Broncos edge Clippers
CUMBERLAND – The Burrillville High field hockey team squeezed out a 2-1 overtime victory over Cumberland at Tucker Field on Friday night. Isabelle O’Hara scored the game winner for the Broncos on an assist from Gabby Aguiar at 1:15 of the extra session.
The game was scoreless at halftime with Burrillville freshman Angel Grondin scored on an assist from Dezarae Parkhurst with 10 minutes left in regulation to give Burrillville a 1-0 lead, but Cumberland’s Holly Pashnik sent the game to overtime on a goal with 28 seconds to play.
“This was a total team effort,” said BHS head coach Sue Burgess.
Jade Simoneau made 10 saves for the Broncos, now 2-2-2 in Division II. Laura Dion came up with three stops for the Clippers (3-6). firstname.lastname@example.org
NORTH SMITHFIELD – Minutes after the Rhode Island Wardogs had clinched a solid, and memorable, 28-19 victory over the rival Connecticut Panthers in a New England Football League tournament quarterfinal last Saturday night, head coach Ruben Costa admitted it had been an emotional previous week for him.
He had multiple reasons why, but his No. 1 was so easy to understand.
“As you know, there was a murder-suicide in Woonsocket this past week, and the female victim who was killed was a friend of mine and my wife’s,” Costa explained while his players celebrated the triumph nearby. “We knew each other very well, even went to some parties together.”
When asked if he had told any of his Wardogs about it, he replied, “I kept it to myself; I didn’t want it to be a distraction to the team, but that did create some tough emotions I had to deal with. This was tough. My wife used to work with Michelle’s sister about 15 years ago, so we all became close. We had the same circle of friends.”
Costa indicated, deep down and inside, he wanted his players to win it for his friend, but also themselves. Rhode Island, you see, had suffered a heartbreaking loss to this same Connecticut club in the NEFL Triple-A Super Bowl a year ago, and – simply put – he wanted to revenge.
“I wanted this win so badly for my guys because they were really disappointed about losing the way they did last year – in the final minute and 20 seconds,” he noted. “There were a few calls that didn’t go our way, and those had a huge impact on the game. We brought those controversial calls to the attention of officials after the game.
“There was a blatant holding penalty that wasn’t called, and it allowed the quarterback to scamper for a first down, and that – in essence – helped wind down the clock … Connecticut has been called by some our kryptonite because we’ve lost two Bowl games to them, and we’ve had a tough time beating them. They recruit very well, and they’ve got a lot of colleges down there to draw from, so this is a great feeling.
“This was very emotional for the players, as they’ve had a year worth of frustration built up inside them,” he continued. “It seemed like a wound that never healed, even though we beat them earlier this season.
“Some of the Panthers said after this game that they had brought a full squad, and that they even had tapped into some of their reserve players with the intention of coming here and beating us. They also said that the collection of players they came up here with was the best collection they had all year.
“They brought it, but our guys responded to it, so we’re all thrilled.”
As stated, however, the Wardogs have barely begun their quest of capturing the Triple-A championship. Next up for them: The Southern Maine Raging Bulls, a team Rhode Island pummeled, 32-13, to end a two-game, season-opening slide in Week No. 3.
In that tilt, quarterback Jeff Costa (a 2005 Tolman grad) completed 15of-24 passes for 303 yards and five touchdowns. He did that despite being mighty sick with the flu earlier in the week, and without the services of receiver Elliot Wright.
Still, the elder Costa is wary of facing the Raging Bulls again.
“They have a very good organization and great coaches, and they can adapt to our style of football, which is more smashmouth than anything else,” he stated. “They did that in the first game (even though Rhode Island forged a 26-0 cushion before Southern Maine mustered a mini-comeback). They’ve got a lot of young, talented athletes who can fly, are very shifty.
“It’s going to be our responsibility to play disciplined football and take control of the game the way we did last time,” he added. “We can do that by making them play our brand. We can play with finesse, but we have a lot of guys who like to play the old school kind.
“Our defense is really gritty, and I think – after what happened last week – the guys have more confidence in each other; they believe they can take whatever the Bulls throw at them.”
He explained Southern Mains runs a spread offense with the young, scrambling Isaiah Bachelder behind center, and he loved throwing to shifty end Justin Cocroft.
“They nevertheless aren’t afraid to play a little smashmouth themselves,” Costa offered. ‘Their QB isn’t afraid to leave the pocket, and he can really move, so we’re going to have to keep a close eye on him.
“I’ve already told my guys, ‘Don’t think for a minute that you’re going to roll over them just by showing up. They put up a fight the last time we played them. They’re also not going to drive all the way down here, three hours plus, to be rolled over. They’re coming down with every intention of winning and moving on to the Super Bowl.’
“Our players and staff have come this far, and I don’t think anyone wants our season to end on Saturday night.”
Ruben Costa, right, and the No. 2 Rhode Island Wardogs face No. 3 Southern Maine in the NEFL semifinals tonight at North Smithfield High.