Archive - Nov 2011 - Sports Article
WOONSOCKET â€” It seems like a very long time ago, but itâ€™s been only a decade since Woonsocket High was considered one of the competitive teams in the Met B-North ranks, racking up double digits in victories and making solid runs in the playoffs year after year.
Unfortunately for the Villa Novans, a lot has changed since their last winning season as a Met B (now Division II) team eight years ago. Only twice have they posted a winning record -- in Division III -- and last season, they hit rock bottom with a 1-15 mark that saw them get outscored 161-18.
Only in New England can you be sitting in an audience, watching a great presentation of Hamlet by the Gamm Theatre acting company of Pawtucket, when during intermission a man turns around in his seat and asks: â€śWhoâ€™s going to be the next manager of the Red Sox?â€ť
The interrogator was Bobby Fields, a former Pawtucket West student-athlete. He probably wonâ€™t recognize the rest of this but Shakespeare might.
NORTH SMITHFIELD â€” The playoffs for Division IV begin Nov. 29 with a pair of semifinal contests.
Right now, one of the hottest team heading into the postseason just be North Smithfield.
After falling to Smithfield back on Sept. 30, the Northmen have won five straight games, mostly against the upper-echelon of divisional squads.
En route to its current 5-2 mark, one that ties the local gridders with the Sentinels for second place in the league, N.S. has knocked off two undefeated teams (Exeter/West Greenwich, Mount Pleasant) and two others with winning records (Smithfield, Central Falls).
It's often said that passion in athletics among our youths has been lost. With all the distractions that kids have nowadays, such as video games, computers and iPods, the younger generation has been more inclined to sit down and punch keys or work a remote than dedicate themselves to a sport (or sports).
The decline in roster numbers and the empty fields and basketball courts on a daily basis has proven that some of that is true.
But the passion hasn't disappeared completely. There is still that urge to test one's strength to its physical and mental limits among some of our youths.
For Rhode Island high school football teams, playing on Thanksgiving is hailed as one of those holiday traditions you canâ€™t live without, itâ€™s so-called importance ranking up there with the Macyâ€™s Day Parade, awkward dinner-time conversations and endless turkey leftovers.
PAWTUCKET --- Fights donâ€™t get any bigger or significant than the one Peter Manfredo Jr. has on Saturday night.
If the Manfredoâ€™s Gym middleweight beats undefeated Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. at Houstonâ€™s Reliant Arena, he will take home Chavezâ€™s WBC (World Boxing Council) championship belt and be in line for a huge payday in the form of an expected title defense against former WBC champion Sergio Martinez.
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. â€” Two straight losses were too many for Tom Brady.
He and the New England Patriots weren't used to struggling or hearing people wondering if they're no longer the powerhouse they've been for years. Well, just like that, they're back in a familiar spot: all alone at the top of the AFC East.
Brady threw three touchdown passes, including two to Rob Gronkowski, and the Patriots assumed sole possession of first place in the division with a convincing 37-16 victory over the New York Jets on Sunday night.
PROVIDENCE --- With a combined 17 goals allowed between them this season, it was clear that scoring was going to be at a minimum in the Division II state finals between second-seeded Lincoln High and unbeaten No. 1 seed Exeter/West Greenwich.
That held true on Sunday afternoon at the Rhode Island College complex. But after a tight contest for 60 minutes, the Scarlet Knights broke through with two goals in a seven-minute span to pave the way for their second straight state crown with a 3-1 victory over the Lions in a rematch of last year's championship contest.
PAWTUCKET â€“ We hear the phrase â€śmaking playsâ€ť from athletes and coaches so often that sometimes the exact meaning of the phrase gets lost in its overuse.
Cumberland coach Chris Skurka used the term to describe how his underdog Clippers sneaked past favored Tolman by a 13-9 margin on Saturday night in a Division II quarterfinal playoff game.
â€śThatâ€™s what this team does,â€ť Skurka said. â€śWe make plays.â€ť
FAIRFIELD, Ct. â€“ Through all the ups and downs, the good times and the hardships, the smile still comes naturally.
The widespread grin of Rakim Sanders has come to embody his innocence and easygoing temperament. Scratch beneath the surface and youâ€™ll find a compassionate young man, someone who possesses the necessary zeal and resolve which made sure he didnâ€™t become symbolic of the Pawtucket housing project of his youth.