PORTSMOUTH – All good things must come to an end, and right now time is running out for this year’s senior Portsmouth High School football team.
Sure, the Patriots wanted to play for a state championship, but when they lost to Bishop Hendricken in the regular season finals and those hopes were dashed, they made it their goal to extend the season as well. as long as possible in the Division I tournament.
Portsmouth took that first step on Friday night by hitting Shea 48-14.
As tasty as this victory was, it was also bittersweet. If Cumberland beats East Greenwich on Saturday, and based on the seeds, Portsmouth will head north to face the Clippers in the second round.
That means Ben hurd, Marcus evans, Gavin Bicho and the rest of the 2022 class will never perform at John F. Kennedy Field again in their bright red jerseys. They will be on the White road for the remainder of the playoffs and the annual Thanksgiving game against Middletown.
So it’s all over.
“I think about it when I drive to high school before the game,” Bicho said. “It’s like, fuck, there’s eight weeks, six weeks, four weeks left. Now we have four potential games left, and that’s something that has gone by so quickly.
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Portsmouth head coach Dustin Almeida said the Homecoming game victory over East Greenwich on October 9 really touched the house because “this is the last Homecoming”.
“I’ll be honest, we don’t want this to end,” Almeida said. “It was the subject of a lot of discussion in the locker room and in training. Let’s keep this thing going, and that’s what we’re trying to do.
This group of seniors have been together since the days of Pop Warner, training like children in the shadow of this college field, dreaming of one day of hosting a trophy together.
For now, that’s the only goal.
“We’ve dreamed of this since we were kids – winning a championship,” Bicho said. “It’s not the state championship, but it’s Division I and that’s what we’re determined to win. That’s what we grew up on, that’s what we always talked about, going to high school and winning a championship. And I think no one wants anything less than that.
When it became clear that Portsmouth wouldn’t be part of the State Championship tournament, Almeida channeled his inner Bill Belichick – that’s what it is. His players had to refocus on the task at hand, and that was beyond Shea in the first round of the Division I tournament.
It happened with very little resistance.
Portsmouth led 17-0 after the first quarter, 34-7 at halftime and 41-7 in three quarters. The defense gave the Patriots a boost – and a few short fields – as Evan Beese passed a pass on Shea’s opener and Luc Brennan recovered a fumble.
“I always thought the defense was good, but in the last couple of weeks they’ve taken it to the next level and you can see it,” Almeida said.
World quarterback Ben Hurd didn’t have to be great on Friday night, but he was anyway. He gained 54 rushing yards in nine carries and joined Beese on a 45-yard touchdown run to open the third quarter. In defense, he caught a pass.
Oh, and he also worked his way through the Raiders on a 72-yard punt return for a score. “I told our special teams coach I was going to get a punt return if they shot me today, and it just happened,” said Hurd.
Carson Conheeny took off for a 94-yard touchdown getaway in the second quarter, Evans hit the end zone on a 1-yard run, Beese took a 24-yard home run and Brennan scored on a 9-yard run. yards.
Kicker Andrew Perry was perfect on the night, scoring 29- and 25-yard field goals and going 6 for 6 on extra point attempts.
Now the Portsmouth seniors continue their march towards victory in this championship and try to enjoy these last games together.
“Now, how long can we keep playing together? It is what it is, ”said Hurd.