away from each other. Addison had this to say regarding the familiarity between the two teams; “They’ve all grown up playing with and against each other. This is just another one of those times.” He went on to talk about Mount Pleasant’s defensive approach, concerning their standout junior defensive lineman/linebacker Benji Soe, who was in on a few tackles for losses and pressures for the Kilties; “We can expect Benji and the other ten Kiltie defenders to be trying to apply as much pressure as we can.”
With this win, The Saint Raphael Saints have their first winning streak, improving to 3-1. The Saints will host the 1-5 East Greenwich Avengers next Saturday. As for the Mount Pleasant Kilties, they will drop to 2-2 on the season. The Kilties will travel to Cranston next week to take on the versatile Falcons, which should be another good game.
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