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Wednesday, September 26, 2012
New England Roundup: Rhode Island

By MIke Scandura

When the Rhode Island Interscholastic League was founded in 1932, Westerly was one of the original schools to play football.

Rhode IslandChariho, which is roughly a long field goal from Westerly, didn’t add football until 16 years ago.

While games between Division I teams like Hendricken, La Salle, East Providence and Portsmouth invariably dominate the headlines, Westerly and Chariho have forced their way into the spotlight.

In fact, the Chargers captured the 2011 Division II Super Bowl championship – the first in school history but five less than the Bulldogs have amassed.

Westerly made an early bid for the Division II-A regular-season title on September 21 by biting the Chargers, 35-14.

The teams were tied 14-14 at halftime but Westerly (2-0) went ahead for good in the third quarter when quarterback Phil Lynch ran four yards for a touchdown.

Westerly broke the game open in the fourth when Tom McGuire also ran four yards for a score and Rob Lamotte followed by returning a punt 45 yards for a touchdown.

Max Bumarch scored Westerly’s first touchdown when he reeled off a 44-yard run midway through the opening quarter.

RAM TOUGH
La Salle remained undefeated (2-0) in Division I by posting a pair of impressive victories.

First, the Rams overcame an 11-7 deficit and rallied to beat Portsmouth, 42-25 as senior running back Josh Morris scored four touchdowns which accounted for 24 of the Rams’ points while Tyrell Cooper returned a kickoff 87 yards for a score and later caught a 42-yard pass from quarterback Anthony Francis.

That set up a three-yard scoring run by Martin Bannerman.

Then, a week later, La Salle defeated Tolman, 42-20 with Morris shredding the Tigers’ defense for 180 yards and two scores on only 14 carries.

Francis provided balance to La Salle’s offense by completing 12-of-18 passes for 232 yards and three touchdowns. THUNDERBOLT MAKING NOISE
Cranston East last won the Division I Super bowl in 1987.

Since then the Thunderbolt went into a tailspin and eventually dropped down to Division II.

Coach Tom Centore’s team returned to Division I two years ago and, as the saying goes, made a statement last Saturday by crushing perennial playoff contender Barrington, 41-18 in its league opener.

Cranston East wasted zero time putting the Eagles in a football hole the equivalent of the Grand Canyon by (no pun intended) bolting to a 21-3 lead after the first quarter.

Quarterback Alex Corvese threw a 10-yard touchdown pass to Marvin Beuvais and, after Cranston East’s Josh Santos recovered a fumble on the ensuing kickoff, Corvese fired an 11-yard scoring pass to Beauvais for an early 14-0 lead. Corvese later threw a 54-yard scoring bomb to Nick Ferry and the rout was on.

HAWKS CONTINUE TO SOAR
In what only could be labeled a mismatch, defending Division I Super Bowl champion Hendricken blanked South Kingstown, 24-0, to maintain a share of first place in Division I with La Salle.

Ironically, the Hawks (3-0 overall) scored all of their points in the second half, including touchdown passes of 35 yards from Patrick Gill to Kazre Cummings and 65 yards from Gill to Mitchell Lucci.

Bob Lineberger literally gave South Kingstown the “boot” by kicking a 37-yard field goal plus three extra points.

AVENGERS OFF TO FAST START
East Greenwich grabbed the early-season lead in the Division III by winning each of its first two games.

The Avengers literally got off on the right foot by pummeling Ponaganset, 34-13, as Carney Crawford and Alex Cleary combined for 207 rushing yards.

Andrew Miner chipped in with two touchdown passes.

EG came back a week later and belted Tiverton, 28-6, as Crawford outdid himself compared with his performance against Ponaganset.

Crawford carried the ball 34 times for 238 yards and two touchdowns while Cleary – ironically – only carried the ball once but scored on a 34-yard run. But Cleary also made a contribution on defense when he recovered a second-quarter Tiverton fumble and ran it in from 34 yards out.

SMOOTH-SAILING FOR CLIPPERS
Cumberland moved into a first place tie in Division II-A with Westerly and Johnston (each team is 2-0) by romping over Rogers, 35-6.

Quarterback Brendan Guerin paced the Clippers by completing 9 of 16 passes for 158 yards and one touchdown.

Running backs Dan Stock and Jared Calbert combined for 165 rushing yards which, in retrospect, gave Cumberland a balanced attack.

BIG BOOTS
Hope boys’ soccer coach Al DiGregorio recently notched his 200th career victory when the Blue Wave beat Central 3-1 in a Division I contest.

DiGregorio, who’s in his 22nd season with Hope, guided his team to the 2006 state championship.

La Salle, who’s won four consecutive Division I girls’ soccer championships – and 9 of the last 11 – upped its early-season record to 3-0 by blanking Warwick Vets, 5-0.

Stefanie DiTraglia scored twice for the Rams while Jessica Mele and Alexa Tribelli each were credited with two assists.

McAFEE TO SKATE FOR BU
If the name Ken McAfee sounds familiar to Notre Dame football fans it should because he was an All-American tight end in 1977 and was the 49ers’ first-round pick in the 1978 draft.

His son, Dalton, originally committed to his father’s alma mater to play lacrosse. But he recently changed his mind and opted to play hockey for Boston University.

Dalton McAfee will be a senior defenseman this season at St. Sebastian’s.

Mike Scandura has been covering high school sports, college basketball, football and hockey plus minor league baseball in Rhode Island since the early 1970s. A native of Oswego, N.Y, he’s a member of the Words Unlimited Hall of Fame which is the statewide organization of sportswriters, sportscasters and sports publicists.