Thanks to an impressive win over No. 3 Portsmouth, top-ranked La Salle has solidified its grip on the No. 1 spot in the latest Rhode Island High School Football Media Poll.
La Salle gained six points and three more first place votes from last week, increasing its lead on No. 2 Hendrickren from two points to nine. The Hawks won their game, shutting out South Kingstown.
The rest of the poll stayed relatively stable, except for two teams. Cumberland moved up four spots, from No. 16 to No. 12. The Clippers are 1-1, with a competitive 12-6 loss to Division I Cranston West and a shutout of Division II Central, 28-0.
Woonsocket plummeted in the rankings, from No. 10 to No. 19. They were thrashed by No. 7 Johnston, 43-6, on Friday night. The Panthers moved up two spots in the poll with the win.
The poll is compiled thanks to the hard work of Eric Rueb, a sports editor with Southern Rhode Island Newspapers. Patch’s ballot is cast by Stephen Greenwell, the local editor of the South Kingstown and Narragansett site.Rank Team Points Last Week Patch # 1 La Salle (10) 276 1 2 2 Hendricken (3) 267 2 1 3 Cranston East (1) 250 4 4 t-4 Barrington 211 6 9 t-4 Portsmouth 211 3 3 6 Westerly 197 7 6 7 Johnston 190 9 11 8 Tolman 183 5 5 9 Cranston West 165 8 8 10 St. Ray's 143 12 16 11 West Warwick 139 11 7 12 Cumberland 104 16 15 13 East Providence 103 13 10 14 Chariho 95 15 13 t-15 Middletown 87 17 17 t-15 South Kingstown 87 14 12 17 Shea 62 18 NR 18 Moses Brown 39 20 NR 19 Woonsocket 35 10 14 20 East Greenwich 33 19 18
Dropped from poll: None.
Also receiving votes: Exeter-West Greenwich 14, Mount Pleasant 13, Hope 8, Warwick Veterans 8, Central 7, Rogers 4, Toll Gate 4, Smithfield 3, Tiverton 2.
The Rhode Island Sports Media football poll is voted on by 13 local media members who regularly cover Rhode Island high school football. The poll is administrated and compiled by Eric Rueb of Southern Rhode Island Newspapers.
PATCH BALLOTRank Team Media Last Week 1 Hendricken 2 1 2 La Salle 1 2 3 Portsmouth t-4 3 4 Cranston East 3 7 5 Tolman 8 4 6 Westerly 6 5 7 West Warwick 11 6 8 Cranston West 9 8 9 Barrington t-4 9 10 East Providence 13 11 11 Johnston 7 17 12 South Kingstown t-15 10 13 Chariho 14 14 14 Woonsocket 19 12 15 Cumberland 12 15 16 St. Ray's 10 16 17 Middletown t-15 NR 18 East Greenwich 20 NR 19 Exeter-West Greenwich NR 19 20 Rogers NR 18
With a couple more games in the books, the ballot process gets clearer for me. In general, Rhode Island football usually has tiers:
- The best teams are almost always in Division I. In past years, the rare non-division, non-Injury Fund games between Division I and Division II or III teams have normally been dominated by the teams in Division I. And amongst Division I, it is very, very rare for Hendricken or La Salle to be below No. 5.
- Because of this, I generally tend to keep Division I teams in the Top 10 to 15 of the poll. (Only two exceptions spring to mind: North Kingstown didn’t really belong in Division I the past few years, and one year, Cranston East went 0-for a majority of a season, before finally sneaking into an end of the year poll.)
- Generally, a couple Division II teams – two to five – can hang with the Division I teams.
- And off of the above point, a couple Division III teams – two to five – normally can hang with the Division II teams.
- Usually, my ballot only have one Division IV team, at most. For the two years I’ve been voting, the non-division record of Division IV teams is something like .250.
With all that in mind, here’s how the teams in respective Patch towns fared this week:
- In their first two games, Middletown tied Division II Mt. Hope and then beat the snot out of Division IV Central Falls. However, the end of 2011 lingered in my mind with them – They made the Division III Super Bowl thanks to a Narragansett team that committed about 40 personal fouls, and then got completely steamrolled by Rogers. But with the Vikings now in Division II, the Islanders look like the early favorites in the division, especially after putting up 58 against Burrillville. I have them at No. 17, the highest Division III team, as a result.
- Barrington moved up to a tie for fourth with Portsmouth after beating Cranston West 14-0. West fell to No. 9 with the loss. In my ballot, I have West No. 8 and Barrington No. 9. In reflection, I should probably flip-flop them. I’m still undecided as to whether Barrington is in the lower half of the division, or if they’re a playoff team in Division I that just happened to get beat by a tough Division II Westerly squad.
- Coventry did not get any consideration for inclusion in the poll. The Oakers are 0-3, and have been outscored 71-12 this year, despite only playing one Division I team.
- Cranston East moved up to No. 3 on the media ballot after beating No. 8 Tolman 21-13. It’s a nice win for East, and I bumped them up from No. 7 to No. 4 on my ballot. East has a big game against Barrington on Saturday – It’s an early season game that could have big playoff ramifications, since both teams look like they could be in the hunt for a playoff seed.
- For Cranston West, see the Barrington entry.
- East Greenwich isn’t a traditional football power, but the Division III squad snuck into the No. 18 spot on my ballot, and into the No. 20 spot on the media poll. Although the results aren’t on RIIL yet, the Avengers beat Ponaganset, an impressive win to me, given that Ponaganset was in Division II last year. East Greenwich has a tough test this week, as Tiverton is usually a tough team at home.
- East Providence played a non-league and non-Rhode Island game against Foxborough. As a result, they stayed steady in both the Patch ballot and the media poll. The Townies get to host Hendricken this week – Good luck.
- As mentioned above, Johnston beat the tar out of Woonsocket, a week after Woonsocket beat Division I East Providence in a non-league game. Johnston is now in the thick of the poll with Division I teams as a result, and will need to beat Mt. Hope on Friday to stay there. Woonsocket tumbled down the polls, and probably won’t get a good chance to rise until a game against Westerly two weeks from now. Woonsocket’s opponent Friday, Warwick Vets, traditionally isn’t a football powerhouse.
- Mt. Hope didn’t get serious consideration from me. They have a tie against a Division III team, a 43-point loss to a Division I team and a 23-point loss to a Division II team. To make matters worse, their next two games are against Johnston and Chariho, two teams that look like contenders in Division II.
- Narragansett is winless so far this year. No consideration for the poll as a result.
- Now that they’re in Division II, North Kingstown has definitely looked better this year, but they’re still more toward the bottom of their division than the top. The Skippers have a win over Coventry – an unranked team – and a loss to West Warwick.
- I kept Portsmouth at No. 3 in my ballot, despite the 42-25 loss to La Salle. If they had beaten La Salle, I probably would have moved them to No. 1. The Patriots have a key early-season game at Cranston Stadium against West on Saturday.
- Rogers is winless so far this year, although they’ve only played against Division I and Division II teams. However, until they do win a game, I can’t really justify ranking them much higher than their current position of No. 20. Another loss knocks them out for a while. They play at Cumberland on Friday.
- South Kingstown hasn’t scored a touchdown since August – and that was an Injury Fund game against Division II Chariho. As a result, the Rebels are the lowest-ranked Division I team, and probably won’t have a chance to dispel that reputation until next week, when they play at Portsmouth on Sept. 29. This week, South Kingstown hosts Attleboro.
- Tiverton took care of business against Narragansett this week, winning 33-20. However, they also have a 26-18 loss to Division IV Hope on their dossier. A win against East Greenwich this weekend will get them a spot on my ballot, at the expense of the Avengers.
- For Woonsocket, see the Johnston entry.
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