War­riors not look­ing past North Prov­i­dence

Woonsocket Call - - SPORTS - By JON BAKER jbaker@paw­tuck­et­times.com

CEN­TRAL FALLS — The is­sue of for­feit­ing a game due to use of an in­el­i­gi­ble player is for­got­ten, not even in the rear view mir­ror, says Cen­tral Falls High head coach Jeff Lapierre.

He and his con­tin­gent are wor­ried about one thing, and that’s how to get past fourth-ranked North Prov­i­dence when the two meet in a state Divi­sion III semi­fi­nal at 3:30 p.m., this af­ter­noon at John­ston High.

The good news is the War­riors – the top seed after rolling through their league slate with­out a de­feat (on the field, any­way) – won’t have to look far be­hind them for an au­to­matic con­fi­dence booster. They recorded a 36-14 vic­tory over the Cougars back on Oct. 26.

“It was only a week and change ago that we played them, but we’re not tak­ing any­thing for granted,” Lapierre stated.

“The first thing I’m go­ing to tell my kids is not to un­der­es­ti­mate them. I’ll say, ‘Just be­cause you beat them back then, there’s no guar­an­tee now. This is the start of a new sea­son, and ev­ery­one is 0-0.’ It’s go­ing to be all about who’s hun­gri­est.”

That’s why Lapierre in­di­cated he’s al­ready traded game films with NP chief Glenn Wil­liams, his of Cen­tral Falls’ 36-10 win over Char­iho last Sun­day, and Wil­liams of the Cougars’ tough 26-19 loss at Tol­man.

“They run some spread (of­fen­sively), some tra­di­tional I, some off­set I, and the of­fense runs through their quar­ter­back,” Lapierre said of se­nior Zach Estrela. “He’s a tough kid, and I told him that after we played him that night in North Prov­i­dence. I told him he’s a re­ally good ath­lete; he can beat you with his arm or legs.

“North Prov­i­dence tra­di­tion­ally has a strong run­ning back group, run­ning at­tack,” he added. “They run hard, they run down­hill and – this year with that quar­ter­back – it seems that’s helped open up their pass­ing at­tack.”

In the loss to the Tigers, Estrela amassed 65 yards on nine car­ries, and also com­pleted 12 of 34 aeri­als for 178 yards and two touch­downs, though he was picked off once.

In the back­field, se­nior Lu­ciano Zen­teno mus­tered 79 yards on nine car­ries and class­mate Len­nox Estrada 42 on nine more, while sopho­more Omar Vidal snared three balls for 69 yards and se­nior Eric Cor­wan four more for 50.

Thanks to Estrela’s abil­ity to rally his troops, the Cougars came back from a 20-6 deficit to nearly tie it late in the game. A missed ex­tra point helped Tol­man hold onto the lead, and it scored a TD in the wan­ing mo­ments.

“De­fen­sively, they run a 4-4 scheme, and they like to put a steady stream of pres­sure of the quar­ter­back,” he said of his own sig­nal caller, ju­nior Luis Gon­za­lez. “They’ve got a line­backer (se­nior Greg Masiello Jr.) who’s a re­ally tough kid. He’s very ag­gres­sive, and they’ll blitz him, so your en­tire of­fen­sive line had bet­ter be ready.

“Like I said, we’re not tak­ing any­thing for granted; you can’t at this stage of the sea­son. We have to play our game, not turn the ball over or have any crazy penal­ties. I think our guys know what they need to do to win.”

File photo

Dutchie Ar­royo (above) con­trib­uted four touch­downs when Cen­tral Falls beat North Prov­i­dence dur­ing the reg­u­lar sea­son. The teams meet in the semi­fi­nals.

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