SPORTS

Hawks stay step ahead

Posted 4/8/21

The second week of the high school football season was filled with ups and downs. Of course, that can be said for any week on the schedule, but for our teams this past weekend, that old cliche perfectly summed it up. Well, not totally. There was one up

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SPORTS

Hawks stay step ahead

Posted

The second week of the high school football season was filled with ups and downs. Of course, that can be said for any week on the schedule, but for our teams this past weekend, that old cliche perfectly summed it up.

Well, not totally. There was one up and four downs.

Let’s start with the up.

After falling behind 17-0 early, the Bishop Hendricken Hawks came back to stun North Kingstown in a heavyweight battle. Hendricken was the slight favorite heading in, but the Skippers gave them everything they could handle once again in what is becoming the state’s best rivalry.

What did this show us about the Hawks? Not much if you ask me, it just confirmed what we were feeling after their week 1 win. This team, as always, is elite in all areas and will be seated in the driver's seat the rest of the way. It will take a big upset to knock these guys off.

We’ll see how things shake out the rest of the way, but it obviously seems that the Skippers will be right in the hunt as well and these two could very well duke it out once more to determine the state champion.

I’d still pick Hendricken. I know that North Kingstown proved its worth and is a nightmare matchup for any defense. But overall, the Hendricken program is just so stable, so impenetrable. Any team can be beat on any day, but it will take something unusual to knock these guys off.

Now, the downs.

Both Warwick public schools came up short as well as our two Cranston teams. Up north in Johnston, the game was canceled against Scituate so the Panthers were out of action for the weekend.

The defending Division III champion Pilgrim team hit the field for the first time this season after missing the first game due to a cancellation.

Despite holding an early lead against Rogers, it would not be enough as the Vikings turned things around late to earn the 14-6 win.

Pilgrim has a new look roster this season, and by new look, I mean very new look. The Pats graduated 20 seniors from the championship roster including the vast majority of its starters. It’s essentially a new team that is being asked to move up a division.

Although a loss is a loss, to play such a competitive game and to be leading for as long as they did isn’t entirely a bad thing. With a team with so many new pieces, all you can really hope is to have a chance to win late in games and that is exactly what happened. Back to the drawing board, but overall, not a bad start … just not a good one, either.

Toll Gate got a tough win during its opening week matchup against Smithfield, but the momentum was short lived as Ponaganset traveled south and took it to the Titans in a 33-0 shutout.

Ponaganset is better than Smithfield. There’s no denying that, but at the same time, you never want to fall to a team by 33 points. Toll Gate is a good enough team to compete with anyone in its division, so this lopsided win I’m sure was a gut punch.

Instead of getting the wind knocked out of them, I hope to see the Titans use this as a wake up call and make some adjustments. They’re not a perfect unit, but they should be a playoff team. Let’s see how they respond.

As for Cranston, East Greenwich rolled past West 42-6 while South Kingstown beat East 34-8.

Let’s start with East.

As we know, this is a rebuilding program. It was the youngest team in Division I last season and is still younger than the average this season. Point being, we shouldn’t take any loss as much of a surprise.

To be honest with you, and I am not just pulling for the hometown team, but this game was far more competitive than the scoreboard indicated. SK jumped out to a 21-0 lead in the first quarter but then were shut down for the next two quarters. East had a few chances to get back in it, but unfortunately, there were some obvious signs of inexperience that reared their ugly head and the Bolts just couldn’t capitalize.

The Bolts have three playoff teams remaining on their schedule to wrap up their season, so it will continue to be tough sledding. If they can play stingy defense like they did in the middle quarters of Saturday’s game and take a step forward on offense, then progress should be made in the final stretch regardless of what the record will finish at.

As for West, there was a lot of hype surrounding this East Greenwich team, especially on offense, and it felt like this was their breakout game. EG scored early and often and the game seemed out of reach by halftime.

It’s gut check time for the Falcons. They’ve dropped their first two games, and with only three remaining, they’ll likely have to win out.

Is it time to panic? I don’t think so. At the high school level, there’s never a reason to truly panic. But I do believe that the problems at West will have to be sorted out ASAP.

When watching the game on Friday, it didn’t look like West lacked talent or discipline. It simply seemed like they fell behind early, felt the pressure and lost some confidence. The past two seasons, that was never an issue.

With a crop of new guys stepping up this season, it will be up to them to regain that confidence. It comes with experience, but these lows are where we really see what teams are made of.

Granted, Central and East Greenwich is a pretty tough draw, many teams would fall to 0-2 in that situation. But overall, it’s swim or sink time for the Falcons, and we will see this weekend which way they go.

One last thought this week, one outside of high school football.

For the first time since 1948, the Boston Red Sox lost their first three home games to start a season. Not only did they lose, but they got their butts kicked.

Many people forecasted a .500 team that had a chance to compete for a playoff spot. It’s far too early to take a victory lap, but I smelled doom from the get-go.

This team’s pitching from top to bottom is rough … even if Chris Sale returns healthy, it’s still not an impressive group. The lineup should be pretty good at the plate, but it has taken a step back since last season.

Chaim Bloom came from Tampa to lead this Boston team with a small market frugality but a big market wallet. Unfortunately, the odd matchmaking is starting to show, and I already feel the Sox may be in trouble.

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