The Toll Gate Titans walloped the Juanita Sanchez/PCD/Wheeler Football co-op 28-0 on Friday evening during its season opener.
Ethan Durand, a Titans senior, rushed for two touchdowns in the victory. Durand usually plays tight end, but was moved to fullback because the team’s starting running back Kenny Morel was unable to play.
“We moved Ethan to fullback and he did a fantastic job all week,” Toll Gate head coach James Stringfellow said. “Everybody stepped up this week. It was an overall great team win. The coaches prepared for it. They put a lot of work into it and the coaching staff did an outstanding job. Great offensive play calling by Jack (Paliotte), and then Nick (Salois) had a great defensive game shutting them out.”
The Titans found the end zone on their second possession, after Greg Stewart, a defensive tackle, recovered a fumble, which gave Toll Gate the ball at the Juanita Sanchez 21.
On first down, Toll Gate junior quarterback Greyson Pasquina ran a keeper right, 13 yards to the 8. Then, on the next play, Durand rushed it eight yards and into the house and put the Titans on top 6-0.
Durand was denied on his ensuing 2-point conversion attempt, however, keeping the score as such.
Nonetheless, Toll Gate upped its advantage to 12-0 in the second frame when Pasquina tossed a dart 33 yards to Zach DeCorpo, a freshman wide out, for a touchdown.
“A very good addition this year,” Stringfellow said. “We put him in a role where we knew he could succeed and he stepped up to the plate this game. Hopefully he continues doing it the rest of the season.”
Durand rushed in the 2-point conversion after DeCorpo’s score and improved the Titans margin to 14-0.
Then in the third quarter, Juanita Sanchez had the ball at the Toll Gate 32 when on fourth down, quarterback Matt Borden had his throw intercepted by DeCorpo, who returned it down the left sideline all the way to the Juanita Sanchez 5.
Next, Durand rushed five yards up the gut for his second touchdown of the contest and extended the Titans advantage to 20-0.
Lastly, on a fourth-and-long, Pasquina heaved a dime to Anthony Shaw, the senior wide out, for a touchdown and that put the Titans up 26-0.
Then, Pasquina flipped to Christian Rapoza, the senior running back, who ran in the 2-point conversion, and upped the Toll Gate buffer to 28-0.
While Stringfellow was excited his team had earned its first win of the season in the opener, the coach already had his eyes set on North Smithfield/Mount St. Charles Co-op, who his Titans will travel to battle this week at 4:30 p.m.
“It’s good to get the first one under your belt,” Stringfellow said. “And then, we’ve got a lot of work to do next week. We have North Smithfield. North Smithfield is a great team. They’ve always been good. Wes (Pennington) has a good program, so we have to go in on Monday and get ready for Friday’s game.”