Archive - Sports Article
November 5th, 2010
While the fates of politicians were decided on Election Day, the fates of five playoff-hopeful Blackstone Valley clubs could be determined as early as this weekend or as late as Thanksgiving morning.
When October ended, so did much of the drama in the Division II-B playoff race. Last weekendâ€™s play saw the top three seeds etched in stone in Tolman (6-0), Woonsocket (5-1), and St. Raphael (4-2) and the final spot still up for grabs between Mount Hope and Toll Gate.
PAWTUCKET --- When Portsmouth High took a 1-0 lead just 54 seconds into Wednesday afternoonâ€™s Division I quarterfinal-round contest with Shea High and held it into the final moments of the first half, the Raiders and their fans were quietly fearing the worst.
Thatâ€™s because in last yearâ€™s Division II quarterfinals, the Raiders suffered a stunning 2-1 loss to Lincoln High that saw the Lions draw first blood, and despite being dominated for most of the game, escape Pawtucket with the upset victory.
You never forget your first big league manager â€“ no matter where the game of baseball takes you. Thatâ€™s how Torey Lovullo is choosing to remember the wisdom and guidance former Detroit and Cincinnati manger Sparky Anderson imparted on his pro career. Anderson passed away on Thursday from complications of dementia in Thousand Oaks, Calif. He was 76.
â€śIâ€™m saddened because he was an influential man in so many areas,â€ť said Lovullo, Pawtucketâ€™s manager, when reached early Thursday night.
PAWTUCKET â€“ So how do you build a winning high school football program? Tolman coach Dave Caito certainly can describe the process.
WOONSOCKET -- Last yearâ€™s Division II Super Bowl championship season is a distant memory for players on the 2010 Woonsocket High squad.
â€śThatâ€™s gone,â€ť head coach Carnell Henderson admitted on Tuesday night. â€śWe were a senior-heavy team last year. The kids on this yearâ€™s team feel like they were recipients of a championship last year. They want to win one for themselves.â€ť
The Villa Novans are 5-1 with one game left in the regular season. That one loss came against unbeaten Tolman by a 6-0 score back in mid-September.
Based on their records and how theyâ€™ve played against their league opponents, the Division I semifinals should include top-seed Barrington and No. 2 Shea from Division I-East and third-seeded Bishop Hendricken and No. 4 seed La Salle from Div. I-South.
PAWTUCKET â€” Two great names from Tolman High football history were reunited on Monday evening for the taping of Bill Mulhollandâ€™s â€śGood Sportsâ€ť cable access television show.
Larry Caswell and Frank Geiselman shared a stage, talking about their successful careers as quarterback and wide receiver, respectively, at both Tolman and the University of Rhode Island.
The World Series might be grabbing all of baseballâ€™s headlines, but that hasnâ€™t stopped the PawSox Express from churning out team-related news â€¦
Torey Lovullo has been in baseball long enough to understand how the game is played. So when good buddy John Farrell was named manager of the Toronto Blue Jays last week, the obvious was raised: would Lovullo receive an invitation to join the Jaysâ€™ coaching staff?
WOONSOCKET â€” For Lincoln High, Mondayâ€™s task was as straightforward as youâ€™ll get. A win against Woonsocket High meant the Lions would clinch no worse than a share of the Division II-North crown.
Mission accomplished as Lincoln, buoyed by two goals from Jillian DeSimone, took care of business with a 4-0 win over Woonsocket at Barry Field. The Lions finish the regular season 12-1-5. The Villa Novans completed their first â€“ and possibly last â€“ in Division II with a 1-17 mark.
WARWICK â€” This isnâ€™t the same St. Raphael Academy outfit that started out the year â€“ not by a long shot.
Gone are the lingering memories of a 2-4 beginning that featured shutout losses to Hendricken, Tolman and Woonsocket, while the wins coming at the expense of Pilgrim and West Warwick, two squads with a combined 1-11 in league play. In a frenetic two-week turnaround, SRA has seen its season go from being on the brink to one that will include a postseason appearance for the first time since winning the Division I Super Bowl three years ago.
Ponaganset football coach Brian Gendreau has developed a good perspective on two of the toughest teams in Division II this season â€“ unbeaten Tolman and once-beaten Woonsocket. His Chieftains have lost to both Super Bowl contenders.
â€śTolman is the fastest team in the league,â€ť Gendreau admitted on Sunday, â€śbut I would say Woonsocket is more balanced. They can run and throw the ball. You can see why they played a 6-0 game earlier this season. Both teams have great defenses.â€ť
PAWTUCKET â€“ A well-balanced Ponaganset offense put a scare into unbeaten Tolman on Friday night at Pariseau Field. The Chieftains never really took command of the game but they walked off the field with their heads held high following a 26-10 loss to the explosive Tigers.
â€śWe just had too much speed and too many athletes for them,â€ť Tolman coach Dave Caito said after his club stayed unbeaten in Division II-B at 6-0.
Caito understood his team had been tested in this game.
WARWICK â€“ Donâ€™t count the Shea Raiders out just yet.
In a game Shea simply had to have to keep its razor-thin playoff hopes afloat, the Raiders grounded host Warwick Vets Friday night, 13-0. Defense was the calling card for head coach Dino Campopianoâ€™s crew as Shea racked up seven sacks and two turnovers. Offensively the Raiders did just enough, scoring on their first and last possessions of the Division II-B contest.
The win allows Shea (3-3, 5-3 overall) to remain mathematically alive heading into next Fridayâ€™s critical contest at Johnston.
PAWTUCKET â€” When perennial Division II contender Shea High was promoted to Division I for the 2010 season, the Raiders were immediately tabbed as state championship contenders by several rival coaches.
Shea lived up to the hype over the regular season, completing a 12-1-5 campaign in Division I-North on Thursday with a 7-0 romp over winless East Providence.
The match provided a chance for coach Pierre Ridore to play his entire roster, a deserving reward for a team that responded to the challenge of Division I soccer by working together for a common goal.
As he watched his team apply the finishing touches to consecutive Division II titles last June, Mount St. Charles head baseball coach Tom Seaver started to prepare for the impending direction the program figured to be heading in.
Based on the amount of success the Mounties had achieved during the now completed four-year alignment period, a bump up to Division I seemed certain.
The two championships stand out, but so too does the 62-10 regular season league record Seaverâ€™s MSC squad has compiled.
WEST WARWICK â€” Every-one Tolman has faced, and will face, is well aware of the teamâ€™s defensive prowess. The tenacious unit entered Saturdayâ€™s Division II-B matchup against West Warwick having allowed the second fewest points (12) in league play, while posting three shutouts.
A typical Division II playoff scramble is developing with two weeks left in the regular season schedule.
This is the lone league that features an eight-team playoff field. Division II possesses 16 teams, almost double the size of Division I. And because of those numbers, the D-II playoff situation is almost always complicated.
Right now, four D-II teams seem certain to make the Nov. 12-13 quarterfinal round: Tolman (5-0), Woonsocket (4-1), Chariho (4-1) and Johnston (4-1). The scramble for the other four spots wonâ€™t be figured out until after the dust clears on Nov. 6.
NARRAGANSETT â€“ Two steps forward, one step back.
All of the good vibes Lincoln High gained in beating previously undefeated Moses Brown the previous week went up in smoke Saturday at Zepp Field. Turnovers and several ill-timed penalties were the major bugaboos in a 23-7 setback to Narragansett High that places the Lions squarely on the bubble of the Division III playoff scene.
â€śWe completely beat ourselves,â€ť was the quick-to-the-point assessment Lincoln head coach Dave Waycott offered after his club slipped to 3-3 in the league, a record now shared by the Mariners.
PROVIDENCE â€“ Like thousands of college freshmen across the country, Gerard Coleman and Brice Kofane are adjusting to being away from home for the first time in their young lives.
While settling into the dorms and registering and selecting classes only mark the beginning of this new and eye-opening chapter, thereâ€™s also the basketball-related education that Coleman and Kofane, two of Providence College newest menâ€™s basketball players, have been privy to.
Must-win games? It seems like fans will have their pick of the litter when it comes to teams in the Blackstone Valley this weekend!
Fridayâ€™s action features four schools -- East Providence, Cumberland, Shea, and St. Raphael -- who sorely need to win their games over tough opponents in order to keep their respective playoff hopes alive.