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CENTRAL FALLS â€” They had a plethora of gifted athletes. The offensive and defensive line resembled (and provided) a brick wall with an average weight of 240 pounds.
The 2005 Division IV state champion Central Falls football team was something special, compiling a 7-2 league mark and defeating Narragansett, 30-13, for its one and only team title.
That team consisted of St. Raphael Academy transfer Corey Garabedian, a standout wide receiver and cornerback, who earned MVP honors in the Super Bowl. It also had quarterback Jon Laureano and linebacker Jason Sanchez, two other excellent players, as well as all-stater Kashif â€śChiefâ€ť Montgomery.
â€śHe was probably the most pure natural athlete that I ever coached,â€ť said C.F. coach Mo Jackson, about Montgomery, who was also a standout basketball player. â€śHe scored everywhere possible. He was the whole package. He was just amazing.â€ť
â€śWe had some real lethal weapons on offense and defense,â€ť he added.
Six years later, a new Central Falls squad will try and hoist another banner in the school's gymnasium. After defeating North Smithfield, 25-17, in the semifinals this past Tuesday, the fourth-seeded Warriors will face defending titlist Mount Pleasant, a No. 2 seed, in the Super Bowl on Sunday (3 p.m.) at Cranston Stadium.
This team, one that finished fourth in the league with a 5-3 mark, is different from the one that took home the championship plaque in 2005.
â€śThose guys were a big team, a lot of speed. They were unlike this team,â€ť Jackson said. â€śWe don't have a lot of superstars. These guys are like blue-collar workers. They compliment each other. They believe in themselves and each other. But this team does have athleticism. What both teams have are two hearts. They are warriors true and true.â€ť
With hopes of winning title No. 2 for the state's smallest city, the determined Warriors will battle a Mount Pleasant squad (6-2 in Div. IV) that defeated C.F., 14-12, during the league season on Sept. 30, and won its first seven games before falling to North Smithfield at the beginning of last month.
â€śIt was early in the year,â€ť Jackson said. â€śThey were on a little bit of a roll. They then lost to North Smithfield, Exeter/West Greenwich and Classical in a non-leaguer on Thanksgiving. The two (league) teams they lost to we went 1-1 against them. They got a lot of speed and their two main guys are (running back Jayquan Monteiro) and (quarterback Joel Royster). They don't do a lot of spectacular things, but they have good athletes.â€ť
Monteiro may be the biggest nuisance the Warriors will have to deal with. The senior back fueled the Kitlies' 21-7 win over Smithfield in the semifinals by scoring twice, including a 70-yard run.
Central Falls will counter-attack with running back Josh Brandon. The senior had 100 yards against the Northmen and has amassed more than 1,400 yards and 11 touchdowns this season.
Senior quarterback Brandon Canuto can also create havoc. If the Warriors' line can give the talented signal-caller ample time, Canuto can make the Kilties pay with his rifle, and often, accurate arm.
Central Falls certainly has the ability to rack up points. In six of its league games, it has scored at least 25 points. Overall, the Warriors scored the most points (231) and allowed the fewest (94) during the league season. Mount Pleasant ranked No. 4 in points scored (186) and was fifth among the nine schools in points allowed (128).
Central Falls last loss came to North Smithfield in the league season on Nov. 11.
â€śThat really wasn't our team,â€ť Jackson said. â€śWe were flat and we didn't have the intensity. Our team showed up (in the semifinals), offensively and defensively.â€ť
The C.F. coach believes his squad's latest victory was certainly an emotional boost heading into the Super Bowl.
â€śI think so,â€ť he said. â€śWe are not overlooking Mount Pleasant by no means. We are not cocky. But we are realizing that this is what we played for all year long.â€ť