Tiverton cruises to 47-8 rout of Toll Gate

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The Toll Titans were trounced on Monday night during senior night by the Tiverton Tigers 47-8 at Warwick Vets Junior High School during a Division IV football battle.

Tiverton was led by junior quarterback Matthew Gacioch, who rushed for three touchdowns and threw two, both to senior wide receiver Logan Beattie and junior running back Nate Upchurch, who tallied two on the ground.

The Tigers got the ball at the Toll Gate 28 after Tiverton senior Daniel Garde made an interception, midway through the first quarter.

That drive ended with Gacioch connecting on a 5-yard touchdown pass to Beattie for a 6-0 lead. Next, Gacioch rushed a keeper into pay dirt for the two-point conversion and that put the Tigers up 8-0.

Tiverton got the ball back after forcing Toll Gate into a three-and-out during its ensuing possession. A poor blocking effort allowed Tiverton to rush the punter and Michael Negri’s kick sailed out of bounds at the Titans 38 where the Tigers would take over.

Tiverton took a 14-0 advantage on the first play of the second quarter when Gacioch ran a keeper into pay dirt from 13 yards out.

The Tigers added to their cushion midway through the second quarter when they marched 64 yards down the field and took a 20-0 lead. That drive was capped by a 22-yard pass completion from Gacioch to Upchurch, who took it to the Titans 25 and set up a 10-yard rushing touchdown for Gacioch.

Then, with Toll Gate pushed back to its own 5 on a 2nd-and-long, Titans quarterback Greyson Pasquina pitched the ball to Negri and he heaved it to junior wide receiver Anthony Shaw, who took it to the Tigers 20. A roughing the passer penalty was added to the end of that play, which gave Toll Gate the ball at the Tiverton 9. On a 3rd-and-goal from the 4, Negri rushed in for the touchdown and pulled the Titans within 20-6 with 2:53 left in the first half. Negri also ran in the PAT and made it 20-8.

“Michael’s great,” Toll Gate head coach James Stringfellow said. “Michael did a good job. He stepped up for us when he made that pass. It was a great pass. Michael’s an all-around player. We needed someone to step up and he was the guy that did it.”

Pasquina, the team’s starting quarterback left the game around that time after suffering an injury, so Negri took over as the signal caller.

“He took a late hit, two plays after that halfback pass and he got hurt, so we decided to keep him out of the rest of the game,” Stringfellow said.

Pasquina should be healthy enough to roll this weekend, but the team may choose to keep him out another week to rest because the offense played well with Negri as the signal caller.

Tiverton started its ensuing drive from its own 40 and on first down, Gacioch threw a 48-yard bomb to Beattie to the Toll Gate 12. Then, on the next play, Upchurch rushed left, 12 yards and into the endzone and extended the Tigers advantage to 26-8 with 2:39 left in the second quarter.

The Tigers received the second half opening kickoff to its own 45. Then on 2nd-and-9, Gacioch escaped an attempted sack from Toll Gate’s Ethan Durand and heaved a 54-yard bomb to Beattie, who was on his way to pay dirt and that increased the Tigers lead to 34-8.

Again, Tiverton forced Toll Gate into a three-and-out before taking over at the Toll Gate 45. Upchurch ran left down the sideline on second down and into pay dirt from 53 yards out and extended the Tigers’ cushion to 40-8 with 6:53 left in the third quarter.

After another Toll Gate three-and-out, the Titans had a bad snap which forced Negri to throw the ball instead of a punt and it was picked off by Upchurch, who returned it to the Toll Gate 27. Then on 2nd-and-3, Gacioch rushed a keeper 22 yards into the house and ballooned the Tiverton lead to 47-8.  

Stringfellow hopes to get a better effort from his team when they head to Exeter West Greenwich High School to take on the Scarlet Knights (0-6) on Saturday afternoon for their last league game which has playoff implications.

“Playing on Saturday and moving it to Monday was kind of a drag,” Stringfellow said. “You get all hyped up all week to play on Saturday and then it gets canceled because of the weather and now you’ve got to wait two more days, trying to get them hyped. You do a walk-through on Saturday, the day of the game, and then you’ve got the day off and then you have the game. So, it was a little hard getting them up.”

“So hopefully we can get through the week, fix our injuries and get right back out there on Saturday,” Stringfellow continued. “Hopefully, we get the W and if we get the win then we’re in the playoffs.”

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