Archive - Sep 2011 - Sports Article
The first weekend of league play in Rhode Island football provided a hint of what to expect in the season ahead from local teams.
In a most evenly-matched contest, Tolman High outlasted St. Raphael Academy 22-14 on Friday night. The Tigers are coming off a 2010 season in which they lost in the Division II Super Bowl to two-time champion Woonsocket.
The Villa Novans, meanwhile, laid an egg in their opener on Saturday, losing to Pilgrim, 18-7.
FOXBORO â Vince Wilfork was having a playful conversation with Pepper Johnson a couple weeks ago when a most unlikely topic arose.
âMan, I might end my career without an interception,â Wilfork told his defensive line coach.
Wilfork then asked a fellow defensive lineman if heâd ever reeled in a pick.
âNope, never had one,â the teammate replied.
Well, in addition to the Patriotsâ 35-21 victory over the Chargers at Gillette Stadium, Wilfork had extra cause to celebrate on Sunday.
When it comes to that first NFL interception, heâs officially off the schneid.
PROVIDENCE â The training has been going well, but the weekly mileage is about a third of what heâs accustomed to.
Nursing a knee injury for the better part of the year, a stress fracture that has derailed his training targeted towards a possible trip to the U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials, Roland Lavallee wasnât looking at setting any kind of PRs at the CVS Caremark Downtown 5K. He was just at Sundayâs race to help his teammates and test his legs on the five-kilometer course.
The results were satisfying.
PAWTUCKET â This is a victory that Cumberland High soon wonât forget.
Boasted by a strong defense that came up huge when it mattered most, Cumberland held on for a 14-7 final against Shea High in the Division II-A for both schools Friday night at Max Read Field. The Clippers scored the go-ahead touchdown early in the fourth quarter behind a one-yard run by Ryan Gaumond â one of two in the contest â before surviving a frantic finish in which the Raiders let a first-and-goal opportunity at the Cumberland 4 with less than a minute remaining slip through their grasp.
PAWTUCKET â In one of the greatest games ever played between Tolman and St. Raphael Academy during their 82-year rivalry, the Tigers rallied on Friday night for a 22-14 Division II victory over the Saints at Pariseau Field.
WOONSOCKET â Lincoln High was a state runner-up last year in Division II and lost five players from that squad, but it has a solid nucleus that has come back.
After back-to-back state crowns in Div. IV, Woonsocket was moved up two divisions last fall and struggled with just one victory. This seasonâs team has some talented players, but is still fairly young.
FOXBORO --â Devin McCourty heard the same question a year ago.
âDo you think theyâll challenge you deep?â
Even after a Pro Bowl rookie season from the cornerback out of Rutgers, it seems McCourty will once again be a target of opposing offenses in 2011.
The Patriotsâ 2010 first-round draft pick totaled seven interceptions last season, tied for the second most in the NFL and one behind the Ravensâ Ed Reed for the league lead.
It would stand to reason, then, that quarterbacks might not be so eager to throw passes in McCourtyâs direction this year.
Think again, McCourty says.
Most folks around Pawtucket are expecting Tolman High to handle crosstown foe St. Raphael Academy with ease on Friday night in their Division II-B opener at Pariseau Field, and those people have their reasons.
They remember last seasonâs 37-0 regular-season stomping by the Tigers and Tolmanâs two-touchdown triumph over the Saints in the playoffs. They know that the Tigers have a seasoned junior- and senior-ladened team and the Saints lost quite a few key players to graduation.
PROVIDENCE - Besides looking at the thousands of runners and walkers lined on Francis Street for the start of the CVS Caremark Downtown 5K, thereâs something else that puts a smile on the face of race director Charlie Breagy.
Itâs good weather.
Carnell Henderson is aware of the burden heâs placed on his Woonsocket assistant coaches. The head coach, who continues to come along after undergoing surgery in early August to repair a torn tendon in quadriceps muscle of his left leg, knows that just like the players have to step up their game whenever thereâs an absence, so too does his staff.
The idea is to keep things as close to the status quo as possible until Henderson returns to the sidelines, which he is optimistic will happen this season.
PAWTUCKET â Seems like everyone is in agreement. Shea High once again has an extremely talented soccer team.
âShea is the best team in the state in terms of skills,â Providence Country Day coach Stacey DeCastro admitted on Monday after his shorthanded team dropped a one-sided 6-1 verdict to the Raiders.
âThere is one thing about Shea,â DeCastro added. âThe only one that can beat them is themselves. Sometimes they forget what they do best. I thought they were too casual today on our one goal.â
If you blinked, chances are you missed out seeing the Pawtucket Red Sox in the 2011 Governorsâ Cup playoffs. The three-game sweep administered by Lehigh Valley was that fleeting.
In a weekâs time the PawSox went from mighty division champs to postseason wallflowers. One Saturday night, theyâre basking in the glow of winning the I.L. North. The next Saturday sees the clubhouse resemble that of a funeral parlor, with players quietly exchanging farewell handshakes and hugs while gathering up their personal belongings for the trip back home.
PAWTUCKET â With the season now over for the Pawtucket Red Sox, several players and coaches now set their sights on the winter ball addresses theyâll hold from October through New Yearâs.
After spending a few weeks catching up on rest and letting the body recover from the grind of a long season, many of the PawSoxâ players will depart for warmer climates, utilizing the opportunity to further augment oneâs skills or put extra cash in oneâs pocket.
Jim Doyle was among the several hundred runners, walkers and family members at the Bryant University campus on Saturday at the Shawn M. Nassaney Memorial Cross Country Race/Walk. He was there to remember his former runner, who died tragically in the 9/11 terrorist attacks along with his girlfriend Lynn Goodchild.
PAWTUCKET â Thatâs all she wrote for the 2011 edition of the Pawtucket Red Sox.
Pawtucket concluded its meek showing in the Governorsâ Cup playoffs with a lackluster 3-1 loss to Lehigh Valley Saturday night at McCoy Stadium. The three-game sweep pushes the IronPigs into the finals where they will face defending champion Columbus.
Pawtucket led just once in the entire series â1-0 after the first inning of the second game â and wound up hitting 3-for-26 with runners in scoring position, including a hitless showing in six opportunities in Game 3. Collectively the PawSox hit .180.
LINCOLN â Lincoln and Shea opened their respective 2011 seasons with a non-league tilt at Ferguson Field on Friday night, a game that validated why these team were once Thanksgiving Day rivals.
The Raiders erased a 14-point halftime deficit with a pair of rushing touchdowns and two-point conversions to edge the Lions, 22-20.
The teams played on Thanksgiving from 1968-2001, with the Lions holding a 17-16-1 advantage in those games. Shea rolled to a 29-14 victory over Lincoln in last yearâs season opener, but this one was much more competitive.
PAWTUCKET â In a contest that went down the final snap, Barrington High held on for a 19-13 non-league win against Tolman High Friday night at Max Read Field.
It was a game in which no lead was completely safe. The Tigers pulled ahead 13-12 with 1:03 left after Rodney Jean-Pierre plunged in from a yard out.
All the good vibrations running up and down the Tolman sideline quickly went out the window, as Barringtonâs Adam Hadley took the ensuing kickoff 93 yards.
ALLENTOWN, Pa. --- For the second night in a row, the Pawtucket Red Sox struggled with runners in scoring position and it proved to be their undoing as they fell to the Lehigh Valley IronPigs 3-2 in 10 innings.
The loss puts the PawSox down two games to none as the International League Semifinal Series shifts back to McCoy Stadium.
Ex-PawSox prospect Brandon Moss had a big night, knocking in all three runs with a homer, double and single in the 10th inning that brought home the game-winner off reliever Randy Williams.
EAST PROVIDENCE --- Jalin Braxton and East Providence High ran away with this season opener.
The Second-Team All-State fullback picked up 153 yards and a pair of long touchdowns on 11 first-half carries on Friday night to guide the Townies to a convincing 42-0 non-league victory over Woonsocket High at Pierce Field.
The Townies scored on each of their first four possessions of the contest and ended the opening half with 255 yards on the ground and a 28-0 command.
ALLENTOWN, Penn. â Coming into Thursday nightâs game, the IronPigs had gone a franchise-high 88 2/3 innings without a home run.
Pawtucket starter Matt Fox also had a streak of 26 straight innings without giving up a home run, so obviously, it would be home runs that would sink the PawSox 4-2 in their International League semifinal-round series opener against Lehigh Valley.