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When Central Falls boards its bus for tonightâs Injury Fund opener in Newport against Rogers, the Warriors will do so without someone who had been with them for the past two decades.
Joe Handy, who served the last 10 seasons as the Warriorsâ head coach and the 10 before that as an assistant, has not returned to the helm this season.
It wasnât because Handy didnât want to coach anymore, nor was it because of any outside commitments with his family or his occupation.
PROVIDENCE â Marshon Brooks has never been accused of being shy with the basketball. Yet in order for him to complete player in the eyes of Keno Davis, the Providence College senior had to show a serious commitment to rebounding the basketball.
Brooks delivered another banner night scoring-wise, notching a season-best 27 points as PC held off visiting Northeastern, 77-72, Wednesday night before yet another sparse gathering of 4,828 at The Dunk. Just as important were the eight rebounds Brooks snatched, as he came close to matching his season average (8.7).
Sundayâs Division II Super Bowl game between unbeaten (in league play) Tolman and defending champion Woonsocket needs no hype from the media. These two teams stand on their own merits.
PAWTUCKET â In the end, Tuesday night's Division II semifinal playoff game between Tolman and St. Raphael Academy came down to a few gridiron standbys â halftime adjustments, plays that just missed connecting, and which team wanted it more.
Tolman made the necessary adjustments, St. Raphael dropped a crucial touchdown pass, and the top-seeded Tigers, who trailed 12-7 at halftime, reached deep down within themselves to outlast a courageous Saints team, 25-12, before an estimated crowd of 1,200 fans at Max Read Field.
PROVIDENCE â During the league season last month, Lincoln High had its way with Moses Brown and handed its Division III foe its first loss of the fall.
Letâs just say the Quakers took that defeat personal.
In the more-important rematch between the two squads â a semifinal tilt on Tuesday night â Moses Brown returned the favor with a convincing 21-0 blanking of the Lions at Brown Universityâs Berylson Field.
Gearing up for Tuesdayâs push to the Super Bowl âŠ
Making fundamental changes to a football teamâs strategy this late in the season is a radical move. Tweaking is the preferred action of coaches, applying a new wrinkle or two depending on the next opponent. Generally what has worked up until this point is going to continue â unless something unforeseen happens.
At this time of the year, many college and high school football teams compete against traditional Thanksgiving opponents. We call them rivalry games, contests that are played for âbragging rightsâ and even, in rare cases, for league championships.
The advent of playoffs has diminished these games over the years. In college ball, radical reformers want to take it one step farther, creating a national championship for Division I teams that would completely dilute the meaning of bowl games while also extending the season deep into January or even into the first weekend of February.
EAST PROVIDENCE â Itâs hard to boil down four quarters of action into two calls that werenât on the side of Sandy Gorham and his East Providence Townies. Listen to Gorham, however, and it became clear that the two judgment calls by the officiating crew played a big part in La Salle Academy waltzing out of Pierce Stadium with a 14-6 win on Thursday morning before an estimated crowd of 3,000.
PAWTUCKET â There was no quit in Freddy Gobewole.
On a night in which his heart was his biggest ally, Gobewole willed his way to a 16-yard score with 46.7 seconds remaining. That snapped a 7-7 game and gave Shea an eventual 14-7 triumph over semifinal-bound Tolman Wednesday night at student-dominated crowd at Max Read Field. The Raiders lead the holiday series by a 5-4 count.
PAWTUCKET -- This wasnât a three-hour barnburner, nor was it as high-scoring as their memorable Division II quarterfinal-round playoff game that transpired 11 days ago.
Instead, the inaugural Thanksgiving Eve showdown between St. Raphael Academy and Johnston High turned into a letdown by the Saints, who turned in a lackluster showing in a 30-6 loss to the Panthers at McCoy Stadium.
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.