West­erly will test Woonsocket

Villa No­vans out to atone for dis­ap­point­ing ef­fort in first meet­ing

Pawtucket Times - - SPORTS - By JON BAKER jbaker@paw­tuck­et­times.com

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

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File photo

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.

File photo

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.

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