Johnston 12U team improves its undefeated record

Johnston Sun Rise ·

If the Johnston Football League’s 12U Panthers beat the North Providence Jets Sunday at 2 p.m. at Mayor Joseph M. Polisena Stadium, they’ll complete the regular season with a sparkling 9-0 record.

If the Panthers’ arch-rival Providence 49ers win their American Youth Football League in-season finale Sunday, they’ll also finish with an unblemished 8-0 record.

If that scenario surfaces, the two teams will have to have a coin flip to determine the first and second seeds in the upcoming Blackstone Valley Division postseason playoffs.

There’s yet another “if” in the two teams’ equation.

A year ago, you see, the 49ers – which play their home games at legendary City Stadium located on the grounds at Mount Pleasant High and where the once-famed Providence Steamroller pro football club played – lost all their equipment due to a fire that ripped through the team’s storage facility.

So, Panthers’ President and 12U Head Coach Gary Salzillo, responding to the needs of youth like he has done through the years, polled officials of the Johnston Youth Football League about giving the youth group’s old equipment to the 49ers.

“They lost all their equipment in the fire,” Salzillo related. “We all felt it was the right thing to do so their kids could have a football season just like our kids enjoyed.”

The vote was unanimous and the Providence pack was able to have a season. Now, the two 12U teams are on a collision course as far as the postseason playoffs are concerned and Salzillo said seedings and opponents will be made once Sunday’s regular-season final games are played.

Johnston, meanwhile, racked up its eighth successive win – a 32-6 victory vs. the Norton Black Knights from Massachusetts – to remain undefeated.

The prolific Panthers did so, defensive coordinator Phil Morin noted, by “racking up 276 yards and scoring five touchdowns while limiting Norton’s offense to just 48 total yards on the day.”

On its first offensive series, Johnston needed only four plays to go 46 yards for its first touchdown by Brendan Parsons, who only carried the pigskin four times yet picked up 101 yards in total rushing. He also scored another touchdown during the game.

The Panthers’ second score came via a super defensive effort from the Johnston defense that forced another Black Knights punt that Dylan Martins returned 55 yards for the touchdown, courtesy of a good comeback block by Michael Salzillo that enabled Martins to spring free and score.

Parsons, who has rushed for over 100 yards in each of Johnston’s eight games, added another tally via an impressive 65-yard run that made the score 18-0. On Johnston’s fifth offensive series, Nicholas Baccala needed only two plays to cover 86 yards to make it 24-0 Panthers.

Hudson Carvalho then closed out Johnston’s scoring, bolting 36 yards for his first touchdown of the season.

Johnston’s defense was again strong and got solid efforts from Nick Keller, Eli Williams, Rafael Aryiyan, Armand Decosta, Alex Fedorchluck, Alex Morin, Roberto Martinez, Mason Mangiante, Vinny Campanella, Adrian Orellana, Gian Tortelani, Anthony Abbruzzi, Michael Laflame, Parsons, Baccala, Jesse Pascetta, Dillon So, NeAri Vasquez, Michael Salzillo, Joe Forte, Israel Hiraldo, TJ Leomensah, Martins, Kyle D’Allesandro, Aiden Larivieri and JJ Pincence.


Johnston 8U team moves to 7-1


The Johnston 8U Panthers hiked their record to 7-1 via a 14-7 overtime win against the Norton Black Knights.

With the score knotted at 7 and the game in overtime, a super run by Johnny Costa – who scored Johnston’s first touchdown via a super 55-yard run – set up a 1-yard touchdown plunge by quarterback Willy Ferrara to produce the Panthers’ margin of victory.

The win was Johnston’s sixth straight and was bolstered by the solid defensive play of Jaydin Rodriguez. The Panthers will host Fairlawn this Sunday at Mayor Joseph M. Polisena Stadium. Kickoff is at 9:30 a.m.

Sunday’s schedule includes a total of six games that will run concurrently from 8:30 a.m., when Johnston’s flag team hosts area-rival Exeter/West Greenwich.