Boston High School: Chariho

New England Roundup: Rhode Island

November, 6, 2012
11/06/12
4:24
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If they haven’t already, Rhode Island high school football fans should circle Nov. 9 on their calendars.

Rhode IslandThat’s when La Salle and Hendricken – arguably the top two teams in the state regardless of division – will meet at the Hawks’ field with the Division I championship at stake.

La Salle (6-0) and Hendricken (6-1) established that scenario last weekend when the Rams blasted Cranston East, 41-12, and the Hawks flew by Barrington, 18-6.

If the Rams prevail and also beat East Providence (1-5) on Thanksgiving, they’ll clinch the outright title plus the No. 1 seed in the Division I Tournament. But should the Rams lose to the Townies and the Hawks beat La Salle, each team would finish 7-1, and Hendricken would earn the top seed by virtue of having beaten La Salle.

All-State running back Josh Morris shredded Cranston East’s defense as he scored four touchdowns – for the second consecutive year against the Thunderbolt. Morris’s scores came on runs of 19, 20, 18 and 30 yards.

In addition quarterback Anthony Francis threw a 59-yard touchdown pass to Keon Wilson and scored on a one-yard run.

In its previous game, La Salle only led Barrington 17-14 at halftime but exploded for 24 points in the second half and coasted to a 41-17 victory.

Morris again led the way by running 12 times for 122 yards and two scores.

Ironically, Cranston East was coming off one of the more dramatic victories in school history.

Coach Tom Centore’s team spotted Portsmouth a 25-point lead at halftime and then rallied for a 51-47 victory.

E.J. Isom scored on a three-yard run with three minutes left on the clock to cap the comeback and set up the Bolt’s big game versus La Salle.

DIVISION II PICTURE IN FOCUS
As a result of last weekend’s games, the pairings are set for the Division II Tournament.

Johnston (7-0), Mount Hope (5-2), Woonsocket (5-2) and Westerly (4-3) earned the top four spots in Division II-A.

In Division II-B, undefeated Cumberland (7-0) earned the No. 1 seed followed by No. 2 St. Raphael (5-2), No. 3 West Warwick (4-3) and No. 4 Rogers (4-3).

Because West Warwick, Rogers and Central each finished 4-3, tiebreakers determined the last two seeds and Central became the odd team out.

Johnston finished strong by winning each of its last two games, 38-10 over Westerly and 42-6 over Warwick Vets.

In the victory over Westerly, Evan Hopson caught a pair of touchdown passes, kicked a 27-yard field goal and converted three-of-four extra-point attempts.

Hopson was just as prolific against the Hurricanes since he again caught two touchdown passes and returned a fellow Panther’s fumble for a third score.

ISLANDERS MAKE HISTORY
Don’t waste your time delving through the record books to find the last year when Middletown completed an undefeated regular season in league play (in this case Division III).

At the least, that happened four decades ago - perhaps when the parents of the current Islanders were youngsters. And, if Middletown beats Tolman and Portsmouth in a pair of non-league games, it will record an undefeated regular season – period.

Middletown, which has outscored its opponents by a combined margin of 339-96, handed East Greenwich its first loss of the season, 20-7.

Junior Connor Ross accounted for each of Middletown’s touchdowns on runs of 13, 27 and five yards. Ross clinched the victory when he intercepted a pass with one minute remaining at the Islanders’10-yard line.

Also in Division III, Moses Brown (5-2) clinched a playoff berth by routing Burrillville, 31-13.

Andrew Howard paced the Quakers by rushing for 143 yards and two touchdowns on 19 carries.

KILTIES REIGN IN DIVISION IV
Mount Pleasant put the wraps on an undefeated Division IV season by blanking Central Falls, 33-0.

Randolph Zish paced the Kilties (7-0) by amassing 275 rushing yards and each of his team’s five touchdowns.

The field for the Division IV Tournament is just about set.

Hope (6-1) will have the second seed while North Providence (4-2) and North Smithfield (4-2) will battle for the fourth and final seed.

HAWKS REMAIN DOMINANT
Few teams have dominated boys’ cross country like Hendricken. The Hawks annexed their fifth consecutive state championship on Nov. 4 by scoring 44 points – 20 fewer than second-place La Salle.

Hendricken’s points were accounted for by Connor Doyle (fourth), Colin Tierney (fifth), Tyler Henseler (seventh), Alex Doherty (135h) and Collin Manning (15th).

The Hawks added the state trophy to the Class A championship they had captured the previous week.

Trevor Crawley became the first Cumberland runner to notch the state individual title in 14 years by covering the 5000-meter course at Ponganset High in 15:39.47. That time was 20 seconds faster than second-place finisher Bryce Kelley of Chariho.

BARRINGTON GIRLS DOUBLE UP
The Barrington girls may have needed a trailer to carry home all the trophies they annexed at the state cross country championships on Nov. 4 at Ponaganset.

As a team, Barrington easily captured its second consecutive state title by scoring a mere 31 points – 40 less than second-place La Salle.

In addition, freshman Emma McMillan won the individual title with a time of 18:22.99 on the 5000-meter course.

According to Interscholastic League records, McMillan is the first freshman female to win the individual championship since 1995. She finished 8.5 seconds ahead of La Salle’s Sheridan Wilbur.

After McMillan, Megan Vener-Crist (fourth), Fiona Paine (eight), Julianna Portelli (ninth) and Abigail Livingston (12th) rounded out Barrington’s first five finishers.

LINCOLN TRIO OFF TO COLLEGE
When Nov. 14 rolls around, three Lincoln High student-athletes will sign National Letters of Intent.

All-State pitcher Lindsay Mayer will sign with Virginia while teammate Emily Bouthillete will remain in state and sign with Bryant University.

All-Stater Nick Zammarell will head south and play baseball with Elon University in North Carolina.

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.

New England Roundup: Rhode Island

September, 26, 2012
9/26/12
4:30
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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.

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New England Roundup: Rhode Island

June, 27, 2012
6/27/12
1:00
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In baseball, batting .300 is indicative of success. But what Hendricken has accomplished would short-circuit any computer.

Rhode IslandCoach Ed Holloway’s Hawks are “batting” .700 over the last 10 years because they captured their seventh Division I state championship over that span.

Altogether, Hendricken has won 17 state titles since 1977.

Hendricken almost made it look easy as it swept South Kingstown 12-2 (the game was called after five innings because of the Interscholastic League’s mercy rule) and 5-0 in the best-of-three finals.

Senior right-hander Tom Pannone, who’s signed a letter of intent to play for the University of Miami, went the distance on a one-hitter in the clincher – striking out 13 Rebels in the process.

The Hawks, who finished with a 23-2 overall record, never gave the Rebels a chance in Game 1 by building a 6-0 lead after three innings.

Bobby Indeglia, another senior, improved to 9-0 by allowing two runs on four hits (Hendricken did commit two errors).

Pannone, who plays the outfield when he isn’t pitching, singled and homered while junior Matt Murphy added three hits and five RBI.

PANTHERS MAUL CRUSADERS
Johnston won the 2011 Division II state title with a team that was loaded with seniors.

Understandably, the Panthers weren’t expected to repeat this season given the plethora of underclassmen on coach Steve DeMeo’s team.

Wrong! Johnston swept Prout 11-1 (in another mercy rule game) and 7-1 in the best-of-three finals.

Panther pitching dominated the series as Johnston finished with a 24-2 overall record.

Glen Bianchi allowed one run on one hit over six innings in Game 1 while James Picchi allowed one run on two hits while going the distance in Game 2. Picchi faced just two batters over the minimum and needed a mere 76 pitches to complete his assignment.

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New England Roundup: Rhode Island

May, 31, 2012
5/31/12
6:17
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In 1955 the late, great comedic actor Peter Sellers made a movie titled “The Mouse That Roared.”

Rhode IslandIf the Rhode Island Interscholastic League should decide to make a high school baseball version of a sequel it should be named “The Cougars That Roared.”

With an enrollment of barely 500 male students, North Providence is near the bottom of the R.I.I.L. when it comes to sports. But the Cougars sure know how to play baseball.

Not only did coach Dean Garganese’s team capture the Division I championship with a 17-1 record, but the Cougars also earned the No. 1 seed in the 16-team, double-elimination Division I state tournament.

The Cougars got off on the right paw by mauling 16th-seeded Lincoln, 8-3, in an opening round game.

Mike Corin (three hits and two RBI), Nick DiDino (two-run single) and Tyler Proulx (two hits, one RBI) paced the attack as North Providence moved into the winners’ bracket.

North Providence annexed the top seed by blanking Moses Brown, 2-0, in its regular-season finale as Corin blanked the Quakers for six innings and Dillon McCluskie pitched a perfect seventh for the save.

In other first-round games:
* No. 2 Hendricken (the Hawks beat the Cougars two years ago in the finals) beat No. 15 East Greenwich, 7-2, as Bill Walker belted a solo homer and Tom Pannone (who’s signed a letter of intent to play his college ball at the University of Miami) allowed two runs on five hits over six innings.

* No. 14 Chariho upset No. 3 North Kingstown, 5-3, as Jacob Marchessault went the distance on a five-hitter. With the scored tied at 3 in the top of the seventh, Jim Paquette drilled a two-run single for the Chargers.

* No. 4 South Kingstown edged No. 13 Warwick Vets, 3-2, as Nick Hayes plated all of the Rebels’ runs with two hits.

* No. 5 La Salle blanked No. 12 Pilgrim, 3-0, with Caleb Gardner and Tyler Drainville combining for 12 strikeouts. The Rams scored their runs in the third on RBI doubles by Jesse Lee, Frank DiMato and Pat Burns.

* No. 11 Coventry knocked off No. 6 Cranston East, 5-1 as Matt Laferriere went the distance on a six hitter and fanned eight in the process.

* No. 7 Portsmouth routed No. 10 Cranston West, 10-0, with Matt Peters homering to key a 13-hit attack.

* No. 8 Cumberland had to work “overtime” to dispatch No. 9 Middletown, 1-0, in 12 innings. Ryan Harris led the last of the 12th with a single, advanced to third on a wild pickoff throw and scored the only run on a wild pitch.

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New England Roundup: Rhode Island

April, 19, 2012
4/19/12
9:01
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Defending Division I state baseball champion Cranston West has picked up where it left off last season.

Rhode IslandThrough games of April 18, the Falcons (5-0) were tied for first place with Hendricken in Division 1 Central.

And like any good team, the Falcons are doing it with pitching and hitting.

Just check their last three games:
  • Rich Reo pitched no-hit ball until the sixth inning – the second time this season he’s lost a no-hitter in the sixth – and Frank Pettinato and Tony Crudale each collected three hits and two RBI in a 7-1 victory over Pilgrim.
  • Ryan Long scattered six hits and went the distance as the Falcons edged East Providence, 3-2.
  • Rob DeCosta led the last of the seventh with a solo home run which snapped a tie and gave the Falcons a 3-2 triumph over Cranston East.

In other games of note:
  • La Salle’s Caleb Gardner went the distance on a three-hitter, striking out 10 in the process, as the Rams beat Lincoln, 3-1. Frank D’Amato’s two-run homer and Jon Lapolla’s solo blast accounted for the Rams’ scoring.
  • Kyle Tracey threw only 95 pitches and went nine innings as Cranston East nipped Warwick Vets, 3-2.
  • Scituate’s Scott Iacobucci tossed a no-hitter, replete with 11 whiffs and only one walk, as the Spartans blanked Davies, 14-0, in a Division II-North game.
LAWSON TOPS ALL-STATE BASKETBALL TEAM
Senior forward Jarell Lawson led Central to the state basketball championship, the Knights’ first in 20 years.

Therefore, it wasn’t a surprise when he was named First Team All-State.

Lawson averaged 19 points and 10.9 rebounds for the 19-4 Knights.

Joining Lawson on the First Team are North Kingstown senior center Evan Scott (he averaged 16.7 ppg. and tied the school record with 69 blocked shots); West Warwick senior forward Ryan Lawton (20.1 ppg. and 1.35 rpg.); La Salle junior guard Tom Hunt (18.9 ppg.); and, for the second consecutive year, St. Raphael junior guard Charles Correa (20.4 ppg. and 7.5 assists per game).

Second Team honors were accorded to St. Raphael senior forward Cesar Mejia, Hope senior forward Emmanuel Kargbo, Mount Pleasant sophomore guard Kip Stewart, North Providence senior guard Austin Van Bemmelen, Westerly junior guard Austin Cilley and West Warwick senior guard John Morrison.

WAS SILVA PUSHED OUT THE DOOR?
As is the case with many schools, coaches must apply for their positions on an annual basis regardless of their tenure.

That was the case with Mount Hope head football coach Ron Silva. But in what was anything but a “harmonious meeting,” Silva exited his session with school administrators after confirming he would not apply to remain the Huskies’ coach for the 2012 season.

In five seasons at the helm, Silva compiled a 22-19 record in Division II games and guided the Huskies to the playoffs four times.

Mount Hope advanced to the 2009 Super Bowl where it was blanked, 19-0, by Woonsocket.

Silva indicated he would like to continue coaching and noted he’s already received a few offers.

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New England Roundup: Rhode Island

March, 22, 2012
3/22/12
3:23
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From 1968 through 1992, Central High dominated boys’ basketball in Rhode Island.

Rhode IslandUnder coaching legends Jim Adams and Don Pastine, the Knights captured 11 of 24 state championships including seven in a row from 1968-75.

Players like Rickey Santos, Marvin Barnes, Mike Hazard and current Providence College head coach Ed Cooley became household names.

But when parochial schools like Hendricken, St. Raphael and La Salle began capitalizing on their ability to draw student-athletes from all over the state, the scales titled in their favor to the point where they annexed 16 of the last 17 titles prior to this season.

Fifth-seeded Central turned the clock back earlier this month when it beat intra-city rival/14th-seeded Hope, 66-59 behind the stellar play of Jerelle Washington.

Washington, a sophomore, tossed in 28 points – 16 in the second half which enabled the Knights to overcome an 11-point deficit and clinch their 12th state title – in the first time they’ve played the Blue Wave for the championship since 1971.

The Knights finished the season with a 19-5 overall record and broke Hope’s eight-game winning streak in the process.

Central beat ninth-seeded Rogers, 54-46, in the semifinals as Daniel Mendez scored 16 points.

The Blue Wave (14-12) advanced to the finals for the first time since 2007 by defeating second-seeded La Salle, 69-65, in overtime.

Manny Kargbo scored five of his overall 24 points at the free throw line in OT to help clinch the victory.

THREE FOR THE COURT
La Salle Academy, Narragansett and Juanita Sanchez captured the Division 1, 2 and 3 girls’ state basketball championships, respectively. But while winning titles is old news for the Rams, it made front-page headlines for the Mariners and Cavaliers.

Narragansett beat Classical, 51-40, for the Division II title – the school’s first in 18 years.

Juanita Sanchez, meanwhile, claimed the Division III crown by defeating defending champion Middletown, 49-36 – the first in the eight-year history of the program.

La Salle, not surprisingly, walked off with its ninth Division I title since the 1998-99 season by outlasting Bay View, 53-49.

Narragansett’s Mercedes Harris earned MVP honors after posting a double-double with 10 points and 16 rebounds.

The Cavaliers (23-3 overall) won more than eight games for the first time in program history.

D’Asia Allen paced Juanita Sanchez with 18 points, which helped Tyrone Dale win a state title in his first season as the team’s head coach.

The “hook” in the La Salle-Bay View game was that each team finished 18-0 in its respective division (La Salle in I-South and Bay View in I-North).

Davida Dale paced La Salle with 13 points while Vandell Andrade led Bay View with 16.

RAMS CLIMB OVER MOUNT
Maybe Hendricken won’t win a gazillion state hockey championships like Mount St. Charles has over the decades. But the Hawks will cherish their most recent title moreso than most.

Why? One reason being it snapped Mount’s current run of consecutive State Championship Division crowns at four.

Secondly, the Hawks did something few teams have been able to do when they faced Mount in the third and deciding game of a best-of-three series – win that game, in this case, 5-2.

Invariably, when the Mounties drop Game 1, the running joke is they have their opponent just where they want them – in position to be swept over the final two games.

Junior Paul Filipone etched his name into Hendricken sports lore by not only scoring in overtime to give his team a 4-3 victory in Game 1 but he also scored two of the Hawks’ first four goals in Game 3.

Filipone scored once in each of the first two periods while Justin Finan drove a dagger into the Mounties’ collective hearts with a second-period goal which produced a 4-1 lead.

Mount forced a deciding game when Brian Larence made 32 saves to backstop a 3-2 victory.

ON OTHER ICE
Don’t ask why the smallest state in the country has four state hockey tournaments.

Actually, the reason is there’s such a gap between the various schools that it’s a virtual necessity.

Moses Brown copped the Division I crown by sweeping Barrington 6-4 and 4-2.

The Quakers thus ended their hockey affiliation with the Interscholastic League in style because they’ll be playing an independent schedule commencing next season.

Junior Nathan Farrington came up big in the third period of each game by twice scoring two goals. His short-handed goal in Game 2 gave the Quakers a 3-1 lead – a margin they didn’t relinquish.

Coventry retained its Division II championship by sweeping Prout 2-0 and 6-1.

Junior Mike Presola was voted tourney MVP honors after scoring three goals and assisting on two.

During their two-year championship run, the Oakers have compiled a 33-3-0 regular-season record.

“Townie Pride” has taken a blow over the last year as East Providence has been beset with serious financial problems. But the hockey team put those woes on the back burner for a while by nipping Mount Hope, 2-1, in the Game 3 of their Division III championship series.

As a result, the Townies earned their first state hockey title in seven years.

Ryan Barry was named the tournament’s MVP by scoring one goal and assisting on five others.

CHARIHO TRACKS DOWN NATIONAL RECORD
Another of the state’s smaller schools made major waves on the national track scene at the New Balance Indoor Nationals in The Big Apple.

The quartet of Dan Kilcoyne, Bryce Kelley, Jake Kilcoyne and Mike Marsella captured the 4-x-1-mile relay in a national-record time of 17:20.20 – breaking the previous mark by 1.38 seconds.

The Chargers, who’re coached by Bill Haberek, beat out such long-time powers as Shaker High (Latham, N.Y.) and Christian Brothers (Lincroft, N.J.).

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.

New England Roundup: Rhode Island

January, 12, 2012
1/12/12
6:53
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Those of a certain age remember the slogan for Timex watches: “They take a licking and keep on ticking.”

Rhode IslandThe same could be said of the St. Raphael Academy boys’ basketball team.

Defending CIAC Class L champion New London smacked the Saints upside the head last Saturday en route to a 66-55 victory at the CCRI Knight Campus Fieldhouse.

With the memory of that loss still fresh in their minds, the Saints took the floor Tuesday night for a key, early-season game against Central.

The Saints edged the Knights, 57-54, and remained atop the Interscholastic League’s new Power Points Standings with a 6-0 record (SRA is 9-1 overall).

Leading the way was SRA’s 1-2 punch of Charles Correa and Cesar Mejia.

Correa, who struggled to score 15 points against New London, led both teams with 19 points while Mejia chipped in with 18 (before the game, Mejia was honored for having scored his 1000th career point earlier in the season).

Granted, the game was marked by a series of turnovers. But when clutch time rolled around, SRA held Central (5-1, 5-2) to four free throws in the final minute.

Conversely, while the Saints were soaring, perennial state power Hendricken High’s Hawks were floundering. At the moment, the Hawks are 1-4 and rank 33rd in the Power Points standings.

Given the new rules changes imposed for this season, one of which requires a team to win at least 40 percent of its league games to qualify for post-season play, the Hawks could be in danger of missing the playoffs for the first time in decades.

The top 32 teams qualify.

Hendricken absorbed a brutal 55-53 loss at the hands of arch-rival La Salle on Jan. 3, which did zero to bolster the team’s confidence.

Among other things, a lack of offense has been the proverbial Achilles’ heel for the Hawks who’ve been minus their top returning player, Lee Messier, who’s been sidelined with a sprained ankle.

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New England Roundup: Rhode Island

December, 16, 2011
12/16/11
12:55
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And you wonder why coaches become prematurely gray and develop ulcers?

Rhode IslandJust ask Hendricken coach Keith Croft and Chariho coach Mike Kelly.

Each coach reached for something to soothe their stomachs after his team won its respective Super Bowl.

Hendricken retained its Division I title by upsetting previously-undefeated La Salle, 17-14, while Chariho won the Division II title – the first state football championship in school history – by edging Central, 26-25.

How each team won was the stuff of legend.

La Salle led 14-10 with 55 seconds left in regulation when Laionel Cintron caught a 15-yard touchdown pass from Ryan Brannigan which helped avenge a 39-14 pasting the Hawks suffered at the hands of the Rams in September.

The championship was the eighth in school history for the Hawks. And, ironically, the reception only was Cintron’s 13th of the season for the run-oriented Hawks.

Chariho trailed 25-20 with four minutes left on the clock thanks to a second touchdown run by Central’s Mike Washington. But on the ensuing kickoff, Colton place caught the ball on his two and sprinted 98 yards for arguably the biggest touchdown in Chariho history – one that produced the 26-25 victory.

The other two Super Bowls had less dramatic finishes but were just as important to the respective victors.

Rogers, which at one time dominated Division I, beat Middletown 27-7 for the Division III title while Mount Pleasant captured its second consecutive Division IV Super Bowl title by outlasting Central Falls, 22-13.

Senior Reeyon Watts helped the Vikings avenge a loss in the 2010 Super Bowl to the Islanders by rushing for 170 yards and one touchdown on 28 carries.

The title was the first as a coach for Rogers’ alumnus Frank Newsome who played on three Division I Super Bowl teams from 1988-90.

Emmanuel Marsh caught a 26-yard touchdown pass from Brandon Dunlap and scored on a four-yard run to pace the Kilties.

In addition, Marsh played a solid game at safety – a position he had not played before the Super Bowl because coach Paul Rao felt he would best fit in a Cover-3 defense.

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New England Roundup: Rhode Island

November, 30, 2011
11/30/11
6:50
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It didn’t require the second coming of Bill Belichick to foresee that two best teams in Division I would meet in the Super Bowl.

Rhode IslandAfter all, La Salle was the only team in the state to finish with an undefeated league record. And Hendricken’s only loss was to the Rams by a 39-14 score way back on Sept. 16.

This dream – and unique – matchup was determined when La Salle routed East Providence, 41-14 and Hendricken emulated the Rams by hanging a 42-14 loss on South Kingstown in the semifinals.

Ironically, in the 39 years that the Rhode Island Interscholastic League has held Super Bowls, the Rams and Hawks have yet to meet in the championship game.

The Hawks will be making their third consecutive trip to the Super Bowl and will get a chance to defend their title due in large part to the play of their defense against the Rebels and the play of quarterback Ryan Brannigan.

After spotting the Rebels a 7-0 lead, on Garrett O’Dowd’s 72-yard punt return, Hendricken slammed the door and held South Kingstown to a paltry four years in total offense in the team’s first four possessions.

Brannigan, meanwhile, scored on a pair of one-yard runs and threw a 49-yard touchdown pass to Aaron Webb.

The Rams hardly broke a sweat while dispatching the Townies for the second time in six days.

After romping to a 34-13 victory in their annual Thanksgiving Day clash, the Rams bolted to a 34-0 halftime lead which rendered the remaining 24 minutes as football’s equivalent of garbage time.

Josh Morris, who may be the best back in the state, accounted for 117 yards and one touchdown on eight carries, and also caught five passes for 92 yards and three more scores.

Now, check this out.

Since dropping a non-league game to Bridgewater-Raynham, the Rams have reeled off five consecutive victories during which they’ve outscored their opponents by combined margin of 181-61.

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New England Roundup: Maine

November, 27, 2011
11/27/11
10:12
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State football championships in three classes were decided at Fitzpatrick Stadium on Saturday with two teams repeating titles.

MaineCheverus extended its win streak to 24 games with its win against Lawrence in the Class A game while Yarmouth also ran its win streak to 24 straight with a win against Bucksport for its second Class C title in a row. Wells went to the wire against Leavitt before capturing its first
Class B championship since 1997.

The victories complete a sweep for Western Maine teams for the second year in a row. Here’s rundown of the games with video provided by DVM Sports, MBR.org and the Maine Sports Network.

Class A - Cheverus 49, Lawrence 7
With injured senior running back Spencer Cooke playing all but a few token minutes for Cheverus, it appeared the Stags might be challenged by a tough Lawrence defense. They weren’t as Don Goodrich scored five touchdowns, including a 92-yard kickoff return, and the Stags rolled up 509 yards of offense.

Goodrich rushed for 143 yards on 17 carries while fellow running back Brent Green picked up 179 yards on 20 carries. Wide receiver Louie DiStasio caught four passes for 130 yards.

The Bulldogs, who finished at 11-1, were hurt by five turnovers, four of which the Stags turned into scores. A fumble and an interception led to a pair of first quarter touchdowns by Green and Goodrich. Goodrich added a score early in the first quarter to make it 21-0. The Bulldogs got on the scoreboard when Anthony Sementelli scored on a 52-yard run midway through the second quarter, but Goodrich returned the ensuing kickoff 92 yards to make it 28-7 at the half.

Cheverus put the game away with 21 points in the third quarter, highlighted by a 52-yard scoring run from Goodrich. The Stags’ defense, which held opponents to 71 points in 12 games this season, limited Lawrence to 167 yards of total offense. The score was the most lopsided in a Class A title game since Cheverus beat Lewiston 65-13 in 1985.

Cooke, who sustained an injury late in the regular season and missed all of the Western Maine playoffs, carried the ball nine times for 18 yards, all in the second half. Cooke scored four touchdowns in last year’s state championship game.

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New England Roundup: Rhode Island

November, 17, 2011
11/17/11
4:03
PM ET
Call it the calm before the storm – a weekend when all Rhode Island high school football teams are idle prior to their annual clashes on Thanksgiving Day.

Rhode IslandLa Salle enjoys the distinction of being the only team that’s undefeated in league play with a 7-0 record in Division I. As a result, the Rams have clinched the division title and the No. 1 seed in the Division I Tournament which begins on Nov. 29.

The Rams put themselves in that position by beating Cranston East, 35-14, with junior Josh Morris running for touchdowns of 64, 74, 63 and 38 yards.

Hendricken (6-2) clinched second place by beating Barrington, 21-13, as Ryan Brannigan threw a pair of touchdown passes to Lou Falcone and also ran for a third touchdown.

What other two teams will fill out the field is more complicated.

Currently, East Providence and South Kingstown are tied for third place with 4-3 records.

The Townies play arch-rival La Salle on Thanksgiving while the Rebels play winless North Kingstown.

Should EP and SK each win on Thanksgiving and finish 5-3, the Rebels would earn third place by virtue of their 40-12 victory over the Townies (i.e. the first tiebreaker is record in head-to-head competition).

But if the Townies lose and finish 4-4 and the Rebels win, EP would be tied for fourth with Portsmouth which plays a non-league game on Thanksgiving. However, EP defeated the Patriots 26-22 which would earn them fourth place and the last seed in the tournament.

Since Division II is split into two divisions, tournament play began last weekend with Cumberland, Central, Chariho and Westerly prevailing in the quarterfinals.

Cumberland beat Tolman, 13-9, as Ryan Gaumond scored on a one-yard run with 1:21 left on the clock.

Central whipped West Warwick, 27-12, with Mike Washington rushing for 171 yards and two touchdowns.

Chariho outlasted Mount Hope, 28-15, with quarterback Jansen Williamson rushing for two touchdowns and heaving a 70-yard touchdown pass to Brandon Cahoon.

Westerly trumped St. Raphael, 36-22, as Spencer Reed scored on runs of one yard and three yards.

As a result, Cumberland will play at Chariho and Central will play at Westerly in the Nov. 29 semifinals.

Rogers (6-1) has clinched the Division III title and the No. 1 seed in that tournament. The Vikings play a non-league game on Thanksgiving against winless North Kingstown.

Narragansett (5-2) must beat Tiverton on Thanksgiving to clinch second place while Classical (5-3) and Middletown (5-3) are tied for second. But because the Islanders edged the Purple, 27-26, they’ve earned the No. 2 seed for the tournament.

First-place Mount Pleasant has completed its Division IV schedule with a 6-2 record while North Smithfield and Smithfield are tied for second with 5-2 records. But if North Smithfield beats Scituate, the Northmen also would finish 6-2 – and would earn the No. 1 seed by virtue of their 14-12 win over the Kilties.

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New England Roundup: Rhode Island

November, 2, 2011
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Is there any sports fan who hasn’t heard that cliché’ “picking up the slack?”

Rhode IslandThat’s exactly what Division I leader La Salle Academy did on October 28 when the Rams overcame the loss of quarterback Anthony Francis, who was sidelined with an ankle injury, and still throttled playoff contender Cranston West, 30-6.

Junior running back Josh Morris certainly picked up the slack in his teammate’s absence by scoring on touchdown runs of 22 and 51 yards in the first half as the Rams remained on top with a 6-0 record.

La Salle also received a lift from backup quarterback Jack Collins who came off the bench and scored on runs of two yards and one yard.

As a result, La Salle has outscored its six division opponents by a hefty margin of 234-86 and is in position to run the table which would enable coach Geoff Marcone’s team to clinch the division title and the top seed in the upcoming playoffs.

But as is frequently the case, the title and the No. 1 seed won’t be decided until Thanksgiving Day when the Rams play arch-rival East Providence (4-1) in the state’s longest-running series on that holiday.

The Townies ventured to Massachusetts last weekend and were blanked, 26-0, by Foxborough in a non-league game – due in large part to the fact they committed seven turnovers. But the previous weekend, East Providence moved into title contention by beating third-place Hendricken (4-2), 35-14, as quarterback Brandon Peters threw a 24-yard touchdown pass to Victor Adewoski and ran for a pair of touchdowns.

Should East Providence and La Salle enter their Thanksgiving game still ranked 1-2 in the standings and if the Townies win which would force a tie, they would earn the No. 1 seed based on the first tiebreaker (record in head-to-head competition).

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New England Roundup: Rhode Island

October, 5, 2011
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The play happens about as often as Haley’s Comet soars through the skies. But it was just what a young Chariho football team needed to provide the spark for what proved to be a 34-8 rout of perennial Division II power Shea.

Senior Brandon Cahoon returned a second-quarter free kick 70 yards for a touchdown – after already having scored on a 42-yard, first-quarter run – in the II-A game which propelled the Chargers into the thick of the race for the division title.

When the Chargers (2-1, 3-1) walked off the field, they were in a tie with Johnston (2-1, 3-1) and just one game behind undefeated co-leaders Central (3-0, 4-0) and Westerly (3-0, 4-0).

“These kids are all new,” said Chariho coach Mike Kelly. “There are nine new guys starting on offense and eight new guys starting on defense. What’s happening is we’re starting to get comfortable playing together and it’s starting to click a little bit.

“But with new guys, as nice as it is, next week it could be gone. That’s what we have to be careful of.”

Spoken like a true coach. But Cahoon, for the most part, echoed his coach’s sentiments.

“Once one of us starts clicking, we all start clicking,” he said. “Before, we needed to learn our assignments. That’s why we were so slow in the beginning. Once we started clicking, we just kept moving.

“We’re on a roll now. We just won’t stop.”

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New England Roundup: Rhode Island

May, 19, 2011
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All of a sudden, there’s a hole in the East Providence High boys’ hockey program that resembles the Grand Canyon.

Rhode IslandTownie alumnus Gregg Amore, who revived a program that barely had a pulse, resigned his position earlier this month, along with his entire staff.

Ironically, his top assistant, Derek Borek, shortly thereafter was named the head coach at East Bay rival Barrington.

Granted, East Providence’s glory days of the 1970s (the Townies won the now-defunct New England championship and the Rhode Island Division I title in 1975) have been long gone. But Amore restored a great deal of respectability while playing in Division III/Met C.

Amore’s teams were 86-70-4 during the regular season and 101-78-4 overall (this includes a 15-8 record in post-season play which the Townies qualified for five times).

EP hit the jackpot in the 2004-05 season as it compiled a 26-0-0 record and captured the Division III state title – the school’s first in hockey in over 30 years.

Amore inherited a program that had only nine – repeat, nine – players. He dressed 25 last season and leaves the program in much better shape than it was when he first draped a whistle around his neck.

Borek, another Townie alumnus, replaces Ken Fogarty who resigned after three seasons on the bench. The Eagles were 14-4-0 in Division I in 2009-10 but fell to 5-12-1 last season.

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New England Roundup: Rhode Island

May, 4, 2011
5/04/11
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The quality of golfers produced in Rhode Island is completely out of proportion to the Ocean State’s population.

Rhode IslandWitness the state’s two latest “phenoms” – Cumberland High senior Jamison Randall and La Salle Academy senior Juliet Vongphoumy.

Randall last summer won three tournaments: the World Series of Junior Golf, the Rhode Island Golfers Junior Championships and the New England Junior Championships which he captured in a sudden-death playoff.

Randall, who gained early acceptance to Old Dominion University (he’s receiving a partial athletic and academic scholarship), has one goal on his mind this season: Win the Rhode Island Interscholastic League State Tournament, after finishing second last year to Barrington’s Jared Adams.

At the recent 29th annual Challenge Cup Championship held at Cranston’s Alpine Country club, Randall finished second to Portsmouth junior Alex Grimes – whom he beat, 2-and-1, in the finals of the 2010 RIGA Juniors.

But in the opinion of Cumberland coach Jim Dickinson, Randall’s best days are ahead of him this season.

Dickinson stated that the fact Randall has been accepted at Old Dominion has allowed him to focus on “simply” playing golf instead of playing to gain admission to a college.

The last clipper to win the state championship was Chris Simmons in 1989.

Vongphoumy is a story all by herself since she’s the daughter of Laotian immigrants and because she stunned the state’s golfing community when, as a freshman in 2008, she captured the state’s 36-hole tournament by two strokes.

Just over a year ago, she became only the second player in who knows how many years to capture three consecutive American Junior Golf Association girls’ tournaments.

No wonder Vongphoumy was offered a full ride by Maryland. She also was recruited by other ACC schools like Duke and Boston College.

Vongphoumy honed her skills last year at Hilton Head Prep School in South Carolina before returning to La Salle for her senior year.

It’s not out of the realm of possibility that Randall and Vongphoumy could play against each other in the 2011 state tournament.

KNIGHTS CHARGING FORWARD
Unlike the Central High boys’ basketball team, which has won 11 state championships at the Division I level, the baseball team only has won a single state title – in 2006 when the Knights prevailed in the now-defunct Division III.

That drought may be about to change considering the Knights’ success as the Interscholastic League season nears the mid-way point. Coach Dave Hansen’s team leads Division II-Central with a 9-1 record due in large part to a senior-laden team. Central’s talent was on full display in a recent 10-0 romp over division rival Juanita Sanchez when Wailder Luna tossed a one-hit shutout and Manny Melo belted a three-run homer.

Luna entered this week with a 3-0 record in four starts plus a sub-2.00 ERA.

Melo, a senior, doubles as Central’s center fielder as well as the team’s closer.

Ironically, a junior, catcher Johnathan Salcedo is leading the team in batting with a .572 average.

According to Hansen, he wasn’t sure what his team was capable of doing entering this season. But the Knights have been out-hitting teams and have been even more difficult to beat when they play defense.

That was the case in a key 4-1 crossover victory against II-North Woonsocket when Central out-hit the Villa Novans 8-5 (behind Luna), and only committed a respectable two errors.

CLASH OF THE TITANS
Division I-Central leader Hendricken and I-North leader Lincoln hooked up on Monday and the Hawks, who’ve won 16 state championships, beat the Lions, 5-1, as Tom Pannone tossed a three-hitter and also stroked an RBI single.

Cranston West, who also is in contention for the I-Central title, posted a big crossover victory last week against Lincoln – 8-7 as catcher Jeff Diehl (who’s been the object of numerous college and pro scouts’ attention) scored the winning run in the seventh on Alex Moretti’s double.

LIONS, CHARGERS TOUGH IN SOFTBALL
Lincoln and Chariho could be on a collision course for the state Division I softball championship – especially in recent results are any indication.

The Lions, led by All-State pitcher Alyssa McCoart, and Chariho, led by senior co-captains Makalya Clarke and Becky Williams, remained undefeated entering this week in their respective divisions.

Lincoln moved to 9-0 in I-North due to a combination of solid pitching and explosive hitting.

McCoart, who will play here college softball at Central Connecticut State, is 6-0 on the mound and is hitting .654 at the plate.

As a result, Lincoln has outscored its opposition 71-13.

Chariho is 8-0 in I-South after outlasting North Kingstown, 12-10.

Freshman Brianna Cole belted a home run to help pace the Chargers.

LA SALLE STICKMEN PERFECT
La Salle Academy’s boys have staked their claim as the team to beat in Division I.

Coach Steve O’Donnell’s Rams are 4-0 after routing defending state champion Moses Brown, 19-11, and arch-rival Hendricken, 11-1.

The Quakers beat the Rams in overtime in the 2010 finals while the Hawks beat the Rams in the 2009 semifinals.

So, how do you spell La Salle has a score or two to settle?

Long-stick defensemen Vito Capuano, Will Sturgis, Cody O’Connell, Ryan Gallogly and Matt Powers have been keys to La Salle’s success.

LEYS BIDS ADIEU
Middletown, and the Interscholastic League as a whole, lost a superb football coach when Andy Leys announced his retirement effective immediately in order to devote more time to his family.

Under Leys’ guidance, the Islanders posted a combined 33-15 record in Divisions III and IV over the last six years and won the 2010 Division III Super Bowl.
Leys also coached Middletown to the 2006 Division IV Super Bowl crown.

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.

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