SPORTS

West’s new field sets the bar high

Posted 9/17/21

Last week I had the pleasure of covering the Cranston West football game at the new field on campus. I had covered a game or two there last spring but this was my first time catching a Friday night game in the fall. I must say, and I am not being

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SPORTS

West’s new field sets the bar high

Posted

Last week I had the pleasure of covering the Cranston West football game at the new field on campus. I had covered a game or two there last spring but this was my first time catching a Friday night game in the fall.

I must say, and I am not being hyperbolic when I say this, but that may have been the best atmosphere that I have ever seen at a high school sporting event. Not just regular season, either, in general, that place was rocking and it felt like something truly special was going on.

There was a massive student presence there. Kids wearing their USA themed attire, taking up about a third of the stands. Not only were they totally invested in the game on the field, but they were singing, performing, they were killing it.

Then there was the rest of the community, people from all over the city. People that I didn't even know were Cranston West people. It was packed for this regular season game.

Cranston West always has a solid crowd for any sporting event. In the three-plus years I have been in Rhode Island, I have always noticed the school’s devotion.

Still, something was different about this game, and I am going to chalk it up to the excitement of the full capacity being back in the mix and the thrill of a new, beautiful complex.

This brings me to my next point … the city of Warwick really should follow through on upgrading Pilgrim and Toll Gate’s fields.

Sure, the fields at both Pilgrim and Vets are playable and the stands hold a high enough capacity to satisfy the needs of the community. Parking isn’t an issue either, point being, the upgrades are probably not needed for the teams to be able to host these events.

But when watching the pride that West’s new field has brought to the school, it’s so obvious the dividends that it has paid.

A few weeks back, I wrote about the potential at the Mickey Stevens complex in Warwick and how it is a shame that it has been so run down over the past two decades. Part of the renovation plan that was revealed last year was a new football facility, so to see those plans put on hold and potentially tossed in the trash is such a letdown.

Warwick is one of the largest cities in the state and is centrally located. Just to revisit Mickey Stevens for a moment, the space and foundation that has already been laid there would give the city a potential money maker for not only Rhode Island sports but for the entire New England region. To let the complex rot is a shame.

Back to football.

Pilgrim and Toll Gate also have great fanbases. Regardless of the condition of the fields and the bleachers, their fans always show up ready to cheer their teams on.

But imagine if they were presented with a new, state of the art facility and field like West has? I’d imagine a similar scene to the one last week when the Falcons took home the 20-7 win over West Warwick.

In short, I am not trying to rehash old topics, but I have two motives here.

One is to tip my hat to West. I am happy to see the community enjoying their new facility and demonstrating their pride in what they have. It really made for a fun night and I am excited to get back down there this fall.

The second motive is just a friendly reminder to the city of Warwick. You have all the resources to do something exciting and special for your public schools and football teams. Let’s start getting the ball rolling.

The next item I wanted to touch on is interstate competition.

Every year, the Bishop Hendricken football team squares off against Iona Prep in New York. The team will also be hosting Massachusetts power Catholic Memorial in a few weeks.

There are some sports, like wrestling and track for example, where we have New England championships. I wish that more sports would allow for this. I know that it is not as feasible and will likely never happen, but a guy can dream, right?

Imagine though, taking the six New England state champions and coming up with a bracket and a playoff system? I know there are many issues with this. Some states are larger, some have more divisions than others, the additional games would cut into whichever the following season is.

However, it is a dream scenario of mine which I think about all the time. I’ve covered sports in Mass, Maine and Rhody, so in my mind I am always thinking of potential matchups in certain sports. I would love to see these region-wide tournaments be introduced at some point if possible.

Lastly, to give you my weekly Patriots thought.

My biggest takeaway from the team’s 17-16 opening day loss to Miami is that I am relieved that it appears that quarterback Mac Jones is actually ready to compete. The doubts regarding the preseason play have largely been erased to this point and he put together a real solid outing against the Dolphins.

Now, the team gave this game away. Between the fumbles, penalties, big plays allowed, they beat themselves. Especially considering that it was against a divisional opponent, the end result hurt.

With the additional game this season and the added playoff seed from last year’s rule change, I do not think this all of a sudden eliminates the Pats from reaching the postseason. Buffalo lost to Pittsburgh as well which helps.

Moving forward, the team can’t make the number of mistakes it made on Sunday. Although the roster is deeper and more talented than last year, and even if Jones continues to trend in the right direction, the team just is not good enough to win while making mistakes.

We’ll see what next week brings. The Pats should be the favorite against the Jets, who also lost on Sunday. This should be a good opportunity for the team to bounce back and for Jones to continue to build some confidence with the showdown with Tom Brady looming.

My Pitch, sports

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