Cumberland at Cranston East: What You Need to Know

Cranston East in action – Photo Credit: Emily Lestrange

Catch the Cumberland @ Cranston East football game on YurView LIVE this Friday October 25 at 7:00pm on Cox Channel 4 and streaming on YurView.com

In Cumberland and Cranston East, you have two R.I. Division I high school football teams with completely different objectives as we head down the home stretch of the regular season.

At 2-3 in Division I-A, the Clippers find themselves in the market of locking down as many W’s as possible before the clock strikes midnight and it’s on to the playoffs. On the opposite end, you have a Cranston East outfit that’s trying to build some momentum as well as play the role of playoff spoiler.

The Thunderbolts are seeking their first win of the season with the next opportunity set for Friday night (7 o’clock kickoff) against Cumberland at Cranston Stadium.

Within the Cumberland camp, head coach Josh Lima has been preaching the importance of not taking this week’s opponent lightly. Don’t be fooled by Cranston East’s record (0-5 in league play, 0-6 overall) and think for a second that Friday night will be a layup.

“When you watch them on film, you don’t see a team that’s struggled this season. They have a lot of good pieces,” said Lima. “If we want to solidify a playoff spot, we’ve got to win the game. That’s the bottom line.”

At Cranston East, veteran head coach Tom Centore has been forced to rely on a core that features five freshmen and upwards of eight sophomores. The juniors who are counted on are basically all brand new. Understandably, there have been more than a few growing pains, yet the day-to-day attitude is what has Centore believing that better days are ahead.

“Not too many kids have left us,” said Centore. “We just want to get better every day when we get together for practice.”

Who should fans (and Yurview viewers) keep an eye on? Ask and you shall receive. Below is a checklist to help you get game ready. Let’s begin with the away team.

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When Cumberland Passes:

Dante Aviles-Santos took QB snaps as a sophomore before shifting fulltime to wide receiver last season as a junior. Now a senior, Aviles-Santos entered the 2019 season as the Clippers’ clear-cut No. 1 option at arguably the game’s most critical position.

“It took him a little bit of time to get back into the swing of things, but Dante has done a nice job,” said Lima. “He’s been throwing the ball well and the same holds true when he runs. Each week we ask him to keep on improving and he’s done that.”

Shane Meerbott is the Clippers’ clear-cut No. 1 option at wide receiver, yet don’t label the 6-foot-1 senior as a either an outside burner or a possession type.

“He does a little bit of both, to be honest,” said Lima. “Shane is a really good athlete and a really good kid. We rely on him to do a lot of different things.”

If you go through Cumberland’s games to date, senior Ryan Larson has done a lot of positive things as a pass catcher, as have three sophomores: Cam Pedro, Jaden Pimental, and Jack Proctor, who lines up at tight end.

Cumberland prepares for Cranston East – Photo Credit: Brendan McGair

When Cumberland Runs:

Right now, it’s a rotation of running backs between seniors Isaiah Cole and Johnell Hill along with junior Aidan Faria.

“Those three have been rotating in and out every game for us,” said Lima. “Isaiah is our first guy, but depending on how the game is going and how the guys are feeling, we’ll ride with the hot hand.”

When Cumberland is on Defense:

The two mainstays on the defensive line have been junior Emmanuel Island and freshman Patrick Conserve, who has been a starter since Day 1. Key depth pieces include junior Adam Barbosa, senior Julian Brooks, senior Sean Torre, senior Eddy Inscoe, sophomore Dylan Powers, freshman Elijah Kopacz, and freshman Jo’el Baker.

“We’ve got a lot of guys rotating through our defensive line,” said Lima.

Faria is the Clippers’ mainstay at linebacker. The unit also features senior Eddy Inscoe, junior Davis Matos, and freshman Miguel Garcia.

Meerbott plays safety, as does junior Joey DiSalvo. Options at cornerback include Aviles-Santos, Pimental, Pedro and Larson.

When Cumberland is on Special Teams:

Senior Ben Fogell hit a 30-yard field goal in last week’s win over South Kingstown. He’s also the choice on kickoffs and point-after tries. Handling the punting is Aviles-Santos.

There’s no clear-cut favorite on kickoff and punt returns with Larson, Cole and Pedro all viable candidates.

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When Cranston East Passes:

Ben Harding’s first true exposure to the quarterback position came at the tail end of the 2018 season at the junior varsity level. A junior this season, Harding’s first foray as varsity starting QB has mostly been by trial and error. Centore noted that Harding continues to get more confident with each passing week.

Harding suffered an injury in last week’s game against Hendricken, thus opening the door for senior Erode Milsette to see time at quarterback.

“Both of them are probably going to play Friday night,” said Centore.

The Thunderbolts have some noticeable length at wide receiver with 6-foot-3 senior Noah Berg and 6-foot-2 junior Kevin Pinheiro. The running backs are also incorporated in the passing attack, most notably senior Andrew Amoako and junior Terrence Souvannasing.

When Cranston East Runs:

Souvannasing and Amoako represent the speed component of Cranston East’s backfield and will team up with junior Josh Delgado, who’s more of a fullback type where his primary mission is to grind out tough yards. Amoako is one of four captains along with Berg and fellow seniors Colin McGuinness and Jai Clark.

When Cranston East is on Defense:

Senior Omar Reyes is a four-year starter and the glue that holds the defensive line together. Last year, he earned third-team all-division honors.

“He’s one of the best I’ve ever had,” said Centore.

The experience factor continues on Cranston East’s D-Line with senior Cody Lietar, who’s listed at 6-foot-2 and 290 pounds. Junior Angelo Urena is another Cranston East player who lines up close to the line of scrimmage.

The linebackers include Delgado along with freshman Danny Delgado. Senior Jai’Vante Clark is also part of the LB rotation.

The key names in the secondary are Milsette, junior Tyler Pinckney, sophomore Josh Vongkaysone, along with freshmen Jaiden Newmann and Alex Pinheiro.

When Cranston East is on Special Teams:

Senior Aaron Fonseca handles all aspects of the kicking game. On punt returns, the Thunderbolts will feature junior Tyler Pinckney and senior Erode Milsette. Lining up deep on kickoff returns will be Souvannasing with Pinckney and Milsette also in the mix.

Catch the Cumberland @ Cranston East football game on YurView LIVE this Friday October 25 at 7:00pm on Cox Channel 4 and streaming on YurView.com