Nick Murgo / photosports.com
CELEBRATION: URI's Doug Johnson reacts to his interception that clinched a 21-17 victory for the Rams over Fordham last Saturday.
Former Toll Gate standout Doug Johnson has made an instant impact on the defensive side of the ball for the University of Rhode Island in 2011, securing a starting berth at linebacker for the Rams.
After having spent the previous two seasons playing in the junior college ranks at Dean College, Johnson transferred to URI this fall to finish his collegiate career in his home state.
Even though the season is only three games old for Rhody, Johnson already has established himself as one of the leading members of the Ram defense, leading the team in tackles for loss (8.5) and sacks (3), while he is one of four players to have intercepted a pass.
That interception occurred last Saturday in the dying moments against Fordham, preserving a 21-17 win for URI, who snapped a two-game losing skid in the process.
The next goal for the 1-2 Rams is state bragging rights, as they make the journey up Interstate 95 on Saturday evening to take on Brown in the annual Governor’s Cup clash, which will also conclude the non-conference portion of the slate for Rhody.
Pilgrim players leading the way at Clark
In recent years a pipeline of sorts has developed from Pilgrim High School to Clark University, where a number of soccer players are making a name for themselves at the collegiate level.
One such example of a former Patriot excelling at Clark is sophomore Josh Demers. Playing as a midfielder, Demers is considered a key part of the Cougar attack, and has chipped in with two goals so far in 2011, including the only score in a September 10 contest against Brandeis. Demers has also proven he can pass the ball, as evidenced by a pair of assists he chalked up in a 4-2 victory over Nichols on September 7. Those early-season performances were enough to earn Demers the Player of the Week award for the week ending September 10 from the New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference.
Not to be outdone is senior Adrian Blackadar, who starts alongside Demers for the Cougars. Blackadar has also scored two goals, both of them coming 23 seconds apart in a come-from-behind 2-1 win against Becker on September 4. He also has three assists, with the most recent helper coming in a 1-1 tie against the Coast Guard Academy last Saturday.
Other locals getting it done on the pitch
Matt Racca (Hendricken) has started all seven of Wentworth’s games so far in 2011.
Toll Gate graduate Anthony Dutra has appeared in all eight of Johnson and Wales’ contests, starting six of them for the Wildcats.
Warwick Vets alum Jimmy Lineberger has featured in all six matches for Bryant, mainly coming off the bench for the Bulldogs.