Archive - Sports Article
November 23rd, 2010
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.
JOHNSTON â People are going to be talking about this playoff game for a very long time.
St. Raphael Academy won a wild and crazy shootout with Johnston High on Saturday night in their Division II quarterfinal-round game on the Panthersâ campus -- a royal battle that saw both teams nearly combine for 1,000 yards of offense and the Saints score a heart-pounding 56-50 overtime victory.
PAWTUCKET â Sure, his eyes and feet played a part in guiding Joselito Knapp to the end zone. To the Tolman quarterback, that only begins to cover what transpired with under six minutes remaining in Fridayâs Division II quarterfinal matchup with Westerly at Pariseau Field.
PROVIDENCE --- Jeff Craven tormented Shea High again on Friday night, but this time, the Barrington High senior standout victimized the Raiders on the biggest stage of the season -- the Division I championshp game.
Craven netted a pair of first-half goals and the Eaglesâ superb defense did its part to fend off the high-scoring Raidersâ assault the rest of the way en route to a 2-1 win and the teamâs record 11th state title at Rhode Island College.
CENTRAL FALLS --- It was of North Smithfield High head coach Wes Pugh-Pennington's volition to treat his Division IV showdown against Central Falls High on Friday night as a road playoff game.
âOur plan was to keep it simple,â he stated. âWe knew it was their Homecoming, so we wanted to use this as preparation for the playoffs. We knew we'd see a tough C.F. Team come in and play hard, so we wanted to run the ball, mix it up and gain some yardage. But we also wanted to prove that we're North Smithfield, we're no fluke, and that we come to play football.â
LINCOLN --- For the first time in his pro career, Woonsocketâs Joe Gardner will be fighting for a championship belt, and he will try to claim his prize in the six-round co-feature of tonightâs CESâs (Classic Entertainment & Sports, Inc.) âHomecoming Kingâ card at the Twin River Event Center.
And for the first time since coming back to the sport in May after a 7Âœ-year absence, Gardner has had to prepare for a fight without his favorite sparring partner, West Warwickâs Keith Kozlin, giving him some valuable rounds.