By ALEX SPONSELLER In the latest announcement by the state and Rhode Island Interscholastic League, it was made official that football and volleyball would not be played during this fall. There are still any questions regarding the future of these sports
By ALEX SPONSELLER In the latest announcement by the state and Rhode Island Interscholastic League, it was made official that football and volleyball would not be played during this fall.
There are still any questions regarding the future of these sports in Rhode Island, and much uncertainty to go with it.
As of this moment, the league hopes to include the two sports in its third season which will take place between traditional winter and spring - March and April. Although this is the hope, nothing is official, and it looks as though there are still a handful of hurdles to overcome before these sports return to action.
For Cranston West football, which is coming off another Division I Super Bowl appearance, its main focus moving forward is adapting and being prepared for whenever it returns to the gridiron.
“I was disappointed by the decision but understood it. I feel bad for the kids, especially the seniors, but by going to the spring that allows us to have a full season. Life is full of adjustments and football is an adjustment game. I talked to the kids and told them, ‘We have to worry about what we can control and what we can control is football in the spring, so that’s what we will focus on,’” said West head coach Tom Milewski.
Cranston East head coach Tom Centore was not surprised by the decision.
“I wasn’t surprised by the news, considering what we were hearing. We were kept up to date on what we had to do to follow the state and school guidelines. We were optimistic at the beginning, but as the summer went on and we started seeing things continue to get postponed, we stopped being optimistic about the fall. Even if we had a fall season, it was not going to be a full schedule, it would have been regionalized, a lot of things would have changed,” said Centore.
West and East are currently in different stages of building their rosters.
The Falcons have made back-to-back Super Bowl appearances and are still poised to be in the hunt again despite losing a large senior core. East is coming off of a down year, but has one of the younger rosters in the state and is eyeing a step forward.
For Milewski and his staff, the delay could actually serve them well in figuring out which youngsters will fill the holes left by the seniors.
“We lost a lot of seniors and we had some summer workouts. We got an idea of what we needed to do to replace what we need to replace, so maybe this will benefit us and give us some more time to mentally prepare these kids. We’re going to try to take advantage of this extra time,” said Milewski, who also hopes that the potential quick turnaround from winter and spring will not hurt the players. “It has definitely crossed my mind. The current model that the interscholastic league has, that could be tough on their bodies. But they’re young, they recover a little faster. Also, the kids will be coming in shape from their other (winter) sports. We’ll back off physically if we need to, we’ll be smart about it.”
As the coach of a rebuilding squad, Centore is also concerned about the possible shortage of prep time and would like to see the league allow offseason meetings leading up to the season.
“They’re toying around with the idea of letting kids get together like once a week to meet and practice, that’s just speculation at this point, but it would be nice if we could meet with those kids to get to know them. The kids also need time to get into football shape, this isn’t baseball, it’s not basketball, you need time. You need time physically and for your conditioning,” said Centore.
Other possible issues include inclement weather in the early spring months as well as future college recruitment.
“The weather could potentially be a challenge in February, March, April depending on the snow. On the other hand, that may provide some excitement for them being able to play in the snow,” said Milewski.
Centore added: “For Division I and II schools, they already have a pretty good idea of the juniors and seniors that they are interested in … they usually have had those kids on their radar for awhile. But I could definitely see this affecting the sophomores and even the freshmen behind them because now they may have had to miss those summer camps and who knows if they will be able to have camp next summer as well. This could definitely hurt those kids.”
Ultimately, both Milewski and Centore look forward to continuing to work with their players despite the schedule change and hope to see the league provide the kids with a season one way or another.
“It’s going to be different, something we have not done before, so we’ll just go with it. It could be exciting though. Is it sad to not be playing at the same time as the Patriots and colleges? Yes, but this isn’t the NBA with a bubble, student-athletes need to worry about school first,” Milewski said.
“I talked to them during the summer and was very honest with them. The big thing that came from their mind was that they just wanted to be able to play at some point, whether it was now or the (third) season,” added Centore. “They just want to play, and playing in the spring will ensure that seniors get that final season. We all want to play, win games, make the playoffs and compete for a championship.”