NPROV Almagno looks for first down

North Providence senior quarterback C.J. Almagno, who has scored six touchdowns in his last five games, will help lead the Cougars into next week’s non-league Thanksgiving Day game against longtime rival Smithfield at the Sentinels’ Boyle Athletic Complex.

NORTH PROVIDENCE – The North Providence High football team’s return to the postseason after a two-year absence won’t see its opening kickoff.

No thanks to COVID issues within the program, the Cougars were forced to take a knee and forfeit last weekend’s Division IV quarterfinal-round game with Davies Tech.

The game, which was scheduled last Friday night at Johnston High’s Polisena Stadium, but moved to Sunday night, was officially scratched from the RIIL’s schedule early Saturday afternoon.

“We had a couple of positive cases, and out of precautionary measures, and for the safety of both teams, we needed to cancel (the game),” reported NP head coach Glenn Williams.

As a result, Davies, which is in its third year as a varsity program and has a 4-3 record, will visit unbeaten Ponaganset in the semifinals on Friday at 7 p.m. on the Chieftains’ campus.

The Cougars, meanwhile, will focus on their non-league Thanksgiving Day finale against Smithfield High at the Sentinels’ Boyle Athletic Complex – NP was supposed to host that game, but construction on the school’s new turf surface started last week.

The Cougars, who kicked off their season with a 16-14 triumph over Davies at Pawtucket’s Vets Park, currently own a 5-3 record that was good for the fourth seed in the postseason.

They have also won four of their last five games, with the biggest victory of the bunch being a hard-fought 7-0 win over the 2nd-place Juanita Sanchez/Providence Country Day/Wheeler co-op team on Oct. 1. Three of those wins also saw NP’s defense record shutouts.

Speaking of the co-op squad, they will face the D-IV’s other co-op team, Exeter-West Greenwich/Prout, in the other semifinal-round game on Friday night at Conley Stadium. The last seed in the playoffs, EWG/Prout posted a 19-3 victory over 3rd-seeded Smithfield in their quarterfinal-round game last Friday night on the Sentinels’ campus.

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