EAST PROVIDENCE — The Portsmouth High School football team got the win it needed to secure its place in the upcoming playoffs while at the same time ending the chances East Providence had of earning a berth into the same Division I state championship tournament.
At a cold, blustery and damp Pierce Stadium Friday evening, Oct. 28, the Patriots dispatched the host Townies with relative ease, 42-13.
The victory lifted Portsmouth's record to 4-2 in the I-A standings, snapping a two-game losing streak in the process. The Patriots were coming 21-19 and 54-14 losses to likewise playoff-bound South Kingstown and Bishop Hendricken, respectively.
Portsmouth, which in addition to clinching a bid also locked in the third seed from the I-A side of the playoff draw, closes out its regular season Friday night, Nov. 4, at home against Cumberland in its lone crossover game against a team from the I-B ranks.
For East Providence, the defeat left the Townies with a 2-4 record and no path to the postseason after St. Raphael beat Cranston West, 13-0, Friday. The Saints improved to 3-3, including a 41-14 win over the locals. E.P. needed to defeat Portsmouth and have St. Ray's lose to have any chance of making the playoffs and have its final regular season also on November 4 in a crossover against I-B Cranston East be meaningful. The Townies face the Thunderbolts at Cranston Stadium at 7 p.m.
Last Friday, the Patriots scored early and often to lead 14-7 at the end of the first quarter and then hold a 28-7 edge approaching intermission, but the Townies made things a bit interesting just before the break. E.P. quarterback Ryan Ellinwood connected with running back Dion Hazard for a 30-yard touchdown strike. Ellinwood lofted a pass toward the front pylon at the goal line of the end zone and Hazard out-jumped a Pats' defender for the score. Hazard also accounted for the Townies' other TD in the first period on a long run.
Portsmouth, however, blunted any momentum the hosts may have had coming out of the locker room by driving down the field to the end its first possession of the third quarter. Pats' QB Sean Coyne set up the score with a quick pass over the middle for a significant gain before running back Alexander Khalfayan covered the final nine yards to put the visitors back on top by a comfortable 35-13 margin.