EPHS football 11 eyes success now, in the future

New head coach Stringfellow, staff prep Townies for this fall, seasons to come

By Mike Rego
Posted 9/21/21

EAST PROVIDENCE — The East Providence High School football team undertakes its first full Division I season this week under the direction of head coach Job Stringfellow and his staff with a …

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EPHS football 11 eyes success now, in the future

New head coach Stringfellow, staff prep Townies for this fall, seasons to come


EAST PROVIDENCE — The East Providence High School football team undertakes its first full Division I season this week under the direction of head coach Job Stringfellow and his staff with a home game against Shea on Friday, Sept. 24, seeking to put the pieces in place for some eventual success this fall and beyond.

Kickoff against the visiting Raiders inside the new EPHS stadium is scheduled for 6:30 p.m.

Stringfellow, a current EPHS administrator, alum, former player and coach as well as the scion of one of the program’s most notable figures Bill “Beansy” Stringfellow, made his debut on the sidelines last spring during the COVID-19 induced abbreviated season. The Townies went 0-4 in D-I play and scored but one touchdown while fielding a roster of only around two dozen players by the end of the one-off endeavor.

With the new high school open and accompanying stellar athletic facilities in place for 2021, EPHS made its debut there two weeks with some 70 players dressed in a 7-6 non-league loss to visiting Barrington. Many of those sporting the Townies’ new uniforms and new red helmets, as opposed to the usual white ones, were underclassmen who did not come out for the team in the spring.

“I’m optimistic. I’m excited,” said Stringfellow, who served as a Townies assistant for about a decade before spending about the same amount of time as the head coach of the very successful Bishop Hendricken freshmen team prior to taking over the EPHS program.

“The biggest reason we’re talking about right now is that we have 70 kids out for the team,” he continued. “If we can finish the season with that amount of kids in the program, we can build for the future. This season we want to improve each time out, minimize our mistakes and the success will happen. But we if can keep 70 kids out it’s good for the future.”

The Townies start the fall with junior Max Whiting at quarterback, guiding the spread-option offense the program used so successfully in various ways during its glory years under the elder Stringfellow and Sandy Gorham.

Whiting was set to play the position in the last two games of the shortened spring season, but suffered an injury against Burrillville and was out for the remainder of the schedule. He takes over the signal-calling duties from senior Justin Fiore, who moves into the backfield at fullback with classmate Denzy Suazo and junior Jahad Davis-Pinto, the latter did not play in the spring.

“Max had a good summer of workouts and he won the job in camp. And I thought he played well (against Barrington),” Stringfellow said. “We also lost Elijah Owens (to graduation) at fullback, so we decided to move Justin to fill that spot. I think he and Jahad give us a good one-two punch in the backfield. It’s nice to have two kids of their caliber running the ball.

“They’re all in the process of learning. I think they’ll carry the ball very well once they get down the scheme of blocking the option for each other. It will come as they progress.”

When Whiting throws, seniors Donovan Seawood and Diondre Valles play the receiver spots. Senior captain Marcus Garedo and freshmen Colin Roche are the tight ends. The offensive line begins with sophomores Grant Peoples and Ashton Arredondo at left tackle and guard, sophomore Peyton Bailey is the center with senior Donavin Ivy at right guard and sophomore Andrew Espada at right tackle. Another sophomore Anjai Izquierdo will see time in the interior.

“I like the spread option because at East Providence we deal with a lot of good running backs, a lot of good athletes,” Stringfellow of the Townies’ offense. “We need to take advantage of their speed, put the ball on the perimeter. With the three options on every play (keep, pitch, throw), we’re hoping the defense guesses wrong and we have the ability to break one when the opportunity is there.”

In East Providence’s 4-2 defensive formation, Garedo, Valles and junior Jacob Poore are ends. Ivy, junior Robbie Amaral and sophomore Jasper Chakouian are tackles. Fiore, Davis-Pinto, Roche, junior Yusef Abdullah and sophomore Steven Clark are linebackers. Suazo, senior Michael Foster and sophomore Trey Rezendes are backs. Davis-Pinto is also the placekicker/punter.

“A lot of teams we face run the spread offense. They throw the ball a lot. We don’t see a lot of power football, so we have linebackers who can cover the short routes and four guys up front who can get to the quarterback. I think the 4-2 should be a pretty good staple for us,” Stringfellow said of defense.

Overall, the coach stressed he and his staff aren’t necessarily focused on the Townies’ record this fall. Of course, the goal is to win as many games as possible, but with so many underclassmen and juniors in the lineup, the aims are also forward looking as well.

“We had a good summer with the kids, a nice turnout. We’re basically looking at this fall as a continuation of the spring. We have enough kids returning who saw time and lot of the younger guys were thrown into the fire. That’s why we can put so many sophomores out there who have an understanding of the way we want to play,” said Stringfellow.

He added, “We have a lot of positives to build upon with this group this year and in the future. Hopefully as we go along this season they’ll get more accustomed to what we’re doing and they’ll continue to strengthen themselves as we go. And hopefully the success will start to come.”

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