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Woonsocket gridders remain in Division II

January 23, 2012

Woonsocket High athletic director George Nasuti, top left, and football coach Carnell Henderson saw their program remain in Division II instead of moving up to Division I. (ERNEST A. BROWN photo)

PROVIDENCE – The Woonsocket High School football program is staying put in Division II. In the case of Tolman High, Division I beckons after a successful stint in Division II.
Divisional alignments for several fall sports were ratified and approved at Monday’s meeting of the Rhode Island Interscholastic League Principals' Committee on Athletics. In the case of football, Woonsocket will remain in Division II, a league where the Villa Novans have resided since the 2006 season.
Under the 70/30 formula utilized by the RIIL when going through the realignment process – 70 representing a team’s win-loss record during an eight year stretch that began in 2004 and concluded in 2011 with the 30-percent component based on each school’s 2010 male enrollment – Woonsocket met the criteria to play in Division I for the upcoming two-year realignment period. The Villa Novans ranked ninth among the 43 participating schools with the state’s top division typically housing nine teams.
What saved Woonsocket from moving up and competing against an entirely different and more difficult brand of competition was the request South Kingstown High made to remain in Division I. The Rebels compiled an 8-10 league record over the past two seasons but did qualify for the Div. I postseason in 2011 after a 5-3 finish.
In essence the Novans and Rebels conducted a perfect trade in which both parties walked away from the table happy. Typically lateral movement is permissible between the last three teams in one division and the top-three ranked teams in the division immediately underneath them. South Kingstown ranked 12 th in the power rankings, meaning the Rebels were tabbed as the third Division II team immediately behind North Kingstown (No. 10) and Cumberland (No. 11).
Like Woonsocket, Tolman also filed a request to move down after the 70/30 criteria revealed that the Tigers would be placed in Division I (Tolman finished eighth in the final rankings). Unlike the Villa Novans, the Tigers were unable to find a willing trading partner. Tolman last competed in Division I during the 1970s, capturing the top prize in 1971. The Tigers also won a Division I state title in 1964.
Tolman joins a Division I field that includes two-time defending champion Bishop Hendricken, La Salle Academy, East Providence, Cranston West, Cranston East, Barrington and Portsmouth.
The A and B sides for the 16-team Division II were unveiled. Making up the A side are Woonsocket, Westerly, Chariho, Coventry, Mt. Hope, Toll Gate, Warwick Vets and Johnston. The B side includes North Kingstown, Cumberland, St. Raphael, Shea, West Warwick, Rogers, Central and Pilgrim.
Grouped in Division III are Moses Brown, Burrillville, Lincoln, Ponaganset, East Greenwich, Middletown, Narragansett and Tiverton. The Division IV field includes Hope, North Providence, PCD co-op, Smithfield, Central Falls, Mt. Pleasant, Exeter/West Greenwich, North Smithfield and Scituate.

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