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.”
MAKE A DATE AND DON’T BE LATE
Circle October 28 on your calendar because that’s when the Division I regular-season championship could be decided when undefeated co-leaders Cranston West (3-0, 4-0) and La Salle (3-0, 4-0) play at the Rams’ newly-refurbished Cronin Field.
The Falcons in their last two games outlasted one of their fiercest opponents, East Providence, 19-10, and then belted winless North Kingstown, 47-7.
Twice in the first half against the Townies, Cranston West threw up a brick wall when East Providence advanced inside the 5. Then, Nicholas DeMarco sealed the deal by returning an interception 28 yards for a touchdown with 1:43 left on the clock.
Suspense was non-existent against the Skippers because the Falcons blew out to a 34-7 halftime lead.
When the dust finally settled, quarterback Matt Rousseau had thrown touchdown passes of 22 yards to Xavier Ferland-Haroun and 25 yards to Bryan Stetson.
La Salle had minimal trouble remaining undefeated as it waxed South Kingstown, 48-21, as quarterback Anthony Francis threw four touchdown passes and ran for another.
KNIGHTS HOPE TO BECOME KINGS
Central has long been a state power in boys’ basketball at the Division I level. But that hasn’t been the case in football.
Yet the 2011 version of the football Knights is giving every indication it’s bent on adding a new trophy to the school’s trophy case.
The Knights (3-0, 4-0) remained undefeated and tied for first place in Division II-A with Westerly by outscoring Johnston, 42-36 in double overtime.
Carlos Mangum scored on a 10-yard run at the beginning of the extra session to snap a 36-36 tie and give the Knights the victory – one which was notable because Central had allowed exactly zero points in its first three games.
The only question for Central coach Pete Rios is might this have been a costly victory because one of the state’s top running backs, Mike Washington (who scored four touchdowns to up his overall total to 17), was hampered by leg cramps in the second half and exited with a pulled groin muscle in the first extra session.
SNAFU BENEFITS EAST GREENWICH
East Greenwich, which plays in Division III, received an unexpected “present” when Lincoln announced it had inadvertently fielded an ineligible player in the Lions’ 20-0 victory over the Avengers on September 16.
Lincoln thus forfeited the game to East Greenwich which improved the team’s league record to 2-1 and kept it in the early-season playoff hunt.
ISLANDERS “BOOT” AVENGERS
Middletown became the first team to beat East Greenwich in a regular-season game since 2008 when the Islanders belted the Avengers, 4-1, in a Division II contest.
Jacob Mason scored a pair of goals while teammates Jeremy Frank and Bill Daughan added one apiece as the Islanders improved to 6-2-0 while the Avengers slipped to 6-1-0.
The outcome of this game could indicate East Greenwich will be put to the test for the remainder of the season because it graduated All-State forward Rob Bialy and is playing with an inexperienced defense.
ENTERING THE HALLS
Two schools from different parts of the state recently announced inductees for their respective Halls of Fame.
Topping the list for West Warwick are Tracy Giroux, one of the greatest female basketball players in school history, and Robbie Quinn, who went on to become one of the state’s premiere – if not, THE premiere – amateur golfer.
Other inductees include Wendy Powell and Matt Rajotte while Harry McKenna and James Tarbox were voted into the school’s Memorial Hall of Fame.
The 28th annual East Providence Hall of Fame inductees are led by long-time director of athletics Ken Reall who also was a legendary interscholastic swim coach for decades.
MAJOR JOB OPENING
Bruce Gammell literally left St. Raphael Academy holding an empty bag when he suddenly decided to vacate his position as the school’s director of athletics and relocate to Florida.
Fred Saunders, who coaches the girls’ basketball team, was appointed interim athletic director.
All indications are that school principal/president Maryann Donohue-Lynch and a search committee would remove the “interim” label before Saunders’ name.
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.