2013-10-03 / News

Skippers hope to stay unbeaten against Rogers

By Margo Sullivan

The Skippers are off to a 2-0 start in league play. Jamestowners on the team include (back row, left to right) Ryan Geib, 16, coach Bill Piva and Robert Haverland, 15. Kneeling is 15-year-old islander Evan Chadwick. 
Photo by Margo Sullivan The Skippers are off to a 2-0 start in league play. Jamestowners on the team include (back row, left to right) Ryan Geib, 16, coach Bill Piva and Robert Haverland, 15. Kneeling is 15-year-old islander Evan Chadwick. Photo by Margo Sullivan The North Kingstown football team is undefeated going into Friday night’s game against Rogers, and according to assistant coach Bill Piva, it may be the school’s best start ever.

The Skippers have struggled to come up with victories over the last three seasons, but the 2013 campaign has been a different story so far. The team is 3-0 and coming off a 30-point win over Pilgrim, piling on 52 points against the Patriots. In North Kingstown’s two league games, the Skippers have outscored their opponents by 36 points, 80-44.

That’s good enough to claim a share of first place in the Division II-B standings. The Skippers are tied with Cumberland and Shea, all 2-0 in league play. The team will play its first home game on Friday, Oct. 4, against Rogers High. The Vikings are 1-3 overall, 1-1 in league play, and are coming off a 27-20 home loss against Cumberland.

On paper, the Skippers would appear to have the edge in Friday’s matchup, but according to Piva, Rogers is always a tough opponent.

Last year the Skippers went into Toppa Field and took a drubbing. This year should be a different story. Head coach Joe Gilmartin, however, isn’t making any predictions about upcoming games or the possibility of a playoff berth.

“We only talk about getting better each week here,” he said. “At the end of the year, we will see where that gets us.”

The players are listening to Gilmartin’s advice, taking it one game at a time and doing their utmost to improve.

Last year the Rhode Island Interscholastic League moved the Skippers down to Division II. At the time, Gilmartin, who was in his first year as head coach, said the hope was that the change would give the players a chance to regroup. Three years ago, the Skippers went the entire season without a victory. The following year, in 2011, they won one game – and that was against a nonleague op- ponent. Last year, the first season for Piva, the team started to turn things around. They won three games and finished strong with a victory over South Kingstown on Thanksgiving.

Two players, Matt Deignan and Matt Modoian, will again share the role of quarterback. Nick Chevalier and Corey Coogan will share halfback duties, while Manny Vasquez and Evin Barrett will join them in the backfield as fullbacks.

“We have several outstanding players on offense,” Gilmartin said. “The line is anchored by Tim Murray and Tom Culhane.”

Jamestown’s Jared Ford, a senior, is the only islander in the starting lineup. He’s a receiver and also plays in the secondary on defense. The others starting receivers are Jake Porter, Trevor Huntington, Dave Poirier and Tristan Loughlin.

Sam Vallee and Terrell Carter play tight end this season.

Things have been different since Gilmartin took the reigns. Practices are not a joke anymore, as the head coach put it on Monday afternoon. When one of the players blew a route during scrimmage, he called him out and made the youngster show him the correct moves.

The coach told the player his job was to get free to catch the pass, and blown routes can equal quarterback sacks.

“He’s relying on you to get free,” Gilmartin roared.

The players said they like the new coaching style.

“He holds everybody accountable,” said junior Ryan Geib. Geib is 16 and plays linebacker and fullback. He lives in Jamestown with his parents, Teresa Leblanc and William Geib.

“The culture of the team has changed 180 degrees,” added John Chamberlain, another 16-year-old junior from Jamestown. A defensive end and center, he is the son of Emily Murphy and Kevin Chamberlain.

Evan Chadwick, 15, a sophomore wide receiver, is the other islander on the varsity.

According to Ford, the players are practicing hard this year. The senior says the starters have experience playing their positions, so instead of learning their roles, they’re “perfecting” them. Jared is the son of Andrew and Candice Ford. He didn’t want to make a prediction about a run at the playoffs – yet. But he said this team has “high hopes.”

The high hopes are backed by a couple of strong efforts, according Robert Haverland, a 15-yearold sophomore wide receiver and safety. First, the Skippers crushed Coventry 43-21 in the season opener on Sept. 13. The following week, the Skippers edged West Warwick, the team that had been ranked number one going into the new season, 28-22.

“That was a high-five game,” Jared said.

Then last week, the Skippers clobbered Pilgrim. Coogan rushed for two scores, while Chevalier ran for a touchdown and caught a 55-yard pass from Madoian for another one.

Friday’s game against Rogers starts at 7 p.m. at North Kingstown High School.

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