PORTSMOUTH — In a matchup of two Super Bowl finalists, the Portsmouth Patriots proved to be the superior team with a 20-0 shutout of island rival Middletown in the annual Thanksgiving Day …
PORTSMOUTH — In a matchup of two Super Bowl finalists, the Portsmouth Patriots proved to be the superior team with a 20-0 shutout of island rival Middletown in the annual Thanksgiving Day game on Thursday.
Portsmouth was beaten by St. Raphael Academy in the Division II Super Bowl on Nov. 19, while Middletown lost to Moses Brown in the Division III Super Bowl that same day.
The Patriots’ Neal Tullson had a hand in all three of his team’s touchdowns in the contest, which was played on Portsmouth’s turf field.
In the first half, he ran the ball 15 yards into the end zone. George Smith’s extra point was good, making it 7-0 Portsmouth.
Midway through the third quarter, Tullson burst into the end zone again, making it 14-0 Portsmouth after Smith’s successful point-after attempt.
Then with about 3:30 left in the game, Tullson passed to Tyler Hurd for a successful five-yard TD conversion. Smith’s extra point attempt was blocked, and the 20-0 score held until the final whistle.
As usual, Portsmouth’s stout defense created big problems for the Islanders.
With Middletown moving the ball close to the red zone in the second quarter, Carson Conheeny made a great diving interception and Portsmouth took over on its own 12-yard line. The subsequent drive, which featured a 19-yard run by Neal Tullson, ended in a touchdown.
Shortly before the half ended, Smith kicked off and ended up stuffing the returning receiver himself.
In the second half, Dylan Brandariz made life miserable for Middletown quarterback Julien de la Cruz. He and Henry Rodrigues sacked de la Cruz for a loss in the third quarter, and then Brandariz did it again shortly after for another big loss, forcing Middletown to punt.
Brandariz recorded another sack in the fourth quarter, and seemingly ran for a six-yard touchdown before the play was negated due to a holding call on Portsmouth.
Carson Conheeny had a strong third quarter, with a 35-yard return and two eight-yard runs, both for first downs. Also in that quarter, Shane Harvey was caught in a big scrum, but pushed the pile of Middletown defenders for a gain to set up the Patriots at first and goal.