CRANSTON — Six touchdowns engineered in part by quarterback Sean Coyne propelled the Portsmouth High School football team to a resounding 51-28 win over Central Sunday afternoon, Dec. 4, at Cranston Stadium in the Division I Super Bowl.
During a high-scoring first half, Coyne lead the Patriots to three touchdowns and a 29-14 halftime edge. In the second half, Coyne and Portsmouth’s offense proved to be just too much as they would go onto the 23-point win.
“When we were preparing for this game, we felt like it was going to be a Sean (Coyne) type of game,” Portsmouth head coach Ryan Moniz said. “He picked the most opportune time to have his best of his career.”
To start the game, Central received the ball and Portsmouth’s good run defense forced a fourth and two early. The Knights decided to go for it early at midfield before a false start penalty forced them to punt. On Portsmouth’s first offensive possession, they faced an early third down. Coyne proceeded to scramble to his right and find a wide open Alex Cory for 18 yards.
Just a few plays later, Coyne’s pass was dropped on a third and goal setting up a fourth and goal from just four yards out. Coach Moniz decided to be aggressive early, passing up the short field goal. Coyne proceeded to fake a hand off which fooled the Knights’ defense as he ran it in from four yards out to put Portsmouth up 7-0 early.
Central’s next drive lasted just three plays as Cory made his second big play of the game, coming up with an interception. The Knights proceeded to force a turnover of their own as they forced a fumble with the Patriots driving to begin the second quarter. Ball security continued to be an issue for both teams as Central fumbled the ball right back.
On the very next play, Coyne threw a beautiful 36-yard touchdown pass to put the Patriots up 13-0. Coach Moniz continued to be creative as his team faked the extra point to put the Patriots up 15-0. Central next committed its third turnover of the game to give Portsmouth great field possession. The Patriots were faced with another fourth and short, but this time Central stopped Coyne short of the marker as the Knights took over on downs.
Central answered back as the Knights showed their speed on a 81-yard touchdown pass. The Knights proceeded to attempt a two-point conversion which fell just short as they cut Portsmouth’s lead to 15-6.
The Patriots responded right back as Coyne showed his speed on a 58-yard run. Just one play later, Noah Johnson ran in from just seven yards out. After a successful extra point, Portsmouth lead grew to 22-6 with six minutes until the half.
The high-scoring first half continued as Central responded with a 39-yard TD pass. After s successful two-point conversion, Portsmouth’s lead was struck to 22-14.
The Patriots again had an answer with a big play of their own as Coyne delivered an amazing pass as he was getting hit that went for a 36-yard touchdown. After the PAT, Portsmouth upped their lead to 29-14. Just a couple minutes later, the halftime horn sounded on a half that had over 800 yards of offense with the Patriots up.
To start the second half, Portsmouth fumbled the ball just a couple plays into the drive. Central failed to take advantage of the good field position as they punted just three plays later. Coyne continued to impress in his last game in a Portsmouth uniform as he ran it in from 57 yards out to put the Patriots up 36-14.
On Central’s next drive, the Knights were faced with a big fourth and goal that they converted on due to a seven-yard touchdown pass. After the successful two-point conversion, Portsmouth’s lead was cut to 36-22.
On the Patriots’ next drive, they drove down the field until Coyne earned a one-yard touchdown. After a two-point conversion, Portsmouth found themselves up 44-22 with just under ten minutes left in the game. Despite the score, Central continued to stay in the game as a touchdown run cut the Patriots’ lead to 44-28.
Portsmouth capped off its impressive offensive with another Coyne touchdown run, his sixth of the day, to put the Patriots up by the final margin. Despite one last drive from Central, time ran out with the sun setting, as the sun set on an impressive season for Portsmouth that ended with the Division-I championship trophy.
“Central is a good team so I was surprised with how high scoring it was, but I know our offense can really score,” said Coyne, who was named the game's MVP. “This was a great season.”
For Portsmouth, its season ends with the D-I Super Bowl trophy and an overall record of 10-3. The Patriots went 7-3 in league games, including a quarterfinal playoff win over Cranston East and a semifinal loss to seven-time state champion Hendricken in the semifinals. Central, which made its return to the D-I level with the expansion of the league through realignment, finished its year with a 6-6 overall record, including a loss to state runner-up LaSalle in the semis.
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