Archive - Sports Article
November 16th, 2010
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.
MIDDLETOWN -- St. Raphael Academy fell from the unbeaten ranks in a very big way on Thursday night by dropping a 7-5 decision to Middletown High in the Division III semifinals at the Gaudet Middle School complex.
The Islanders, who will battle Narragansett High in Sundayâs championship game at Rhode Island College, won this high-scoring affair by breaking a 3-3 tie with the first three goals of the second half.
The loss came as a shock to the Saints, who allowed just eight goals during the regular season and came into the game with a 15-0 mark.
CRANSTON --- Defense is the main reason why Lincoln High captured the Division II-North title this year.
And if the Lions plan to seize the Division II state championship on Sunday afternoon, they are going to need the same excellent defense they displayed throughout the season and in Thursday nightâs semifinal-round game against Mount St. Charles Academy.
Junior striker Jillian DeSimone scored her team-high 16th of the season and the Lionsâ defense held off a furious second-half attack by the high-scoring Mounties en route to a 1-0 victory at Cranston Stadium.
For Tolman, Woonsocket, and St. Raphael, the Division IIâs âsecond seasonâ begins this weekend. For Burrillville and East Providence, their pursuit at a second season continues.
Five Blackstone Valley teams will try to extend their respective seasons past Thanksgiving this week when the Division II quarterfinal round takes place and the Division I and III regular seasons ramble down the home stretch.
CRANSTON â In its 37 years as a varsity program, Shea High has copped a Division I-B championship in 1992, Large Division titles in 2002 and â03, and a Division II crown three years ago.
Tomorrow at 7 p.m., the Raiders will battle for another state championship, but unlike their previous four titles, this one will be for all the marbles in the stateâs top division.
PAWTUCKET â West Warwick almost pulled off the upset heard around Division III on Tuesday night, taking a 2-1 lead into the final two minutes of the second overtime before St. Raphael Academyâs Kytresa Ivey-Jones scored the goal of her young life, tying the contest and sending it into a shootout that the Saints won, 4-2, on a clinching goal by freshman Trina Lomba.
LINCOLN â You could say the elements helped even the playing field between Lincoln and North Smithfield. With a steady rain sweeping across Chet Nichols Field, Tuesdayâs Division II quarterfinal match became a matter of survival.
Thanks to two goals in the final nine minutes, the Lions emerged from this mud bath with a 2-0 victory over the Northmen, who played the game minus the services of head coach Steve DeMeo. DeMeo was relived of his coaching duties after Mondayâs arrest for allegedly transmitting inappropriate messages to a minor.
Boston Red Sox director of player development Mike Hazen confirmed Tuesday that the process to find Pawtucketâs next manager is already under way. The vacancy was created when Torey Lovullo left to become Torontoâs first base coach on Monday.
âWeâve already started to put together a list,â Hazen said via cell phone. âCertainly within the list you have to stay somewhat flexible because of (potential coaching shifts at the major league level). As a result more candidates could become available as those situations play out.â
PAWTUCKET -- In the end, Torey Lovullo could not say no to his mentor and close friend John Farrell.
A partnership that took flight as teammates with the California Angels in 1993 and later working side-by-side in the player development ranks with the Cleveland Indians was rekindled Monday, as Lovullo was hired to join Farrellâs coaching staff in Toronto. The former Pawtucket Red Sox manager will serve as the Blue Jaysâ first base coach.
Nobody said the format to crown a single champion for the 2010-11 high school boysâ basketball season would be perfect. The event, which calls for a 16-team bracket, is the first of its kind, meaning it should be viewed as a litmus test by administrators, coaches and players.
But that hasnât stopped some coaches from the lower divisions in voicing concern on how everything is arranged. The field is broken down so that the first eight slots are awarded to Div. I teams, the next five belong to Div. II, and the last three spaces are set aside for entries from Div. III.
It was great to see Joe Paterno collect his 400th career victory at Penn State on Saturday. I was in the neighborhood for many of the first 120 back in my college days and early sports writing years. It wasnât always easy dealing with a man who set such high standards for himself and his program. Paterno kept everyone on their toes, beginning with his players and going right down the list, all the way down to the lowest creatures on earth âŠ the sports writing fraternity.
Eight teams will square off today-- weather permitting -- in the Division II playoffs. And perhaps six of them could actually win the state title that will be decided this coming Sunday at Rhode Island College.
âOur division is very close,â Lincoln coach John DâAloisio admitted over the weekend. His Lions host North Smithfield at 4 p.m. today.
A day-long rain is in the forecast. Any games postponed today likely would be made up on Tuesday.
Welcome to the Division II football playoffs, home of the complex algorithms.
For those who remember the unprecedented five-way tiebreaker of two years ago that tabulated Woonsocket as the odd team out, a refresher course on the wording of the tiebreaker formula was held after Central knocked off Chariho on Friday night. The 40-12 outcome created a three-way logjam atop the II-A standings with Central, Chariho and Johnston all sporting identical 5-2 records.
PAWTUCKET â Mike Sassi knew his St. Raphael squad could not improve or hinder its playoff position heading into Saturdayâs regular season finale against Ponaganset. Though the Saints were locked in as the third seed in Division II-B, that didnât stop the head coach from digging deep into his bag of motivational tricks.