North football ends great season with loss in the semi-finals
The North Kingstown High School football team ended their season on Tuesday night with a tough loss to undefeated La Salle in the state semifinals. With a regular season record of 8-3, North went into the game determined to challenge La Salle and show them how they improved since their first meeting earlier in the season.
"It was a great game. Our kids left everything they had on the field and played hard to the last whistle," Head Coach Keith Kenyon said.
Before the game, islander and senior Ryan McDermott said, "La Salle is a good team and we think we have a good game plan for them. We just have to go out there for 48 minutes and execute."
Jamestown senior Ryan Morris said, "We are trying a lot of new things. Over the course of the year we have gotten a lot better. When we first played them we weren't at our best. Now we will be sharper and we have bonded over the past few weeks. The coaches are excited, they believe in us and we believe in ourselves. They are pretty fired up about the game."
Although North lost 41-20, with five minutes left in the fourth quarter the score was 26-20 and the Skippers were driving to get ahead. After two calls against North that brought players and coaches to their feet, La Salle pulled away late to seal the victory.
"It was a very successful season. We are 8-3 overall and played the best team in the state in the semis. We lost our three games early to the teams ahead of us in the standings, but all of the games were close. We have 22 seniors that have been the glue that has held our team together. They are close friends and enjoy playing football together," Kenyon said, adding, "They will leave having qualified for the playoffs in three of their four years."
Of those 22 seniors, seven are from Jamestown and some have played football and other sports together since preschool.
"It has been a great season. We have a great team, especially the core group of seniors. We have a pretty strong group from Jamestown. There is a lot of good leadership and we were all focused on one goal and that was getting to the state championship by taking one game at a time," Senior Brian McDevitt said.
"We had a lot of fun and this season has been great and the team has done well. I played with my friends and we just had a good time this year," Morris said.
Kenyon had great things to say about two of his captains, McDevitt and Morris. "Brian McDevitt is one of the hardest working players I have ever coached. He is a great role model for our younger players. Ryan Morris is the best punter I ever coached and also had some of the best hands as a tight end."
Kenyon said he was proud of all of the seniors from Jamestown. "Dom Anderson started all year at our weak side tight end and was one of the best reach blockers I have ever coached. Ryan McDermott was an unsung hero of our team and one of our best leaders. Alex Seidler started at defensive back in every game. He is an outstanding person and one of the top academic students in his class," the coach said.
"Tyler Chesher did not play much varsity football but his impact was felt as a member of our scout team simulating our opponents' offense and defense. Our players respect Tyler for his role on our team and his competitiveness. Nate Vigneault played football for the first time as a senior. Although he played special teams on our varsity he became one of our top JV players and leading scorers," Kenyon added.
McDevitt said, "Alex (Seidler), Ryan Morris, Ryan McDermott, Dom (Anderson) and I have been best friends since third grade. The five of us plus Tyler (Chesher) have been playing since our freshman year and Nate jumped in this year."
With only two weeks left in the season, Coach Kenyon informed his team that this would be his last season coaching varsity football at the high school. Before the game against La Salle McDevitt said, "It is our last year but it is Kenyon's last year coaching as well. That just makes it all the more special for us to know that he respects us and likes us enough to want to go out with our senior class."
McDevitt can't say enough about his teammates this season. "It is great to line up in the huddle and look around and see your best friends staring back at you; it has been a really good time."