The Cranston East football team finally got a taste of victory when it held on to beat Shea in what turned out to be a thrilling contest. It was the first league win for the Bolts since 2018, which …
The Cranston East football team finally got a taste of victory when it held on to beat Shea in what turned out to be a thrilling contest. It was the first league win for the Bolts since 2018, which would also be the first league win for the senior class that conveniently was celebrating its Senior Night celebration on the evening.
Earlier in the week, I had a tough decision to make on which game to cover on Friday night. There were plenty to choose from and a handful carried big playoff implications. Something told me to cover this one, though. I had a gut feeling that the Bolts were going to do something special.
Now, Shea has also been struggling its way through a down season, but the Raiders have been the better team over the past few years. The Raiders were the favorite heading into the contest, even if it was ever so slightly.
Regardless, I wanted to make sure I’d be there to see the Bolts pull it off and they did just that. The team played well, too, this was very much a game that they won.
A’Driahn Foreman and Saqari Monroe put on a show in what was the biggest game of the season … it was really the biggest game of the past three seasons for the program. Sure, the Bolts and Raiders were not competing for playoff seeding, but they were battling for pride. East came out on top.
When it was all over and the rain began to fall, you could see the emotions coming from the East sideline, especially from the seniors. It was not cliché, typical high school emotions after a big win. The few minutes after the final whistle were moving. There was a little bit of everything. Excitement, joy, relief. It was one of those stories that we only see once or twice a season, so I was thrilled to have been on the sideline to cover it.
This win was so important for the obvious reasons. The seniors have worked hard and have gone through a
lot. Between the pandemic and the program’s rebuild, this one was a nice step in the right direction and a vital building block moving forward.
In terms of the greater picture, it means a lot for these kids. It gives them validation and success that they can take with them for the rest of their lives. Would they have liked to win more throughout their high school careers and did they deserve to win more? Absolutely, but even just one, especially in such a hard fought game, will give them the confidence and feeling of accomplishment that they’ll remember forever.
I know I will as a reporter. It was one of those games that I will never forget. “The night East won its first game in five years on Senior Night in a huge rainy battle.”
Hopefully this will be the start of something special for the Bolts moving forward. East takes on Portsmouth this week and although it will once again be the underdog, this is a winnable game. Win or lose, this most recent victory should help set the table for next year as the Bolts continue their rebuild.
These young kids got to see what it’s like to struggle in a down year, but they now also understand what it feels like to work hard and win. The Bolts will have a large returning cast next fall, and a pretty damn talented one at that. I’m not saying that one win will turn this team into a contender overnight, but I do believe that this could jumpstart a possible ascension back into being competitive on a weekly basis. The Bolts will be an interesting team to follow in 2024.
I’ll admit it up front: Field hockey is typically not a sport that grabs my attention in the regular season.
We usually know by the midway point who the top one or two teams will be in the playoffs, it is a sport that has a rather low floor in terms of quality of teams in the state. Some years, it is just a crapshoot to keep up with.
However, as the playoffs are set to get underway this week, I have become totally invested in the Division II bracket. In fact, it is right there for football in terms of the playoffs that I am most intrigued by as the regular seasons wind down.
Lincoln enters as the top dog and is undefeated while dominating just about each game it’s played. It will be hard to knock the Lions off, but the next handful of teams have been neck and neck and anything can happen on any day.
Toll Gate, Chariho, Pilgrim, Cranston and Classical have been in a giant dogfight for playoff positioning and have all kind of beat up on each other. The Titans will host the Purple while Cranston will host Pilgrim in the opening round this Thursday. All roads seem to lead to Lincoln in the state title game, but that road is sure to be a buzzsaw.
Allow me to make your head spin for a moment.
Toll Gate went 1-1 vs. Chariho; 1-0-1 vs. Pilgrim
Pilgrim went 1-0-1 vs. Toll Gate; 0-1-1 vs. Chariho
Classical went 0-2-1 against Toll Gate, Pilgrim and Chariho, but lost by a combined score of 4-2.
Cranston went 2-3, but faced Lincoln twice but also beat Toll Gate in a non-league game.
Point being in all of this, the second spot in the state title game is very much up for grabs. The fact that there are five clubs with virtually even teams and even chances is exciting. This is the most I’ve ever looked forward to covering field hockey.
I also believe that tough roads help come playoff time. As great as Lincoln is, it hasn’t faced true adversity. These five teams are battle-hardened and I would not be surprised see that become a factor in the next few weeks.
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