And just like that, the fall sports regular season is (just about) over, and the postseason is set to begin this week.
Warwick has had a phenomenal season to this point, with a handful of schools sitting pretty in the postseason seedings, some even being considered the favorite to take home their respective championships in the coming weeks.
Here are some of my thoughts and predictions as we get set to kick things off this week:
The Bishop Hendricken football team looks like an unstoppable force as it enters its final week of the regular season. The Hawks cruised to a win over host East Providence last week which wrapped up first place and another appearance in the state championship.
The La Salle Rams were upset by Cranston West, so this week will determine who will square off against the Hawks on the biggest stage.
Regardless, though, I think it would take something special to beat Hendricken. The only team that really came close was North Kingstown, but that rematch is now off the table. Ultimately, the Hawks are just too experienced, tough and explosive, and I can’t see their season ending without them hoisting gold.
Across town, I feel the same way about Pilgrim in the Division III Super Bowl hunt.
The Pats have beaten up the lower seeded teams while also proving that they have the ability to win dog fights against the other top units.
Pilgrim beat top teams like Central Falls, Chariho, Tolman and Ponaganset. The Pats have already beaten each team that they could realistically run into at the Division III Super Bowl, so it would take an upset to see them dethroned this year.
Seeing two football championships brought home to Warwick would be something special, and I have a feeling that’s what is going to happen.
The Pilgrim soccer teams had a lot of buzz heading into the season as the boys were defending champs and the girls just missed the year before.
They have certainly lived up to the hype to this point, as the boys enter the playoffs as the third seed and the girls enter as the undefeated, No. 1 seed.
The boys side will be a little tougher to call. Exeter West Greenwich has been a force as the top seed and dealt the Pats one of their two losses. St. Ray’s is always a tough draw and is also right in the middle of things, and the Toll Gate Titans have also enjoyed a breakout year and also handed Pilgrim a loss.
Make no mistake about it though, the Pats are a well-oiled machine and boast arguably the top player in the state in Danny Peixinho. Division III is up for grabs and will be one of the closer playoffs in the state this fall.
The girls on the other hand, in my opinion, have the title all but wrapped up.
They’re 16-0, the top seed, but let’s take a closer look at their dominance.
First off, the Pats have outscored league opponents 75-5. In that span, Pilgrim has yet to allow multiple goals in a contest, and have won by multiple goals in all but one match. The lone match that was won by a single goal was against Moses Brown, who will be in the playoffs.
This team is on a mission and is on one of the best runs in state history to this point. It’s hard to see this club getting knocked off this fall, and although high school sports are crazy and anything can happen, and although there are some worthy opponents in the mix, this Pilgrim team is something special and its just feels like it’s time.
Another sport, and another Pilgrim team in the drivers seat.
The Pilgrim field hockey team opens its postseason on Wednesday as the top seed, and once again looks poised to make a deep run for a championship.
Rocky Hill and Tiverton are tough draws that are right in the thick of things, and Toll Gate has hung in there, but right now the Pats are sitting at the top spot.
Although I would put my money on Pilgrim to bring home the title, this is a really close one to call as well.
Rocky Hill is an experienced group with many of its players also playing together on the lacrosse field in the spring. The Mariners tied the Pats earlier this year, while the always-dangerous Tiverton Tigers also tied Pilgrim.
I would say it could go to any of those top three teams, but who knows? Maybe Toll Gate will once again beat the odds and take home gold?
The Bishop Hendricken cross country team, which finished fourth nationally last fall, was been cruising throughout the fall but had a big hiccup last weekend at the Class Championships.
The Hawks fell to La Salle, who took the top spot, and now there is a real question as to which group will win this weekend’s state championship at Ponaganset.
I like the Hawks in this one, but it is definitely concerning to see them drop the biggest race of the year to this point. Not that second place is anything to scoff at, but they are one of those rare teams whose bar is set that high. Should be a fun race.
Lastly, this weekend will also mark the unified volleyball state championships.
Winning is only a secondary goal of unified sports, but Hendricken is undefeated and looks to secure another championship. It has been a fun year for unified and I am excited to see the sport continue to grow in the state, so I am sure it will be another great turnout.
The next few weeks will be interesting, especially when considering the amount of Warwick teams that are in the mix.
After such a hectic summer with the budget cuts, what a great way for Warwick schools to return.