During the first week of this past June, Rhode Island high school sports fans - especially the fans of Hendricken and LaSalle - had an unexpected treat: a baseball doubleheader of Rhody's equivalent of a Red Sox-Yankees matchup. The Hawks and Rams squared off at McCarthy Field in West Warwick for first the Junior Varsity state championship, and then immediately following that, both schools had at it again for the Freshman state championship.
As it turned out, it was a great day for the Rams, as they swept the doubleheader and took home the hardware for 2/3 of the baseball titles for 2013. Both were great games, as the players on both sides acquitted themselves well, both in performance and respect for one another.
This past weekend, fans of both schools had a second opportunity to watch a doubleheader between the two rivals, but this time it was on the gridiron. In a classic contest Friday night, our guys outlasted the Rams, 27-22, and secured the #2 seed in the upcoming state playoffs (The Network's account of the game can be seen in the column immediately preceding this one); then, yesterday, the Freshman Hawks turned the trick again, only this time it was in the Freshman Super Bowl. The young Hawks walked off the field with a 38-22 victory and the 2013 state championship in hand.
Assistant Coach Manning reacted to the win shortly following the game:
For the Freshman football program under Coach Stringfellow, yesterday's win brings our recent spate of success to five titles in the past seven years. If one were to go back even a bit further, two more titles were racked up under the venerable Coach Quigley, who now serves as an assistant coach.
It was a remarkable season for the young Hawks. Including yesterday's title win and the 34-0 win over Portsmouth in the state semi-finals, the team finished the season 9-1. They'd entered the playoffs as the #2 seed, behind regular season champion LaSalle. In fact, another point of interest in the ongoing rivalry between the Hawks and the Rams is that under Coach Stringfellow, the Freshman team has lost only six games in seven years, but the last three of those six - including last year's Super Bowl - have come at the hands of the Rams. Yesterday's win over our archrivals, then, was even a bit more satisfying.
While all the young guys played exceptionally well yesterday, there were a number of standout performances. Kwity Paye scored four touchdowns and intercepted a pass, and TD's were also scored by Andrew Hopgood and Sam Hill. QB Chris Hindle only had to throw nine times throughout the course of the game, but he completed five of those passes, one for a touchdown, which was the completion to Hopgood, a play which can be seen here:
Anthony Witherstone also had an interception, and the offensive line was a force for the entire game. Witherspoon's INT can be seen right here:
Ironically enough, today is one of our Open House Sundays, so with any luck, some members of a Freshman state championship football team in 2014 will be walking through our doors. Congratulations to all our Freshman players, and let's hope for the varsity state title in the coming weeks.