Although the Skippers made a strong showing in the season opening injury fund game last Friday, the end result suggests it could be another long year on the gridiron.
Struggling out of the gate before stabilizing in the second quarter, North Kingstown lost 12-7 to Division III East Greenwich. However, the Skippers did have several chances to take the lead in the second quarter.
In the final two minutes, North Kingstown started with the ball on the Avengers’ 38-yard line, thanks to a poor punt. Quarterback Jacob Morris slung a pass to senior Alex Sabitoni for 10 yards, and followed it up with another completion across the middle to tight end Alexander Madoian for 20 yards.
With the ball on the eight-yard line, the Skippers seemed poised to take the lead. However, after an incomplete pass, Morris was sacked and fumbled, with East Greenwich senior Carl Lebovitz making the recovery.
North Kingstown head coach John Horsman said that Morris has made steady improvement the past two years, tough seasons in which the Skippers have gone 0-16 in Division I games.
“He’s really improved and matured these past two seasons,” he said, adding that Morris has some good talent on the ends to throw to now.
Morris completed several long passes, including a 30-yard pass to senior Alex Young and a 12-yard touchdown to Madoian. However, the Skippers struggled to stop the Avengers on the ground.
“We came out a little flat,” Horsman said. “We played soft on defense for those first two series.”
In the first quarter, it looked like a repeat of the 2010 season, as the Avengers quickly went up 12-0 on two touchdowns.
“The kids stepped up and did a much better job,” Horsman said.
However, the road doesn’t get any easier for North Kingstown. The Skippers host Division II Westerly at 7 p.m. Friday. The Bulldogs beat Division III Narragansett 26-0 in a two-quarter injury fund game. It was a Narragansett squad largely similar to the one that beat East Greenwich last year.
The Skippers then have three tough Division I games to start the year, at East Providence and hosting Barrington, followed by a game at Cranston West. The teams are ranked fourth, third and sixth in the preseason Rhode Island Sports Media football poll.
If North Kingstown does compete in Division I this year, it’ll be quite the upset. In the preseason poll, the Skippers didn’t get a single vote for the Top 20 – the only Division I team not in the Top 20. The Skippers’ best chance for a victory could be their Oct. 14 rematch with the Avengers.
For the North Kingstown football schedule from the RIIL, click here.