Got to see Tolman High's unbeaten Division II football team play Ponaganset on Friday night. This is really a fun group to watch play. As complex and interesting as the offense is, it's the defense that really serves as the spine of the team. The players are all fast and aggressive and fly to the football. They give up long drives grudgingly and touchdowns only rarely. Ponaganset got one late in Friday night's game, a 26-10 Tiger victory.
The Chieftains have a very well-balanced offense and feature some size on the offensive line that seemed to give Tolman some trouble as the game wore on.
"Everyone out-sizes us," Tolman coach Dave Caito said after the game.
Tolman, on the other hand, has more team speed than everyone else. It will be interesting to see if the Tigers can carry their speed advantage through the playoffs. They have clearly proven they are the team to beat heading into the postseason.
The stands at Pariseau Field were only half-full on Friday night, and that's a shame. This Tolman team has awakened the echoes of a proud football program that ranked with the best in the state during the 1960s and even into the early 1970s. The names from those years still ring clearly. Gerry Philbin, who went on to play defensive end for Joe Namath's Super Bowl champion New York Jets, heads the list. Quarterback Larry Caswell and receiver Frank Geiselman from the mid-1960s Tolman teams both went on to enjoy stellar careers at URI. Bill Britt led the 1971 Tolman team that concluded a great era in school football history.
Now the team is led by names like Dion Rubio, Ousmane Samb and his brother Mamour, Joselito Knapp and Juan Wilson. There are so many other fine players on this team, most of them cut from the same mold: fast and tough. Tolman is like a hot sports car trying to win an endurance race. The Tigers sure are fun to watch. They finish their regular season at home on Friday night against Toll Gate, then open the playoffs at home the following weekend.
Come on out and watch them play. The 2010 Tigers are making their own history this year.