Archive - Nov 2013 - Sports Article
Sports editor emeritus
PAWTUCKET â€” Things were looking pretty bleak for Tolman Highâ€™s football squad at halftime of Friday morningâ€™s holiday clash with Shea inside McCoy Stadium. The Tigers trailed 18-0 on the scoreboard. They were missing five starters due to injuries or academic issues, including quarterback/kicker Corey Hughes, one of the Tigersâ€™ co-captains.
PROVIDENCE -- Ed Cooley and his Providence College Friars ended up playing eight games in November. It nevertheless seemed that all took a backseat to the reoccurring storylines and hot topics that remain just as fervent as the calendar flips to the second month of the college basketball season.
WOONSOCKET â€” With the Division II Super Bowl looming a week from Sunday, Cumberland High veteran mentor Chris Skurka took a somewhat conservative approach to the annual Thanksgiving morning clash with Woonsocket on chilly, gusty Thursday.
In an effort not to â€śbreakâ€ť any key spokes in his wheel, he chose not to start senior tailback Mike Stock; he wanted him to get some rest after he rushed for four touchdowns and 145 yards (with one catch for another paydirt) in his Clippers' 49-35 semifinal triumph over St. Raphael last Friday night.
PAWTUCKET â€“ It doesn't matter who you talk to â€“ Tolman High head coach Dave Caito or Shea High mentor Dino Campopiano.
The dear friends and former backfield mates at Johnston High had hoped to muster solid campaigns in their respective leagues, for the Tigers the top tier and the Raiders Division II-B; both, however, suffered from different issues en route.
PROVIDENCE -- St. Raphael Academy head coach Mike Sassi had stated on the evening before his squadâ€™s rather new holiday rivalry game against Moses Brown that â€“ despite the upcoming inclement weather forecast â€“ the two foes would play.
Evidently, the Providence private school didnâ€™t want to go to combat on Thanksgiving Day; perhaps a primary reason being it would have slightly less rest to prepare for a Division III semifinal tilt this coming Tuesday.
LINCOLN â€“ The hope was to blend in as the new kid in a new high school.
But that wasnâ€™t a luxury afforded to Thaddeus Moss, and it didnâ€™t take this precocious young football player long to realize that he wasnâ€™t in Kentucky or West Virginia any more.
Moss arrived at Lincoln High School in March, and the schoolâ€™s lights seemingly became more luminous the moment he was spotted in the hallways. He was commanding nonstop attention, though in an entirely different fashion as what he was accustomed to on the gridiron.
The mystery surrounding where the Division II Super Bowl will take place is no more.
Monday saw the Rhode Island Interscholastic League confirm the bowl sites and times for all four divisions. To date, the only division with a confirmed matchup is Division II, with defending champion Cumberland squaring off against West Warwick.
The Clippers and Wizards will meet Sunday, Dec. 8 at Cranston Stadium. The kickoff is 3 p.m. and will be preceded by the Division I contest, which gets underway at high noon.
LINCOLN â€” In the days leading up to his main event fight on Classic Entertainment & Sports, Inc.â€™s â€śPride & Powerâ€ť card, Peter Manfredo Jr. referred to himself as a boxer who was â€śpast his primeâ€ť and dearly hoped to bring back â€śthe Peter Manfredo Jr. of oldâ€ť one more time.
Not only was Manfredo facing a very tough super middleweight in Lincolnâ€™s Rich Gingras, but he also dedicated his fight to one of his good friends, Cranstonâ€™s Gary Balletto, the former EBA and IBU lightweight champion who was paralyzed from the waist down following an accident at his home in July.
There was nearly an oversight committed as Cumberland and Woonsocket looked to stay the course in the high school football playoff arms race.
Now that the postseason sabers have officially been placed in the Villa Novansâ€™ closet and off to the side for the time being for the Clippers, itâ€™s officially time to talk turkey â€“ as in the annual Thanksgiving Day contest involving these two longtime Blackstone Valley rivals. The latest chapter takes place this Thursday morning with a scheduled 10:30 a.m. kickoff at Woonsocketâ€™s Barry Field.
CUMBERLAND -- Courtesy of a fierce and furious ground attack, Cumberland High not only claimed a thrilling 49-35 victory over St. Raphael Academy in a R.I. Division II semifinal at Tucker Field on Friday night, but also snagged its second consecutive Super Bowl appearance.
Can another title be far behind?
If ever there was a career night posted by a Clipper, junior Mike Stock would own it. While bulling his way to 144 yards and four touchdowns on 29 handles, he added a fifth on an 11-yard scoring toss from classmate and quarterback Tyler Calabro.
PAWTUCKET â€” The saying goes that you can't look ahead without fully understanding where you've been â€“ and why.
Both Cumberland High chief Chris Skurka and St. Raphael Academy mentor Mike Sassi are utilizing that philosophy as they prepare their clubs for a monumental R.I. Division II semifinal, slated for Tucker Field at 7 p.m., Friday.
LINCOLN â€” Ask any professional boxer what the toughest part of their craft is and the answer is pretty much unanimous.
Itâ€™s not the fights themselves, nor is it the months of training and sparring they devote prior to those bouts.
Rather, itâ€™s the 24-48 hours before they have to weigh in on the day before their fights, and if you needed any proof of that, all you had to do was check out Thursday afternoonâ€™s final weigh-in and press conference at the Wicked Good Bar & Grillâ€™s back room at Twin River.
CUMBERLAND â€“ You knew long before the question was posed how uncomfortable Tom Kenwood was.
Now in his 40th year as the Cumberland High boysâ€™ indoor and outdoor track & field mentor, the soft-spoken Kenwood always has dodged â€“ still does â€“ any queries about his impact on the consistent successes of his teams; heâ€™ll talk about his athletesâ€™ intense work ethic and drive, competitive nature, etc., as the reason.
In fact, during this particular â€śsit downâ€ť with Kenwood in the Wellness Centerâ€™s Room 103, surrounded by free weights, Kenwood seemed a bit fidgety.
LINCOLN â€” Two years ago, a main event between Peter Manfredo Jr. and Rich Gingras would have been very unlikely and one of the last pairings any matchmaker could have imagined.
Two years ago, Manfredo was one of the top middleweight fighters in the world, battling Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. for the WBC championship, while Gingras, who fought as a cruiserweight and light heavyweight from 2006-2009, was 26 months removed from his last fight, electing to devote the bulk of his time getting his new gym, Fight 2 Fitness in Pawtucket, off the ground and running smoothly.
PAWTUCKET â€” Moments after St. Raphael Academy had claimed a controversial, down-to-the-wire, stunning 15-14 triumph over Woonsocket High on Saturday afternoon, head coach Mike Sassi stood at Barry Field with his youngest daughter in his arms speaking with media types.
WOONSOCKET â€” A single image defined Woonsocket Highâ€™s incredulously disappointing 15-14 loss to St. Raphael Academy on Saturday afternoon.
Perhaps 15 minutes after the R.I. Division II quarterfinal defeat, junior running back/linebacker Jaston Robinson exited the Barry Field clubhouse doors and â€“ after being approached by a WHS parent â€“ fell into his arms and sobbed.
PAWTUCKET â€” If the past is any sort of indicator, the Red Sox can go in one of a number of directions in shopping for a new PawSox manager.
Pawtucket has seen four skippers come and go dating back to Buddy Baileyâ€™s dismissal in 2004. In Ron Johnson and Arnie Beyeler, the Red Sox elected to go the internal route â€“ both received promotions from their managerial posts in Double-A Portland. With Torey Lovullo and most recently Gary DiSarcina, the organization chose to cast a net outside the farm system and bring in someone with already set-in-stone connections.
PAWTUCKET â€“ After struggling through eight Division I losses, Tolman High deserved a break. And the Tigers got one on Friday night when Division IV pretender Hope High came to Pariseau Field with just 21 players in uniform.
PAWTUCKET -- Shea High exploded for 14 unanswered points in the fourth quarter to claim a thrilling, come-from-behind 28-18 non-league triumph over Westerly at Max Read Field on Friday night.
Yanique Duarte completed a 67-yard touchdown catch-and-run in the final stanza, good for his third score of the contest, before Andy Darius iced it with a 30-yard interception return for the paydirt. Signal caller Tyâ€™shon Ashe added the two-point conversion as the Raiders earned not just the 10-point win, but also improved to 5-5 overall.
If last Novemberâ€™s riveting playoff result is any indication, the â€śrematchâ€ť between St. Raphael and Woonsocket in a R.I. Division II quarterfinal at Barry Field on Saturday should be a wild one.
The Villa Novans had trailed the Saints, 13-0, at the break, but rallied for 21 points in the second half, including 14 in the final quarter, to knot it at 21-21 at Pariseau Field.
In the end, SRA veteran mentor Mike Sassiâ€™s crew took a 28-21 advantage in overtime, though Woonsocket later notched a TD to pull to within one.