There’s nowhere to go but up for Smithfield football team

There’s nowhere to go but up for Smithfield football team

Junior quarterback Corey Conlin, #5, will lead Smithfield into its non-league football opener on Friday at 7 p.m. at the Boyle Athletic Complex against Ponaganset.
Sentinels host rival Chieftains in Friday’s non-league opener

SMITHFIELD – After a tough season last year, which resulted in a 1-6 record and a last-place finish in the Division III standings, the Smithfield High football team simply hopes to play up to its potential this year.

Third-year head coach Cy Butler said that last year, the Sentinels’ roster had a lot of experience, but with injuries and a team that never really meshed chemistry-wise, things did not pan out.

From there, the Sentinels graduated nine seniors, but they have about that many this season, as well as plenty of experience again.

“Our offensive line is intact and will be the same as last year, which is a bonus,” Butler said. “That bodes well. We have good skill position players, different receivers, and a new quarterback.”

Junior Corey Conlin, who stepped in for last season’s starting quarterback Trevor L’Italien when he went down with an injury earlier that year, will be the starting quarterback this year. Butler said he will look to Conlin to be a leader.

Butler also highlighted two returning juniors, Lorenzo Garcia and Keith Beck, and Garcia is now the right tackle after starting last year at left tackle.

“He is a very good kid outside of football,” Butler said. “We are trying to get him to be more aggressive on the field. He is about 6-2 and 230 (pounds). He is in a good position size-wise and athletic ability, and he will be one of our staples on offense this year.”

Beck, meanwhile, is a returning middle linebacker, who Butler said is ferocious on the football field.

Smithfield has four senior captains in James Cost, Max Holroyd, Noah Anderson, and Vincent Lancellotti. Cost, who has started the last two years, is a right guard and nose tackle. Holroyd is a running back and linebacker; Anderson, known as “The Shades,” is the center and plays defensive end, and Lancellotti is an outside receiver and linebacker.

Butler said that his team is going to try and do things a little differently on the field this year, especially on offense.

“Our goal, this year, is to get 3 1/2 yards per down, and anything over that is gray,” Butler said. “We are going to be a ball possession team, and we want our offense to manipulate the clock with no turnovers.”

“Last year, we left our defense on the field way too much,” Butler continued. “We did not have enough offensive consistency. This year, we want to flip the script, let our defense rest, and put pressure on the other team’s defense.”

Like they did last season, the Sentinels will face nearby Ponaganset in their non-league opener, doing so Friday at 7 p.m. at the Boyle Athletic Complex. Butler said that Ponaganset is a “serious and good” rival that will provide tough competition.

As for Division III, Butler said the top two teams to look out for are Pilgrim and Tolman. Smithfield will host Pilgrim in its league opener a week from Friday.

“I’m looking forward to the season,” Butler said. “We have a great group of kids with great chemistry, as well as great parents.”