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.