Scituate football team faces numbers crunch

Scituate football team faces numbers crunch

Scituate’s Ryan Farias, #7, receives a helping hand from teammate Connor Champagne, #17, who blocks Juanita Sanchez’s Collin Hall, as he gets ready to pick up a first down during last Thursday’s Injury Fund game at Conley Stadium. The Spartans will take on Central Falls on Saturday afternoon in their non-league opener at Hope High. (Breeze photo by Kayla Panu)
Despite low numbers, Spartans hope to compete in D-IV; SHS faces C.F. in Saturday’s opener

PROVIDENCE – With numbers on the lower side, the Scituate High football team will look to compete in a new Division IV this year.

The Spartans have 30 players on their roster and could add a few more on an open walk-on day this week. Veteran head coach Mark Reed said that 30 is a little light, but not bad, compared to a few other teams in the state. Plus, he said that he thinks his 30 players are very talented.

“I have all returning players except for five as of right now,” Reed said. “We haven’t named any captains yet, but be have some leaders stepping forward on the team, and the kids will be voting on captains this coming week.”

Reed highlighted four returning players: seniors Preston Collazo, Dylan Palmieri, and Sean Ward and junior Logan Butkins. Collazo is a defensive end and wide receiver, Palmieri is a lineman on both sides of the ball, and Ward is a free safety and running back. Butkins, who last season was a Second-Team All-Division player, is the starting quarterback as well as a linebacker.

“There are some young guys that I think are going to be really big for us this year,” added Reed. “Ryan Farias is going to be a junior this year, but I think he’s really going to step forward. He’s a wide receiver, as well as a linebacker and corner. We’re a pretty talented squad and pretty spread out with the ability level.”

The Spartans had spent a decade playing in Division IV, but after the 2015 season, that division was eliminated and they moved up to a 14-team Division III. This season, the RIIL brought back D-IV, and Scituate has returned to the division and is joined by Ponaganset, Tiverton, Toll Gate, the North Smithfield/Mount Saint Charles co-op team, Hope, and Exeter/West Greenwich.

“I think being in Division IV this year, we’ll be competitive with every school we play,” added Reed. “There are some schools that we’re going to be playing that we’ve never played before in my tenure here. Obviously, in a couple of weeks, we’ll be playing Ponaganset, and that will be a big rivalry game for us that we are looking forward to.”

On Saturday at 1:30 p.m., the Spartans will play Central Falls in their non-league opener at Hope High’s home field, and the following Saturday afternoon, they will face the Chieftains, but since Scituate does not have a home field, they will play at Ponaganset as a “home” game.

“We do not have a home field yet,” Reed added. “(The town) did pass a bond to build us a home field, so they are working on it. They’re supposed to break ground any day for our new field. We will not play a home game this year to my knowledge, so that will be three years without a home field.”

“We’re looking forward to having a place to play,” continued Reed. “To my knowledge, it will be a turf field that will have a full track, but it will not have lights. I just want a place for these guys to play.”

Reed said that his goals and expectations for this year are to get the players conditioned enough and prepared mentally to play a full four-quarter game. Since they do not have much depth, most of the players will be playing both ways and on special teams.

“One of our goals is to limit the amount of contact we have during practice so we can maintain an injury-free season and get everyone in action at game time as much as possible,” Reed added. “The kids are excited, so hopefully we can turn over a new leaf in Scituate football.”