Westerly will test Woonsocket
Villa Novans out to atone for disappointing effort in first meeting
WOONSOCKET — Second-year coach Charlie Bibeault stated it’s no secret what he and his Woonsocket High coaching staff will do in an effort to defeat Westerly in a Division II semifinal on today at noon at East Greenwich High).
“We’re going to rely on (senior tailback) Manny Gomes to get us yardage, then let our other weapons fit in where they may,” he said simply of Gomes, who collected 270 yards and two touchdowns on a mere 17 handles during Woonsocket’s 24-14 quarterfinal victory over Middletown last weekend.
(He now has run for over 1,500 ground yards, and has 20 rushing and receiving touchdowns on the campaign).
Bibeault couldn’t have been more matter of fact about the clash between the top-ranked Villa Novans from II-A and the second-seeded Bulldogs from II-B; both will carry a 7-1 overall mark into it.
“If we lose the turnover battle, that’s it – we lose,” he noted. “They’re too good to give them multiple opportunities. Pure and simple, we’ve got to keep their offense off the field, meaning we have to keep ours on it.
“This is going to go to whoever controls the line of scrimmage.”
He admitted stopping Westerly’s offense, which he called “unique,” will be no easy task. The reason: They don’t have a quarterback per se. Instead, they have a bevy of backs who run pretty much of a “Wildcat” scheme, with seniors Tristan Turano, Peter Fusaro, Jon Brutcher and Jalen Valentin at the helm.
“It’s almost like a rugby-style offense,” he said. “(Turano) is by far the guy who carries it most, and (Valentin) is next. Their bread and butter is running the power between the tackles, so it’s pretty basic. They don’t throw it much, if at all, so they’re pretty much the opposite of Burrillville.”
He mentioned the Broncos for two reasons: First, he knows their varsity mentor Gennaro Ferraro, extremely well; and, second, Burrillville handed the Bulldogs their first loss of the sea- son just last week. k
“It’s all about controlling the line of scrimmage, shutting down theirt running attack,” Bibeault offered. “That’s really all they’ve got. If we do that, we should be in good shape.m They’re very physical, they like to ground and pound, so you’ve got to match that. Like I said, it’s rugby style. If you allow them to get it go-V ing, get on a roll, it’s going to be hard to hang on. k
“Defensively, they run a 4-2 with five defensive backs, so it’s more ory less a nickel,” he continued. “For most of the year, outside of Burrillville, nobody’s really tested them to force them to come out of that nickel.
“Again, we have to have success moving it ourselves.” p
The state’s leading rusher, Westerly senior Tristan Turano (33), leads the No. 2 Bulldogs into today’s Division II semifinal against top-seeded Woonsocket.
Emmanuel Gomes and Woonsocket struggled against Westerly during the regular season because of turnovers and penalties. The Novans can atone for that defeat in today’s Division II semifinal contest at East Greenwich High School.