EAST PROVIDENCE — Adhering to the axiom “no rest for the weary,” the East Providence High School returning football players and coaches have been diligent about preparations for the …
EAST PROVIDENCE — Adhering to the axiom “no rest for the weary,” the East Providence High School returning football players and coaches have been diligent about preparations for the upcoming 2022 season, which officially begins with the start of practice Monday, Aug. 15.
The Townies, now in their third season under the staff of head coach Jon Stringfellow, continue their quest to recapture some of the storied program’s past glory.
East Providence is coming off a 2-4 season playing in Division I last fall. This season and for the first time ever the Townies will not play in what is deemed the state’s top tier.
The locals will vie in a 14-team Division II with several other former D-I squads. East Providence is grouped on one side of the 14-team league with Cumberland, St. Raphael, Cranston West, Mt. Pleasant, East Greenwich and Burrillville.
Only four teams play in new Division I, led by perennial powers LaSalle and Hendricken. Either the Rams or Hawks have won the last 12 state championships and 13 of the last 14. They’re joined this fall by Central and North Kingstown. Barrington is last public school to win the D-I title in 2009.
“I wanted an eight-team Division I,” said Stringfellow. “I wasn’t happy with just the four because we want to get back to where we always want to be. I don’t think it’s easy to hold that level. I think it’s easier to hold that level if you have eight teams. But to hold it with just the top four is going to be tough.”
Part of the Townies’ prep for 2022 was members of the varsity participating in the annual non-contact passing league or “7-on-7” competition.
“We work in the summer. The kids have competed. We had about 20 kids consistently come out each week in the passing league,” Stringfellow explained. He added, “That was Wednesday nights, and we practiced on Tuesday nights. And we’re weightlifting Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays in the mornings. So we had a busy summer.”
On average, about 40 kids per day took part lifting and all told Stringfellow said some 89 different student-athletes participated in football-related activities.
“Hopefully, they all sign up,” Stringfellow said. “We should hit the ground running. This is our third year, third season. The kids seem excited. We have a lot starters back, a lot the key pieces in place. So we should be more advanced than where we started from last summer.”
Of note as well, East Providence hosted several other teams two weeks ago for a one-day, freshman/sophomore “7-on-7” tournament, which was won by Central.
“We just wanted the young kids to get some work as well. The varsity has the passing league, so we had (Assistant) Coach Damian (Ramos) put together a youth passing tournament with the ninth and 10th graders to get them some competition. It was a good day,” said Stringfellow.
As mentioned, the Townies can begin practice next Monday morning. The hope of the staff is now three seasons in both they and the players are much more familiar with each other and what each want to gain from the season ahead.
“They’re more comfortable with the expectations, what the coaches expect from them. The offense is comfortable. The defense is on board knowing what’s going on. We’re all excited about the season,” Stringfellow said.
“We had a good time with the camps. We had Springfield College in to run the (option) offense with the kids. So, again, we’ve been working hard. We’re excited to get started. Now we’ll see what happens.”