CUMBERLAND â€” If the old adage â€śdefense wins championshipsâ€ť is indeed true, then Cumberland and Chariho should be in prime shape to win their next two playoff games and take home the coveted Division II championship next Sunday.
Both teams finished 1-2 in the 16-team league with the fewest points allowed in division play (the Chargers yielded 73, the Clippers 77), and thanks to their exceptional defenses, either squad hasnâ€™t lost a game since September.
CUMBERLAND â€” The Cumberland High wrestling team opens practice today without returning state runner-up Erik Travers, who has become a key member of the football team this season.
The Cumberland gridders are scheduled to visit Chariho on Tuesday night in a Division II semifinal contest. Travers, a 5-foot-8, 150-pound junior, will start at cornerback on defense and halfback on offense.
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.