We are finally in the middle of the fall regular season, and although many questions have been answered regarding our local teams, there are still some questions left to be answered.
This past weekend, when looking at the three Warwick football teams, only one team left me feeling like I know exactly what we are seeing … and that is Pilgrim.
The Pats continued their hot start this past Friday and toppled defending champion Central Falls 42-6.
We all knew that Pilgrim would be a good team this season and many felt that it would be a great team. Now, after four weeks of play, I am sold that this team will be hoisting the Division III Super Bowl come November, barring some sort of catastrophic injury plague.
The Pats have some tough challenges ahead, including Chariho, for example, but to this point, Pilgrim has been virtually untested and have cruised past some of the best teams in the division, including Central Falls.
There really does not seem to be an answer for this group, the Pats have found a formula that works and my faith in some team being able to figure out a solution is waning each passing week, and each passing butt-kicking.
Demitri Ayres is living proof that size does not matter, as he has been among the best running backs in the state regardless of division. Mike Borges has taken a big step forward this year and is one of the best dual threat signal callers in the state, and Connor Fallon is somehow still being overlooked as a receiving threat.
The Pilgrim defense has also been lock down, dominating in the trenches and boasting a ball-hawking secondary, the special teams units have also made many big plays.
My conclusion after last week’s win is that this team will win it all. In my eyes, there are no more questions that have to be answered, no more tests to pass, this team is for real, and they won’t be stopped.
Meanwhile, across town, the Toll Gate Titans just picked up a big win against visiting Ponaganset on Friday as well.
After a close, hard-fought first half of play, the Titans ran away with it in the second.
Midway through the regular season, it remains to be seen how good this team really is and can be.
There was buzz surrounding the club heading into the season with many people, including myself, believing that this was a playoff team. Toll Gate opened the season with a 28-0 shellacking of Juanita Sanchez/PCD/Wheeler, but then dropped its next two against North Smithfield and Narragansett by a combined score of 87-20. After the Narragansett loss, I have to admit, I lost faith and felt that the writing was on the wall.
In came the Chieftains, who are one of the better teams in the division and have had a stifling defense to this point. They played Pilgrim to a competitive 29-12 loss the week prior, so it seemed as though Toll Gate would be facing an uphill battle.
However, the Titans produced in all three phases and earned their second victory of the season and have narrowed the distance between themselves and a playoff berth.
Which is it?
Are the Titans a middling team that will get their doors blown off down the stretch? Or are they a well-rounded, experienced unit that will hit their stride and take it to teams like Ponaganset while competing for a title moving forward? Next up is Scituate, so let’s see how they respond.
As for Bishop Hendricken, the Hawks wrapped up another big win over rival La Salle last Friday night at the school’s homecoming bash.
The question coming into this season was similar to the norm, which is: Can anyone beat the Hawks?
The typical answer is La Salle, but after last Friday’s game, it’s really hard to tell and I feel as though we have yet to find clarity.
Hendricken’s special teams unit came up big in the first half, blocking two La Salle punts and returning one for a score. The Hendricken defense was also lights out in the first quarter or so, regularly setting the offense up with pristine field position.
The second half, hell, I would even say the final three quarters were ugly, though.
The Rams offense moved with ease to score two touchdowns in the second quarter. The La Salle defense forced multiple turnovers. Sure, the Hendricken defense was lights out in the second half, but the Hawks offense was nowhere to be found. There was quite a bit of sloppy play, penalties, and frustration.
Now, am I picking the Rams to win a rematch? No.
But, do I think that they would have a chance, a real, legitimate chance? I do.
Even North Kingstown, the Skippers had many opportunities to deal the Hawks their first loss in a year and a half, but just simply couldn’t piece it all together.
Although it seems like the question has been answered and that the Hawks are beatable, I still am not totally confident that they are.
Unpredictability is one of the great parts of sports, any team can be beaten, but are the Hawks truly beatable this year? In my eyes, it remains to be seen.
That’s my favorite part about the second half of the season, we begin to see what teams are really made of.