Archive - Sports Article
November 27th, 2011
Some things I think I think:
Is it possible the spread offense and its numerous variations have run their course at the high school football level?
Sure seemed that way during Wednesday nightâ€™s Tolman-Shea game when neither team looked efficient on offense in a 7-0 Tigers victory. Both teams appeared to be mirror images of one another on offense as they operated out of the shotgun on almost every play, blending in elements of the spread and wildcat formations, sending backs into motion on almost every play.
PAWTUCKET â€” The 1991 Shea High football teamâ€™s story reads like something out of Hoosiers, the movie about a long-shot basketball team that won the Indiana state championship back in the 1950s.
â€śWe had 17 players on the team and they showed up for practice every day,â€ť said Steve Alves Jr., the West Warwick native who began his coaching career at Shea High in 1989. â€śItâ€™s a good thing our coaching staff was a bunch of young guys because we had to get in there and practice with the kids so that we would have enough bodies to hold a full scrimmage.â€ť
CENTRAL FALLS â€“ There was no slippage or signs of letup. For playoff-bound Central Falls, it was simply full speed ahead.
Thursdayâ€™s 34-0 holiday win against Lincoln High was just what C.F. head coach Mo Jackson was looking for. His Warriors raced to a commanding 27-0 halftime lead behind three touchdown passes from quarterback Brandon Canuto, who completed 9-of-11 passes for 247 yards.
WOONOCKET â€“ Chris Skurka had no intention on letting up.
Despite a more important playoff game early next week, the Cumberland High coach planned to have his red-hot squad go full throttle against Woonsocket in their annual Thanksgiving Day contest.
He lied. Well, sort of.
The Clippers scored four times in the first quarter, found the end zone again in the second quarter and the second-stringers get some ample playing time after halftime in cruising to a 35-6 rout of the Villa Novans on Thursday morning.
PAWTUCKET â€” Tolman quarterback Luis Rodrigues stood up to a hard-hitting Shea defense on Wednesday night and finally made the play that won the game.
After getting sacked two plays in a row midway through the fourth quarter by Shea defensive tackle Wayne Wambugu, Rodrigues stood tall in the pocket on 3rd-and-14 and lofted a pass into the right flat to a wide-open Andre Gilbert, who romped into the end zone for the only score of the game.
JOHNSTON â€” St. Raphael Academy put together its best defensive effort of the season Wednesday night, resulting in a 10-0 blanking of host Johnston.
The Saints showed contender-level defense for a night, riding a pair of timely interceptions and two second-half sacks that all but killed any hope the host Panthers had in finding the end zone. The end result was a sweet victory for Mike Sassiâ€™s crew, which ends the season with six wins against four defeats.
PAWTUCKET â€” Itâ€™s a common assumption that you canâ€™t have both brains and brawn. Apparently Davon Robertson didnâ€™t get the memo.
Robertson fits the definition of a student-athlete to a tee. Not only is this senior a two-way football contributor for St. Raphael Academy, but heâ€™s also a success story in the classroom. Blend the two attributes together and itâ€™s little wonder that Robertson is being recruited by some of the most prestigious colleges and universities in the area.
PAWTUCKET --- Some Thanksgiving series around this part of New England have usually been predictable, and often lopsided affairs year in and year out, while other series have been ones that you can actually throw out the records and expect competitive games.
The latter has certainly been the case with the Shea-Tolman series, which will celebrate its 10th game Wednesday when the two intracity rivals invade McCoy Stadium for a 7 p.m. showdown.
NORTH SMITHFIELD â€“ His all-out smile that charms in an instant, affable personality and cordial â€śYes, sirâ€ť response allows Paris Correia to fit in at North Smithfield High. His relentless desire to attack the opposition on the football field with impetuous abandon is also a plus, for sure.
Yet is hasnâ€™t always been that simple.
Central Falls and North Smithfield arenâ€™t Thanksgiving football rivals but the two Division IV playoff teams are inextricably linked this week.
They are linked because if North Smithfield defeats Scituate on Thursday morning, it wins No. 1 seed in next weekâ€™s playoffs and would host No. 4 seed Central Falls in the semifinal round scheduled for next Tuesday evening.
â€śI donâ€™t want my guys to overlook Scituate,â€ť North Smithfield coach Wes Pennington said on Sunday when the potential playoff matchup with Central Falls was raised.
LINCOLN â€” It wasnâ€™t much of a surprise for the standing-room-only crowd at the Twin River Event Center to see Pawtucketâ€™s Todd Chattelle capture the inaugural CES Mixed Martial Arts middleweight title.
What was surprising was the manner in which he won the championship belt -- with a submission.
An established standup fighter who recorded all eight of his career knockouts with his punching ability, Chattelle picked up the biggest victory of his career with his first-ever submission by slapping an unexpecting guillotine chokeout on Brett Oteri of Dedham, Mass. 3:18 into their fight.
PROVIDENCE â€“ During a time when school budgets are slashed and teachers are in dire need for resources and incentives for their students, National Grid Foundation scored an assist in providing a $30,000 grant to support the Providence Hoops for the Stars Program.
Hoops for the Stars is a partnership program that provides inner-city students with the opportunity to earn tickets to Providence College menâ€™s basketball games in return for hard work in the classroom and positive behavior in the community.
WOONSOCKET â€” It has been said more than a few times that success in high school sports comes in cycles. Talented players sometimes come in cohesive groups of classmates who win games from middle school on up through high school. And when they graduate, sometimes the cupboard is empty.
That could be the story of Woonsocket Highâ€™s football program, which won the last two Division II Super Bowls before falling back to earth this season, finishing 1-6 in league action.
Only in New England can you be sitting in an audience, watching a great presentation of Hamlet by the Gamm Theatre acting company of Pawtucket, when during intermission a man turns around in his seat and asks: â€śWhoâ€™s going to be the next manager of the Red Sox?â€ť
The interrogator was Bobby Fields, a former Pawtucket West student-athlete. He probably wonâ€™t recognize the rest of this but Shakespeare might.
At this time last year, fighting for a championship was the furthest thing from Todd Chattelleâ€™s mind.
The Pawtucket fighter was a few weeks removed from the worst defeat of his pro career -- a knockout loss to undefeated Derek Brunson that saw Chattelle hit the canvas just 14 seconds into the fight. Chattelle was hoping to keep his record above .500 with a hard-fought win, but instead, he slipped to 6-6.
For Rhode Island high school football teams, playing on Thanksgiving is hailed as one of those holiday traditions you canâ€™t live without, itâ€™s so-called importance ranking up there with the Macyâ€™s Day Parade, awkward dinner-time conversations and endless turkey leftovers.
BRIDGEPORT, Ct. â€“ Believe it or not, Providence College and Fairfield actually played a basketball game on Monday night.
Such an important detail can get easily lost in the wash considering the pregame circumstances. On one side of the court stood Ed Cooley, the new PC coach whose previous port of call was Fairfield. On the opposite side of the scorerâ€™s table resided a group of players that Cooley was instrumental in recruiting, among them Pawtucket native Rakim Sanders.
PAWTUCKET --- Fights donâ€™t get any bigger or significant than the one Peter Manfredo Jr. has on Saturday night.
If the Manfredoâ€™s Gym middleweight beats undefeated Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. at Houstonâ€™s Reliant Arena, he will take home Chavezâ€™s WBC (World Boxing Council) championship belt and be in line for a huge payday in the form of an expected title defense against former WBC champion Sergio Martinez.
FAIRFIELD, Ct. â€“ Through all the ups and downs, the good times and the hardships, the smile still comes naturally.
The widespread grin of Rakim Sanders has come to embody his innocence and easygoing temperament. Scratch beneath the surface and youâ€™ll find a compassionate young man, someone who possesses the necessary zeal and resolve which made sure he didnâ€™t become symbolic of the Pawtucket housing project of his youth.
PAWTUCKET â€“ We hear the phrase â€śmaking playsâ€ť from athletes and coaches so often that sometimes the exact meaning of the phrase gets lost in its overuse.
Cumberland coach Chris Skurka used the term to describe how his underdog Clippers sneaked past favored Tolman by a 13-9 margin on Saturday night in a Division II quarterfinal playoff game.
â€śThatâ€™s what this team does,â€ť Skurka said. â€śWe make plays.â€ť