It has been a rough couple of days for the Mt. Hope and Barrington football coaches.
Huskies coach Brian Cote saw his team lose a close playoff game to West Warwick on Nov. 10 and then watched in disbelief as more than a dozen of his players missed practice a few days later.
In Barrington, Bill McCagney scratched his head as his Eagles fell hard to Portsmouth, 44-14, in their final division game. His team, which lost its last three games of the season, trailed 36-0 at half-time and appeared completely overwhelmed by the Patriots.
Now both coaches are working hard to get their teams back on track for the annual Thanksgiving Day showdown, which will be played in Bristol at 10 a.m. on Thursday.
The 3-5 Eagles spent last week’s practices refocusing on fundamentals.
“We watched tape of the Portsmouth game and we worked on tackling. We didn’t even have a football out there,” McCagney said. “We need to get on the same page with blocking and tackling. We’re going to keep working on that.
“That (game against Portsmouth) was the first time in my 24 years here that we didn’t show up, that my players didn’t show up. I’m upset with that.”
Mt. Hope’s Cote, whose team finished 5-3 in the regular season, said he planned to dig deeper into his players’ unexcused absences and was hoping to hear legitimate reasons.
“I have some things I have to deal with,” Cote said. “Hopefully I’ll have the team I had last week (against West Warwick) and not the team that didn’t show up to practice. There was quite a few kids missing.”
Despite the recent bumps in the road for both teams, Cote and McCagney are anticipating a hard-fought Thanksgiving Day football game.
“I’m expecting to see Barrington play hard. I think it’s going to be a battle,” Cote said.
“They are a real good football team,” he said about Mt. Hope. “They block well. They run the ball well. They’re scrappy on defense. They’re a tough team. … I’m just hoping to get our guys back on track.”
How they match up
McCagney believes his team will be challenged by Mt. Hope’s running attack, which features a punishing fullback in Nick Murgo and a prolific tailback in Jesse Raiola. Raiola rolled up 222 yards in the Huskies’ 35-26 playoff loss.
“Their fullback is tough. He’s old school. He comes right at you,” McCagney said. “Their quarterback (Kyle Valenzuela) is shifty. He runs the option well. We’ve got to stop 44 (Murgo), 25 (Raiola), and numbers 2 (Valenzuela) and 3 (Tevin Jones).”
Cote said spreading out his attack will be key to the Huskies’ success on offense.
“When we execute properly we’re a team that can beat anybody,” he said. “Our kids play hard. We’ll bring our best game.”
When Barrington has the ball, Cote said the Huskies will work to shut down Eagles’ star quarterback Jacob Simons.
“We’re worried about their quarterback. He’s a good passer and a good runner. Their offense can really move the ball,” Cote said.
Players to watch
Both coaches praised some of their players for solid seasons.
McCagney said junior tailback/linebacker James Murphy has played well this season for the Eagles. “He’s had a great year. He’s smart and committed. He’s fast and hard-hitting.”
The Barrington coach also mentioned strong play from junior lineman Josh Adams and sophomore lineman Kevin Cadigan. He said Gerard Lacerte has been a good team leader and that JR Martin has performed well at fullback and linebacker.
Cote said it was difficult to single out a few players, but thought Nick Murgo has been a leader for the Huskies.
“Getting Nick Murgo back in the Woonsocket game … our defense was noticeably better.”
Cote said the line has played well all season, led by players like Jared Sousa, Byron Thibaudeau, Jared Ramos and Josh Hunt. He also credited Huskies Tevin Jones and Bailey Ziobro.
“I thought Kyle Valenzuela did a great job at quarterback, executing the schemes, running the no huddle, the spread,” Cote said.
Mt. Hope last defeated Barrington in 2006, by a score of 22-6.
Mt. Hope High School
Mt. Hope 6 — Tolman 49 (NL)
Westerly 30 — Mt. Hope 7
Mt. Hope 6 — Johnston 37
Chariho 7 — Mt. Hope 27
Mt. Hope 26 — Woonsocket 7
Cumberland 33 — Mt. Hope 12 (NL)
Coventry 20 — Mt. Hope 21
Toll Gate 6 — Mt. Hope 35
Mt. Hope 39 — Warwick Vets 14
Barrington High School
Barrington 23 — Westerly 27
Cranston West 0 — Barrington 14
Barrington 18 — Cranston East 41
East Providence 15 — Barrington 35
Bishop Feehan 24 — Barrington 0
Barrington 21 — Tolman 33
Barrington 14 — South Kingstown 7
Barrington 17 — LaSalle 41
Bishop Hendricken 18 — Barrington 6
Portsmouth 44 — Barrington 14
Barrington High School Eagles
Number Name Position Year
3 Douglas R. Flaherty WR/DB SR
4 Nicholas M. Jensen RB/DB SO
5 Hunter R. Constable WR/LB SO
6 Jake T. Slye QB/S SO
10 Jacob K. Bonney WR/DB SO
11 John F. Meehan WR/K SR
12 Jake M. DeMarco QB/DB SO
14 Matthew Q. Rota QB/DB JR
15 Jacob A. Simons (Cptn.) QB/P SR
20 Jeffrey A. Redman RB/DB SO
22 Ryan A. Brown RB/LB SO
23 Jack E. Kelly WR/CB SR
25 James A. Murphy (Cptn.) RB/DB JR
27 Tyler M. Thomas WR/DE SR
28 Rosindo C. Chiulli WR/DB JR
31 Christos Meltsakos RB/LB SO
32 Jake H. Gelsomino FB/LB SO
33 Bernd VanderLande RB/DB SR
34 Samuel W. Vetromile TE/S JR
35 Patrick J. Mahoney WR/LB JR
36 Colin A. Vatter RB FR
39 Edwin B. Jones RB/OL SR
40 Robert Colantonio LB FR
41 Keagan P. O’Donnell TE/DB SO
42 Andrew W. Blau WR/DB SO
43 Joseph C. Regan C/LB SO
45 John R. Martin FB/LB JR
50 Quinn C. Morvillo G/LB SO
51 Joshua R. Adams G/DE JR
52 Gerard Lacerte (Cptn.) C/LB SR
53 John K. Saul OT/DT JR
54 Patrick M. Mitchell G/DT JR
55 Nicholas B. Raymond OT/DT JR
56 Harrison P. Miller G/LB JR
57 Noah D. Robey G/DT JR
58 Benjamin F. Feit G/DT SO
58 Nicholas Lord WR/DB SO
59 Austin M. Rojas G/LB JR
60 Daniel M. Perry OT/DT SO
62 Michael J. Borek OT/DT SO
63 Kyle H. Wallick OT/DT SO
64 Geoffrey M. Reilly OT/DE SR
65 Michael J. Alvernaz OT/DT SO
66 Saad El Qadi G/LB SO
67 Maxx A. Robey OL/DL FR
68 Andrew J. Richardson WR/DB SO
71 Robert T. Smith G/LB SR
73 Matthew R. Farina C/DT SR
75 Mitchell Jacques G/DT SR
77 Kevin C. Cadigan C/DE SO
78 Caleb Snow OT/DT SO
80 Justin A. Brindamour WR/DB SO
81 Ethan J. Snow OT/DT SR
82 Nash T. Klinger TE/DE JR
83 Alexander S. Richardson WR/DB SR
84 Francis S. Carroll TE/DE SO
87 Cameron D. Reilly WR FR
88 Kyle A. Gibalerio WR/DE SO
Head coach:William McCagney.
Assistant coaches: Brent Dalessio, Drew Genetti, Mike Gesmondi and Glen Salgueiro.
Volunteers: Jim Anderson, Stephen Lenz, Dr. Christopher Luttman and Sam Schacter.
Mt. Hope High School Huskies Roster
No. Name Position Year
1 Alexander J. Francis QB/S SO
2 Kyle J. Valenzuela (Cptn.) QB/S JR
3 Tevin Jones RB/LB SR
4 Corey Gendreau QB/S SR
5 Kyle Vieiera RB/CB SO
8 Christopher Machado CB/WR SR
10/7 Christian Torres QB/LB SO
12 Jacob Silva K/WR SR
16 Stephen Riendeau WR/CB SO
17 Ryan Bartell WR/S JR
20 Frank Smith TE/DE JR
23 Isaiah Weeden WR/CB SO
24 Porter White-O’Brien FB/LB SO
25 Jesse Raiola RB/CB JR
29 Jon Perroni RB/LB JR
31 Joshua Conti FB/LB SO
33 Bailey Ziobro RB/LB SR
42 David J. Ramos FB/LB JR
44 Nicholas Murgo (Cptn.) FB/LB JR
45 Robert Fraiser OT/DT JR
50 Justin Sampson C/DT SR
51 William J. Francis, III G/LB JR
52 Benjamin Godfrey C/DT SO
53 Evan Fortin G/DE SR
54 Nicholas Anania OT/DT JR
55 Jonathan Daponte OT/DT SR
57 Byron Thibaudeau G/DT SR
59 Ian Whitaker OT/DT JR
64 Jared Sousa OT/DT JR
65 Sean Thibaudeau G/DT SO
69 Aaron Merritt OT/DT SR
75 Dominic Lombardo G/LB SO
77 Adam Almeida OT/DT SR
78 Patrick Asciola C/DT JR
81 Joshua F. Hunt (Cptn.) TE/DE SR
83 Joshua Coreiro TE/DE SR
84 Jason Ferro WR/DE JR
85 Jared Ramos TE/DE JR
86 Josh Zasaoski TE/DE SO
87 Matthew T. Mendonca WR/CB JR
Head coach: Brian Cote
Assistant coaches: Wayne Gardner, Ryan McCormack
Volunteers: George Andrade, Dr. Kenneth McPhillips, Bruce Murgo