Marven Beauvais thinks Marquem Monroe can be a superstar. When Alex Corvese looks down the line, he sees the best receiver in the state in Beauvais. And when Tom Centore talks about his team’s chances this year, he calls Corvese the most important player.
Ask any one of Cranston East’s three best skill players – or their coach – just how good any of the other three are, and they can’t wait to talk. They know how talented they are and, in turn, how good the team can be because of it.
No one in the state has three players like the ’Bolts.
“We’re pretty dynamic,” Corvese, the team’s senior quarterback, said. “You can try to stop us in the pass game, but then we’re going to run the ball. If you try to stop us trying to run the ball, we’ll try to pass the ball. Having guys like that makes my job so much easier. They shut down Marven, I can go to Marquem or Jimmy (Saab) and trust them. It makes my job easier, and I love that.”
Dynamic may not be a strong enough word.
Beauvais burst onto late in 2011, as a sophomore for East, turning heads towards the tail end of the season and putting his name on every team’s radar.
He followed that up with a 2012 campaign that saw him rack up 10 touchdowns as the state’s most dangerous deep threat, and he earned First-Team All-State honors.
After that season, he ended up on radars well outside of Rhode Island. Schools like the University of Connecticut and Rutgers have shown interest, and Beauvais camped at both places over the summer
“Hopefully one day I’ll be able to go to one of those schools as a player,” he said.
Monroe’s ascent was even quicker. In 2011, as a freshman, he led East’s freshman team to a state championship and capped it off with a five-touchdown performance in the title game.
Last season, he stepped right into a huge role on the varsity team and didn’t miss a beat. He scored 14 touchdowns on offense, picked off four passes from his spot at cornerback and also was named First-Team All-State.
“He’s different,” Centore said. “I can’t imagine many kids much better than him playing at this level. If he were playing in a lower division, I think he’d be a stud. He already is, but he’d rush for 4,000, 5000 yards.”
Finally, there’s Corvese, the slightly less-heralded player who makes the entire thing go. A senior now, Corvese took over the starting job last year as a junior and became one of the state’s best quarterbacks.
He was named Second-Team All-Division I, and feels like he’s already playing at higher level now than the year before.
“I feel like I’ve definitely made big improvements, even from the first game,” Corvese said. “I threw three interceptions my first Division I game, and by the end of the season last year I got a lot better. But from that point to this point, at the beginning of this year, I feel like I’ve made tons of strides. I’ll be the best I can be.”
Centore is his biggest fan.
“He’s just such a leader,” Centore said. “He runs the team, they respect him. He’s the most important guy. It’s just that simple. Other guys are good football players, but you just can’t lose your quarterback. And especially someone like him.”
Last season, one in which East went 6-2, only Beauvais had any real varsity experience under his belt coming into the year – and his was limited to just a few games.
If that was an issue, it didn’t show on the field. East’s only losses all season were to state champion Bishop Hendricken and state runner-up La Salle.
That might be a scary thought for the rest of the league. If those three – and East in general – were that good without the experience, how much better can they be with a year under their belts playing, and playing together.
“We’ll be able to work together faster,” Beauvais said. “We know how everyone is, how everyone plays, where everyone goes, what people do better at certain positions. It’s easier to mesh together.”
The most upside might belong to Monroe, who should take on an expanded role in the offense with that graduation of former backfield mate E.J. Isom. There are certainly other capable runners on the East team, but Monroe will likely set the tone in a big way.
“I think that I can get better as an individual, working in the weight room, just working on what I’ve got to do in practice, getting better, taking on a leadership role and just focusing on the goal of getting to December,” Monroe said.
Of course, with the players like East has, expectations and pressure are sure to follow. In the Rhode Island preseason poll, East will be likely be a top-3 team, and it could be even higher.
But that’s just part of the territory, and the ’Bolts triumvirate of stars aren’t balking at the weight on their shoulders.
“I think we can,” Corvese said. “If we keep working hard every day. We have to stay focused. Sometimes you have those lazy days, got to get over the hump, grind it out and I think we have a shot.”
“We’re trying to accomplish a goal that hasn’t been done here in a very long time,” said Monroe.
When the regular season opens on Sept. 13, East, behind Corvese, Beauvais and Monroe, will see how it stacks up. They know they’re good.
Now they just have to prove it.