Rhode Island team can’t slow down Catholic Memorial

The message is always the same when playing Catholic Memorial. Don’t let the Knights big-play you to death, and maybe you have a shot.

The first time someone successfully executes that strategy, it will be a noteworthy event.

Visiting Bishop Hendricken (R.I.) had moments of promise Friday night, but CM rudely slammed the door on any ideas of an out-of-state upset. The Knights rolled to a 48-6 victory to improve to 3-0. Hendricken drops to 3-2 with the defeat.

“It’s just fun,” said CM running back Carson Harwood. “It’s fun on the sidelines when I’m taking a break, to watch. It’s just really fun.”

Harwood maybe had the most fun of anyone, as he rushed for two touchdowns and caught a third. He finished with 91 yards on six carries, and caught three passes for 75 yards.

His backfield mate, Datrell Jones, rushed for 94 yards and a touchdown on five carries. The Knights also had two non-offensive touchdowns — a 45-yard punt return for a score by Jaedn Skeete, and a 30-yard interception return by David Afogho — both in the first quarter as CM built a 21-0 lead in the opening 12 minutes.

“I do (like the mentality of this team). I like these kids,” CM coach John DiBiaso said. “They practice very hard. (Defensive end) Boubacar (Traore) was the leader and the heart and soul of it. He’s a very focused and dedicated kid. He’s a great leader, also.”

Traore was injured early Friday night and did not return.

It looked like CM would run away early, as the Skeete and Afogho scores sandwiched around a 12-yard Harwood rush to get the big early lead.

“He’s absolutely as legit as it gets,” DiBiaso said of Harwood.

But Hendricken fought back, and chewed up most of the second quarter with a methodical ground game. Oscar Weah (74 yards rushing on 19 carries) scored from 3 yards out and CM only led, 21-6, at the half.

That was the last of Hendricken’s momentum, though. On the first drive of the third quarter, Petrongolo hit Harwood over the middle for a 47-yard touchdown. Harwood struck again when CM got it back with a 43-yard touchdown rush over left end. Jones then added. 55-yarder, and the backups played the rest of the way.

CM completed the scoring with a 45-yard touchdown run from Mekhi Dodd.

“We went into this game, we knew what we were facing,” Hendricken coach Keith Croft said. “We wanted to close the gap a little bit from last year. I’m so proud of my kids and coaches. They battled extremely hard. I don’t think the score is indicative of the way we played. A team like this, they’re just going to kill you with big plays. They’ve got more athletes than you, that’s what happened.”