Archive - Nov 2010 - Sports Article
Gearing up for Tuesdayâs push to the Super Bowl âŠ
Making fundamental changes to a football teamâs strategy this late in the season is a radical move. Tweaking is the preferred action of coaches, applying a new wrinkle or two depending on the next opponent. Generally what has worked up until this point is going to continue â unless something unforeseen happens.
At this time of the year, many college and high school football teams compete against traditional Thanksgiving opponents. We call them rivalry games, contests that are played for âbragging rightsâ and even, in rare cases, for league championships.
The advent of playoffs has diminished these games over the years. In college ball, radical reformers want to take it one step farther, creating a national championship for Division I teams that would completely dilute the meaning of bowl games while also extending the season deep into January or even into the first weekend of February.
EAST PROVIDENCE â Itâs hard to boil down four quarters of action into two calls that werenât on the side of Sandy Gorham and his East Providence Townies. Listen to Gorham, however, and it became clear that the two judgment calls by the officiating crew played a big part in La Salle Academy waltzing out of Pierce Stadium with a 14-6 win on Thursday morning before an estimated crowd of 3,000.
PAWTUCKET â There was no quit in Freddy Gobewole.
On a night in which his heart was his biggest ally, Gobewole willed his way to a 16-yard score with 46.7 seconds remaining. That snapped a 7-7 game and gave Shea an eventual 14-7 triumph over semifinal-bound Tolman Wednesday night at student-dominated crowd at Max Read Field. The Raiders lead the holiday series by a 5-4 count.
PAWTUCKET -- This wasnât a three-hour barnburner, nor was it as high-scoring as their memorable Division II quarterfinal-round playoff game that transpired 11 days ago.
Instead, the inaugural Thanksgiving Eve showdown between St. Raphael Academy and Johnston High turned into a letdown by the Saints, who turned in a lackluster showing in a 30-6 loss to the Panthers at McCoy Stadium.
EAST PROVIDENCE â Sandy Gorham has the sentiment of the holiday season down pat â from a football perspective, of course. The veteran East Providence High head coach is thankful that his Townies donât have the playoffs-at-stake drama thatâs hovering over La Salle Academy heading into Thursdayâs renewal of the longest running holiday sports rivalry between any two Rhode Island high schools.
Thereâs no need to panic over the Red Sox losing Victor Martinez to Detroit in a free agent signing on Tuesday. The Red Sox will find a catcher somewhere. It would be better if they could develop one through their farm system but their best prospect is at least two years away from competing for a big league job.
PAWTUCKET -â Itâs just a natural fit, having Tolman and Shea as Thanksgiving rivals. The holiday series may still be in its early stages â Wednesday night at Max Read Field marks the ninth installment, with each side winning four â but the way the two sides appreciate what the game truly means, itâs as if the Tigers and Raiders have been doing this for many moons.
For that, the credit belongs to the two men responsible for shepherding the programs: Tolmanâs Dave Caito and Dino Campopiano of Shea.
PAWTUCKET â Itâs a long journey from early September to late November for most football teams. Very few have covered as much distance as the 2010 St. Raphael Academy football team.
The Saints, who dropped down from Division I this year, opened their Division II-B season with a 37-0 loss to Tolman that had been a long time in the making for the Tigers, who were on a mission that night. Two weeks later, the Saints dropped a 16-0 decision to Woonsocket and seemed dead in the water.
LINCOLN â Dave Waycott is currently bouncing around the same dilemma 14 other playoff-bound head coaches around the state are pondering as they prepare for their respective Thanksgiving matchups.
âDo you play (your players) to keep them sharp or rest them to avoid getting hurt?â the Lincoln head coach asked. âIâve been going back and forth with this. I havenât really decided what weâre going to do when we play them.â
CENTRAL FALLS â Mo Jackson has endured only a few rebuilding years during a decade-plus tenure as the head coach of Central Falls, but youâd be hard-pressed to find any of those seasons as difficult as this one.
With just four returnees and a wealth of first-year players and junior varsity call-ups at his disposal, Jackson saw his inexperienced squad battle through a lot of growing pains and wrap up its Division IV season with a 2-6 record.
PROVIDENCE â Marshon Brooks had his fill of Morgan State by the time he reported to the Dunkinâ Donuts Center on Thursday afternoon. Thatâs why the Providence College senior wanted to make sure that the rest of the Friars knew that the Bears were no slouch.
âWe hear it from the fans, from Facebook, that Morgan State is no joke and that theyâve been to the NCAA Tournament the last two years,â said Brooks. âIt was a different atmosphere.â
CUMBERLAND â Cumberland High was officially eliminated from postseason play in Division II back on Oct. 29 when it lost to Central High at Conley Stadium.
Since that 19-6 defeat to the Knights, the Clippers have reeled off two straight victories â a narrow 9-0 shutout of Coventry High and a 31-6 rout of Ponaganset High in a consolation game last Friday.
PROVIDENCE â Wilder Arboleda demonstrated the proper way of turning the page Thursday afternoon as Providence College routed St. Peterâs of New Jersey, 6-2, in the first round of the NCAA Division I Menâs Soccer Tournament.
Arboleda, a Pawtucket native and Tolman High graduate, tallied two goals as the Friars travel to face No. 16 Ohio State this Sunday afternoon in the second round.
Thereâs a lot to like about Carl Crawford and Jayson Werth, two of the most desired names currently dangling on the free-agent market. If you are a general manager like Theo Epstein, which all-star outfielder do you break the bank for?
Itâs a question Davey Lopes is glad he doesnât have to answer. Reached earlier this week, Lopes, the East Providence native with 38 years of baseball experience at his fingertips, was asked to debate and dissect the merits of Werth and Crawford.
Coaches canât look past their next opponent. Sports writers shouldnât, either. But sometimes the temptation to look down the road is just too enticing.
When it comes to local high school football, whatâs next is a two-day slate of Thanksgiving contests, which are ârivalryâ games with not much at stake âŠ except for East Providenceâs game against La Salle on Thanksgiving morning. E.P. is already in the Division I playoff field. La Salle needs a win to gain the fourth and final playoff berth over Barrington.
PAWTUCKET â The Division II semifinal playoff game between Tolman and St. Raphael Academy will be played at Max Read Field, Tigersâ athletic director John Scanlon revealed on Wednesday.
âPariseau Field is pretty chewed up,â Scanlon said, talking about the original site of the Nov. 30 contest. Pariseau is the home field for both Tolman and St. Raphael during the regular season. The Darlington Bravesâ youth football program also uses the facility.
Alyssa McCoart and Nicole Silva play softball in arguably the toughest division in Rhode Island â the Division I-North circuit â but after next spring, the competitionâs going to get a whole lot tougher for these local senior standouts.
Thatâs because the Lincoln High first baseman/pitcher and Mount St. Charles Academy third baseman, who are very good friends who have known each other since the eighth grade, will be taking their talents to the Division I collegiate level, and they made that official last week by signing National Letters of Intent to their respective schools.
The Division II football playoffs usually provide the most interesting competition every season when Rhode Island teams begin competing for Super Bowl berths.
D-II holds a big advantage over the other three divisions because it is the stateâs largest league (16 teams). It invites eight teams to the playoffs instead of the four we find in other divisions. Its quarterfinals are held in the second week of November while the regular season is still going on elsewhere.
PROVIDENCE â The scoreboard doesnât always tell the true story of a soccer game.
That may have been the case on Sunday as darkness enveloped the R.I. College soccer field while Lincoln and Exeter/West Greenwich battled through a tense Division II state championship final.
When the final whistle sounded, EWG celebrated a 2-1 victory over the gallant Lions, who hung tough in a game that saw the Scarlet Knights own a 24-10 advantage in shots on goal.