WEST GREENWICH - The message Exeter/West Greenwich head coach Mike Messier gave his players back in August was clear and simple. He told them to play one game at time, but don’t forget what the final goal was – the Super Bowl.
The Scarlet Knights responded this season and with last night’s dominating 42-14 victory over North Providence in the Division IV semifinal game, Exeter/West Greenwich is now one victory away from a Super Bowl title.
“Oh, man,” said Messier, “you don’t know how good this feels right now for these kids. I got excited today just thinking about it and this is just phenomenal.”
With that said the Scarlet Knights’ third-year coach was doused with the celebratory Gatorade dump by his players.
“I knew that was coming,” he said afterwards. “They’ve wanted to do that for awhile now. That’s how exciting it is to be out here.”
Messier has been with the program since 1999, but has served as the head coach for the past three seasons. He has experienced all the peaks and valleys the team has endured, and the hard work has finally paid off.
From the opening kick off last night, the Scarlet Knights dominated. They scored on their first possession of the game and didn’t stop until the final buzzer.
Scarlet Knights senior quarterback Zachary Hornoff threw two touchdowns, connecting both times with senior wide receiver Rick Sheehan. Hornoff also ran for a touchdown, while senior running back Kevin Luczak provided two touchdowns and junior Gibson Fines added one. Luczak connected on all six extra-point kicks.
“This hasn’t even hit me yet,” said Luczak. “I’ve been working so hard to get here for a couple of years now and it’s finally here. It’s a dream come true.”
The Cougars scored all of their 14 points in the final quarter when Michael Rossi ran two touchdowns, and Antonio Folco added a two-point conversion.
“This is an outstanding group of kids,” said Cougars head coach Glenn Williams. “They are respectful on the field and off the field. I’m proud of the contribution they made to this program. They have planted a seed that will continue a tradition, and we’re going to get better each and every year.”
As the Cougars headed to their team bus after the loss, Williams told the players they are a family and that they worked hard.
As the celebration continued on the other side of the field, the Scarlet Knights will be back at practice today to prepare for their up coming Super Bowl opponent. It’s a long way from where this team was just three years ago when it struggled just to win a game.
“It means a lot of people are doing good things and doing those things right,” said Luczak. “Everybody came through and now there’s just one more game to go.”