Providence seeks to keep Rice grounded

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Two weeks ago, Brother Rice senior quarterback Matt Page completed 30-of-47 passes for more than 400 yards in a 23-21 Catholic Blue victory over St. Rita.

Last week, while Providence blanked St. Rita 14-0, Brother Rice was steamrolled by Mount Carmel 56-7.

All of which adds intrigue to Friday night’s Herald-News Season Pass Spotlight Game between the Crusaders (3-2, 1-1) and visiting Celtics (4-1, 1-1). Brother Rice has won the last two meetings, including a 38-31, two-overtime thriller last year.

“I don’t know whether it’s a good or bad time to be catching them,” said Providence coach Mark Coglianese, who like Celtics offensive coordinator Bill Green is a Brother Rice graduate. “From what we saw of them against St. Rita, we’re concerned.

“Mount Carmel was just so much more physical. Hopefully we can do the same thing against them. They spread it out offensively. Our defense hasn’t seen an offense like that.”

Brother Rice first-year coach Brian Badke said there were factors that played into the blowout loss to Mount Carmel.

“We were banged up and they have a lot of speed,” he said. “It was 14-7 late in the first quarter, we turned the ball over on an onside kick … really, we had three bad series in a row and before we knew it, we were down 35-7. It’s tough to bounce back from that.”

What about Providence?

“They’re very well balanced,” Badke said. “They have a good running game. They’re physical and their quarterback (junior Dominic Lagone) is getting better every week.”

“(Lagone) is doing a good job running our offense and getting the ball in the hands of our playmakers,” Coglianese said. “He’s doing a good job running it himself.”

Page has thrown for 1,413 yards and will challenge a Providence secondary that helped limit St. Rita to 78 total yards and three first downs.

“This is a gut-check time for our defense,” Coglianese said. “Defense is our strength. But St. Rita is a running team. This will be totally different.”

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