New England Roundup: Rhode Island

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.


La Salle junior Josh Morris received the 2011 Gatorade Rhode Island Football Player of the Year prior to the Super Bowl.

Going into that game, Morris had ran for 1,278 yards and 16 touchdowns on 134 carries and also caught nine passes for 175 yards and one touchdown.

In addition, he averaged 39.8 yards per kickoff return and for good measure intercepted two passes.

East Providence coach Sandy Gorham underwent successful surgery shortly after the Division I semifinals after he was diagnosed with having prostate cancer.


Seldom, if ever, does Mount St. Charles boys’ hockey team open a season with two losses to any team, even one as proficient as La Salle. But that’s what happened when the Rams beat the Mount 3-1 and 3-2.

A pair of power-play goals in the third period keyed La Salle’s first victory over the Mount while Bryan Lemos scored at 3:09 of overtime for the second triumph.

Each team’s goalie was solid in net with La Salle freshman Tyler Walsh making 31 saves and Mount’s Brian Larence stopping 30 shots.


Moses Brown delivered a body check that reverberated throughout the Interscholastic League when it announced that the school’s hockey team would be leaving the R.I.I.L. and returning to the New England Prep School Athletic Conference commencing next season.

The Quakers cited the fact that Interscholastic League rules allow a team to play only 22 games while NEPSAC schools can play anywhere from 25 to 30 games – in addition to tournaments.

Moses Brown compiled a commendable 46-36-5 record during five seasons in Division I.


Both the La Salle and Scituate boys’ basketball teams were left in a bind when their head coaches resigned shortly after practice began for the 2011-12 season.

Bill Black, who coached La Salle for two seasons, tendered his resignation because he wanted to spend more time with his family.

Assistant coaches Marc Bayha, David Heroux and Josh Odugbela are serving as interim coaches.

The same is true at Scituate where Ralph Apici takes over for Bill Bennett who left after one season.

Bennett cited “personal reasons” for his decision to leave the Spartans.


Maybe it doesn’t have the glamour of the state tournament. But the annual James W. Donaldson Memorial Tip-Off Tournament means a lot to its participants – one reason being it’s named after the late coach who guided Tolman for decades and was affectionately referred to as “Gentleman Jim.”

Tolman won a second consecutive championship by edging Shea, 58-53, in the finals.

Mamour Samb paced the Tigers by recording a triple-double (14 points, 10 rebounds and 11 steals) while tourney MVP Juan Velez poured in 22 points.


A trio of female athletes announced where they will be playing their respective sports commencing next year.

Mollie Anderson, who pitched East Greenwich to the Avengers’ first Division II softball title, will be the first Rhode Island recruit to attend Bryant University.

Fellow Avenger Megain Griender will be playing soccer at Holy Cross.

A midfielder, Griender led EG to the Division I-South championship and the state semifinals.

Lincoln’s Jillian DeSimone also is staying close to home since she decided to play soccer at Brown University. DeSimone scored 23 goals (12 of which were game-winning scores) and assisted on nine.


The Rhode Island Girls Soccer Coaches’ Association Hall of Fame increased by three with the addition of Dick Magarian, Marie Cote and Lindsay Fish.

Magarian retired earlier this year as the R.I.I.L. assistant executive director.

Cote, the principal at Pilgrim, was the league’s director of girls’ soccer.

Fish was a standout at South Kingstown before taking her talents to Rhode Island in the mid-1990s.

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.