The Smithfield Sentinels are division four state champions and have successfully completed their undefeated season. Smithfield defeated the Central Falls Warriors 18-6 in a game that was tied for most of the contest. The first score came from Smithfield’s star player and MVP, senior running back Ryan Flynn after a couple of possession changes. The point after was missed, making the score 6-0, Sentinels.
Central Falls was quick to answer with a scoring drive of their own that started from Smithfield’s 44-yard line thanks to a big return by sophomore Jadiel Santiago. Senior running back Tyshon O’Connell and sophomore quarterback Shadean Lovett picked up important yardage on the drive, but the standout play was made by senior receiver Alex Maia, hauling in a 40-yard touchdown pass from Lovett. Central Falls attempted a two-point conversion to no avail, tying the game at 6-6. The score would stay this way until the fourth quarter.
These two teams were no strangers to each other coming into this championship bout, they faced off early in the season with Smithfield coming out on top in a 7-6 overtime victory. Although they have beaten Central Falls before, Sentinels Head Coach Glenn Castiglia emphasized the fact that this was going to be a different game.
“It [Past victory over Central Falls] was so long ago, so early in the season, that we’re not really looking at that. We’re focused on tonight and not really looking in the past, that means nothing to us now,” said Castiglia
In the fourth quarter, things started to fall into place for the Sentinels. After a scoring drought for both teams, senior Brayden Shadoian broke a big run to the outside to put Smithfield up over the Warriors. The PAT was blocked, making the score 12-6, Smithfield. After the game, Shadoian spoke on his game changing play.
“It felt great, it put us in a position to win and the turnout was what we needed,” said Shadoian
After a Smithfield punt, the Warriors started to move the ball with a big catch and run by senior receiver Andreni Maldonado, but a timely sack by Smithfield’s senior defensive end Ray Porter would disrupt the drive. Shortly after the sack, senior Aj Hetu would make a game-sealing pick six to effectively ice the game. With just over a minute left, Central Falls tried to mount a comeback drive, making it to the red zone with help from Maia and senior tight end Brandon Schenk, but would ultimately fall short with an incompletion on fourth down with two seconds left.
It has truly been an amazing ride for the Smithfield Sentinels this year, with them completing a perfect 10-0 season and having more players on the team than ever before. Head Coach Glenn Castiglia spoke on the impact that his players have had and the growth of Smithfield’s football program.
“It’s been quite a ride, it’s been a lot of fun because these guys didn’t have a lot of success early on their career[s] and for them to finish here, I’m incredibly proud of them. We’ve went from 40 [players] to 48 in year two, to 85 this year, so we’re definitely trending in the right direction and hopefully it continues because that’s what it takes to build a program,” said Castiglia
Coach Castiglia and the Sentinels will surely enjoy their championship victory and undefeated season. With the influx of players and talent along with their passionate fanbase it would not be surprising to see this team in the same position in the future.
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