Clip­pers build­ing off thrilling vic­tory

North Kingstown stands in Clip­pers’ way of Divi­sion I ti­tle game spot

Pawtucket Times - - SPORTS - By JON BAKER jbaker@paw­tuck­et­

CUM­BER­LAND — Head coach Josh Lima ad­mit­ted that Cum­ber­land High’s dra­matic 15-14 over­time vic­tory over fa­vored Moses Brown last week­end pro­vided his troops with a thrill they haven’t felt in years af­ter toil­ing in Divi­sion I for so long.

Af­ter all, the Clip­pers not only earned a Divi­sion I quar­ter­fi­nal tri­umph on for­eign turf af­ter los­ing to pow­er­house Hen­dricken at the same level the sea­son be­fore, but also qual­i­fied for a semi­fi­nal against North Kingstown, which is the sec­ond seed from I-A at 8-1 over­all.

That tilt will be con­tested at noon to­day at Cranston Sta­dium.

“I think our guys are ex­cited to be in the state semis; the win is great for the pro­gram,” he ex­plained af­ter a re­cent prac­tice. “It was a hard-fought game, and we’re thrilled to win it.

“We, as a pro­gram, haven’t been there – in D-I – since I think the early 1990s. That’s when Cum­ber­land (with then-men­tor Chris Skurka in charge) lost to West War­wick in the Su­per Bowl.

“Like I said, that win (against the Quak­ers) was fan­tas­tic, but we’re not here think­ing, ‘Great, we made it a step fur­ther than last year,’” he added. “You can’t rest your hat on that ac­com­plish­ment. Yeah, we beat our first-round op­po­nent, but that’s where it ends. Now we’re fo­cus­ing on the next step, and that’s play­ing North Kingstown on Satur­day.

“We’re just look­ing ahead to a new game, and what we have to do well in it to win. We’re do­ing what it takes to do that.”

Lima and his as­sis­tants know that’s no easy task, not against a club that rolled every op­po­nent but one (that be­ing Hen­dricken) this sea­son. In fact, the Skip­pers outscored their foes by a to­tal of 316-124, or an aver­age of 39.5-15.5 per game.

They also av­er­aged nearly 40 points per tilt in their pre­vi­ous three ver­dicts.

“They’re a re­ally solid team; they do a lot of things well,” Lima sighed. “In fact, they do ev­ery­thing well. They’re very dis­ci­plined, and mul­ti­di­men­sional. They’ll run it, and it’s re­ally crisp the way they do it. Their tim­ing is ex­cel­lent.”

He re­ferred to ju­nior sig­nal caller Jim Os­man­ski, se­nior rush­ers Gabe Sloat and Tyler Khal­fayan, sopho­more re­ceiver Tyler Pezza and se­nior end Jim McGovern.

“All those guys are tal­ented,” Lima noted. “They’re also mul­ti­ple on de­fense, so I think we’re see a few dif­fer­ent things from them. North Kingstown is so re­spon­si­ble; they all do their jobs very well. They’re al­ways in good po­si­tion for the plays they’re run­ning, and they’re big up front.

“Ob­vi­ously, if you’re in the semi­fi­nals, you’ve got to be click­ing on all cylin­ders,” he added. “On our side, we have to play dis­ci­plined foot­ball; we have to be crisp and mis­take-free, too. We’ve got to take care of the ball, and we can’t take penal­ties. Yeah, those are all the same old cliches, but they’re true. That de­scribes play­off foot­ball.

“All of the things that you preach at every prac­tice and game dur­ing the reg­u­lar sea­son has to be rote now. All of those things are all the more mag­ni­fied in the post­sea­son, be­cause – if you lose – you’re all done.

“We’re fo­cus­ing on the next step, and the guys have been re­ally up­beat at prac­tice. We’re go­ing to do the ab­so­lute best we can.”

File photo

Dante Aviles-San­tos (3) and No. 4 Cum­ber­land trav­els to Cranston Sta­dium to take on Divi­sion I fa­vorite North Kingstown in the semi­fi­nals to­day at noon.

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