NEWPORT — The Rogers High School football team did everything it could to help East Greenwich take full advantage as the Avengers scored a 35-7 win over the Vikings at Toppa Field on Friday night.
Rogers turned the ball over six times — three fumbles lost and three interceptions, the last returned for a touchdown — as the Vikings stumbled from beginning to end in dropping to 2-3 in Division II-A.
“We turned the ball over all night,” Rogers coach Frank Newsome said. “When you do that, it gives the other team extra life, an extra possession and you start chasing.”
While the turnovers definitely hurt, the veteran coach was more displeased with the attitude and effort put forth by his team.
“That was disappointing all the way around. We’re at home and that was embarrassing,” Newsome said. “Two teams show up, and someone is going to get beat. But you can decide how that happens.
“The score has nothing to do with it. I didn’t like what I saw in the end. Hopefully you’re doing this because you love football and you want to play. That was pretty poor how we presented ourselves, since we practice better and we’ve played better. But today we didn’t show up.
“[The next practice] we’re going to weed out. We’ve got to see who’s serious about ending it. Whoever is won’t be at the next game.”
East Greenwich’s Kevin Licciardi ran for two first-half touchdowns, one for 56 yards and the other from 41 yards out. The middle was wide open for Licciardi on his first long scoring run, and he made it to the outside and went down sideline on his second scoring as the Avengers led 14-0 at halftime.
“Neither of those plays should have happened. I’m willing to give anybody credit,” Newsome said. “We just ran ourselves out of the spot on the first one. The other one was on the corner and someone is supposed to be there. The first thing you’re ever taught is to contain. There was no containment.”
Rogers received the second-half kickoff and Darryl Stanton — who ran 15 times for 107 yards in the first half — carried four straight times for 21 yards. The Vikings gained three first downs on the drive before fumbling the ball away.
“There’s a million things we can talk about,” Newsome said. “People lined up wrong. People not going to their blocks. They’re not going to just let us block them. We seem to think that people are just going to let us do something, and this is the result. We’re better than that, but not tonight.”
Rogers fell behind 28-0 after three quarters and finally got on the scoreboard with about eight minutes left in the game. Quarterback Max Newsome threw deep over the middle, and Aziz Hazell hauled in the pass in the end zone for a 41-yard scoring strike.
East Greenwich fumbled the ball to Rogers a few minutes later, but the Vikings gave it right back to the Avengers on the next play on another fumble. Rogers forced the Avengers to punt, and on the first play of the next series, Max Newsome’s pass went off the hands of his receiver and into the hands of East Greenwich’s Jack McMullen. He went 26 yards for the game’s final score.
Stanton finished with 146 rushing yards on 25 carries, while Licciardi had 160 yards on 21 rushes and three touchdowns.
“You’ve got to give them credit,” Newsome said of the Avengers. “In the end, I thought they owned the line of scrimmage. They owned it from the beginning. And if you own the line of scrimmage, you’re going to win the game. I never thought we actually competed and fought back like we were capable. Kids gave in.”