The Warwick Police Athletic League U8, U12 and U14 football teams competed in the Ocean State Pop Warner championships last weekend at Cranston Stadium, with the U12 club winning against Coventry 34-6 to punch its ticket to the regional tournament against Springfield, Mass.
“We don’t put emphasis on confidence because when you do that you put yourself in a hole. We try to be prepared going into each game, we go by the same mantra that it is 0-0 going into each game, and we need to execute what we need to execute,” said U12 head coach Bruce Perreault. “Right around the 4-minute mark they started getting a little antsy because they knew it would be hard for (Coventry) to come back. We had to kind of turn around and wrangle them back in and get them back to their spots, get them focused. Once it hit about 50 seconds we just let them do them. They were all excited, talking about regionals, it was cool.”
Perreault has been pleased with his team’s development throughout the season, and feels that it has been peaking in recent weeks.
“They’ve been getting better and better. Even the kids that have maintained, their size and athletic ability keeps them where they are. Some of those younger kids have been getting better and better, they’ve been getting better since day one and that’s the expectation. We tell them what they need to do to get better and to see them actually go out and do it is exciting,” said Perreault.
Springfield is a tough, gritty team that played PAL tough in last year’s regional playoff. Perreault expects a similar battle, and hopes his club will put its best foot forward.
“Springfield gave us a physical beating last time even though we were victorious. They’re not a sleeper, they won their Super Bowl last year and they won it this year. They’re a confident team, a strong team, and we have to coach to that. The expectation is to go in there and play our game … not to get caught up in the hype. It doesn’t matter the label on this game, it’s just another game,” said Perreault.
The U8 team fell in its matchup against Edgewood, while U14 fell to Coventry. Despite the two losses, PAL has once again secured its place as one of the premier youth football organization in the state of Rhode Island.
Perreault feels that continuity has been key for both the players and coaches.
“It’s the crop of kids that come back. It’s the coaching from previous years as well,” said Perreault. “Being able to take what they have been taught and process it. It makes it easier on us, it’s a process and they know the process and they do well.”