OakWood Raiders receive okay to play in R.I. Preteen playoffs

OakWood Raiders receive okay to play in R.I. Preteen playoffs

Coaches receive suspension for allegedly videotaping regular-season football game; Raiders' playoff opener is Nov. 17

PAWTUCKET – The OakWood Raiders varsity football team, which is made up of players ages 13 and 14 and competes in the Rhode Island Preteen Football Organization, will be allowed to take part in the upcoming playoffs, more than a week after the team was suspended by the league for allegedly videotaping a regular-season game between the North Providence Jets and Chariho Cowboys.

The Raiders had been suspended for violating Article VII, Section 15 in the league’s bylaws: “There will be no photography or filming of any team in which an organization is not participating. Those teams in violation of the rule will not participate in the playoffs.”

But during a conference call late last Friday afternoon between the league and the Raiders' organization, it was determined that the players would be allowed to play in the postseason, but without the services of their head coach, Monty Valles, and the assistant coaches who attended the NP-Chariho game.

"Basically, (either) the kids that were at the game would be suspended for a playoff game or the coaches would be suspended for the year," Valles said last Friday. "Ultimately, what I want is for the kids to just to be able to play in the playoff game, whether that's with me or without me."

With one of the Raiders' assistant coaches, Jorge DaGraca, taking over the head coach, the Raiders defeated North Kingstown Jaguars, 28-12, in their regular-season finale on Sunday afternoon at North Kingstown High. While the Raiders improved to 7-1 and earned an opening-round bye in the playoffs, the Jaguars fell to 6-2.

Valles, meanwhile, repeated last Friday that he and his team were innocent of the allegations brought before them, and he was displeased that there wasn't an appeals process where he could state his case.

"The league is trying to get our organization to send out a statement," apologizing for the videotaping, "and we're not obliging," said Valles, "We're not sending out any apologies because we did nothing wrong."

On Thursday night, the Raiders' organization released a statement to the media, as well as announced that the varsity team will play at Max Read Field on Sunday, Nov. 17, at 1:30 p.m. against a team to be announced.

The statement read:

"On behalf of the Oakwood Athletic and Mentoring Association executive board, we would like it to be known that the opinions and views expressed by the media in recent weeks regarding the RI Preteen Football And Cheerleading Organization are not supported by Oakwood Athletic and Mentoring Association. Earlier comments that were reported were misquoted. We now and will always focus on the needs of the children and families of the Pawtucket Community we will not tangle ourselves with conjecture and hearsay.

"Our opinion on the matter, is that this is a matter that has been and will continue to be addressed through the proper channels of both OWMA board and RI Preteen Football. We will always seek to take a path that is fair and efficient for all parties concerned.

"In the case regarding Our Varsity Football Team being suspended from the playoffs, we have stated our position and the board of RI Preteen has decided to reverse its earlier decision and now allow the Varsity Team to proceed playing and participate in the playoffs.

"Both parties have decided that this is what’s best for the kids, both parties continue to have a continuous appreciation and respect for the mutual concerns that we have for all the participants, volunteers, and communities involved in RI Preteen Football."

Sincerely,

The Oakwood Athletic and Mentoring Association Board DBA Oakwood Raiders Football