SPORTS

Locals look to make noise at next level

By ALEX SPONSELLER
Posted 8/25/21

Rhode Island athletes have been getting a lot of ink lately on computer news, NFL links and in the state and local papers. This surge was led by KWITY PAYE (Bishop Hendricken-UMichigan),whose personal story of his Mother's escape from war-torn Liberia,

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SPORTS

Locals look to make noise at next level

Posted

Rhode Island athletes have been getting a lot of ink lately on computer news, NFL links and in the state and local papers. This surge was led by KWITY PAYE (Bishop Hendricken-UMichigan),whose personal story of his Mother's escape from war-torn Liberia, and his family coming to Providence, existing under harsh conditions, but overcoming all that with tremendous high school success, followed by equally outstanding performances for the Wolverines made for a feel good story for the ages.

NOLAN COONEY, from East Greenwich, who went to Bridgton Academy and then to notable punting performances at Syracuse, after overcoming testicular cancer, earning the Brian Piccolo Award, and a Syracuse Courage Award and then being signed by the New Orleans Saints, is also a compelling story.

Two boys with strong Rhode Island connections have signed with NFL teams. THADDEUS MOSS (Lincoln - LSU), the son of outstanding pro receiver, Randy Moss, is now with the Bengals. KEN YEBOAH, (Providence-Temple-LSU) has signed with the New York Jets. Mount Pleasant standout JOSEPH PUTU ( MP-NDSCS-UFlorida) is in his second season with The Aviators of the Spring Professional Football League.

We have learned that MOMODOU MBYE (Shea-URI) has made the roster of the Green Bay Blizzard of The Indoor Football League and NICK GIORGIO (Cumberland-Springfield) is making a big splash with the Orlando Predators of the Arena Football League. Mbye won the Home State Hero Award given by the Providence Gridiron Club while Giorgio garnered the Pride of Rhode Island Award. Paye has also been tabbed as a Pride winner and will be feted either this fall or next spring as the PGC will try to work around his schedule with the Colts to get him to his honor night.

URI also has three players on rosters of Cowboys(Aaron Parker), Giants(Kyle Murphy). Meanwhile Kevin Lawrence signed with Winnipeg of the CFL. Speaking of Rhody, Coach JIM FLEMING had his squad out to a flying start this spring before COVID put a kibosh on the season. He hopes to continue that success this coming fall. The Ocean Staters will be led by ANDRE BIBEAULT (Cumberland) and MALIK GAVEK (Cranston East). Other former Rhody High school stars hoping to make their mark this year include MONTANER FRESILLI (South Kingstown), FRED MALLAY (Mount Pleasant), EMMANUEL GOMES (Woonsocket), JAYLEN SMITH (Shea),and GABE SLOAT (North Kingstown).

At in-state rival Brown, former Cranston West star WILL SUCH is looking for a breakout season at running back. The 6-foor-2 225-pound athlete should be a big help for the Bears. Salve Regina's top defensive back, MATT SYLVIA comes back for a final season and looks to repeat the ALL Everything sophomore year, where he captured All-Conference, All-New England and All-East honors. He made All Conference again as a Junior and has been named winner of the 2021 Home State Hero Award from the Providence Gridiron Club.

TRE JONES (St. Ray's-CCSU) was an All-League NEC for the Central Connecticut Blue Devils. The 6-foor-2 255-pound defensive stalwart helped his team to the FCS playoffs and they are looking to repeat that success this season. Jones won a Pride Award last year. Also from Pawtucket, LEANDRO DIBRITO (Shea-Duquesne) was All NEC and a big force for the Dukes and hopes to propel them to the 2021 playoffs. Both Jones and DiBrito are forecast to be playing somewhere at the next level.

Up aways in New Hampshire SEAN COYNE (Portsmouth) and DYLAN POIRIER (North Kingstown) are hoping to bring the UNH Wildcats back to prominence. It was not too long ago that the Durham boys knocked off 11 of 12 FBS schools in their supposed "squash" money games. One of the schools they beat was Big Ten toughie, Northwestern.

Classical's JEHLANI GALLOWAY at Boston College is ready to play a bigger role in the Eagle's offense at wide receiver. He exhibited some prowess at the position during the 2020 season so much more is expected of him this coming fall.

CRISTOS ARGYS (Moses Brown-Holy Cross) started off with a bang with the Purple Crusaders but injuries have curtailed his play. he hopes to bounce back this year with a bigger and better year as Coach Bob Chesney's outfit becomes an emerging power on the New England FCS scene and hope to be a player at the national level.

NOAH IDEN (North Kingstown-UCONN) is a kickoff specialist for the Huskies while AVIAN PEAH(LaSalle) is coming on for the UMass Minutemen. Another LaSallian of note is NICK LOMBARDO, who is headed the U.S. Naval Academy at Annapolis. JASON ONYE (Bishop Hendricken-Notre Dame) and HARRISON LEONARD (RI resident-Avon Old Farms)are looking to crack the Irish roster. At FCS Catholic power Villa Nova, Hendricken's JAKE PICARD will be looking to do likewise.

Another former Hawk lineman, 6-foot-7 330-pound XAVIER TRUSS has already made a mark at the University of Georgia in part-time duty. He expects to be a full blown starter this fall.

On a lower level at D3, UMass-Dartmouth's STEVE GACIOCH is looking to light up the scoreboard and add to his record setting passing performances. The two time Boston Globe Award winner is also looking to continue playing after college. He is 6-foor-3, 220 with a laser arm, and some-one in any one of the 8 pro leagues will definitely give him a look.

There are a host of Rhode Island High School grads playing at D-2 and D-3 this year. We bet we will be hearing about a bunch of them in the near future including CAM ALVES and NATHANIEL SENA of Cranston West and brothers TOM and NIC COMELLA of Hendricken are on the Stonehill Skyhawks roster. CONRAD SWANSON (East Greenwich) is looking to be a force at Western New England University, a small college power in New England circles. Two brothers from East Greenwich, MATTHEW AND KEVIN LICCIARDI are both hoping to make themselves known, one at Endicott and the other at Catholic U. in the D.C. area.

We are sure there are many more and that their parents, coaches and friends will let us know how they are doing so they can be included in the future. Feel free to send names of those RIHS grads who are starring at their respective schools to thebrooker23@yahoo.com.

This release brought to you courtesy of the Providence Gridiron Club, promoting Rhode Island Football on ALL levels (Youth, High School, College, Semi-Pro,Pro) since 1945.

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