Warriors not looking past North Providence
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.”
Dutchie Arroyo (above) contributed four touchdowns when Central Falls beat North Providence during the regular season. The teams meet in the semifinals.