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Freshmen Giving New Hope to Skipper Football

NKHS freshman football team is 5-0 in division play.

Tucked away in a small corner of the NKHS junior varsity softball outfield 20 high school freshmen have just returned from a three lap run around the high school’s athletic complex. While this may not be the ideal setting for a team trying to shake a losing reputation, this has been the scene of 20 student-athletes developing the foundation for a winning program. 

The NK freshmen are 5-0 in division play, and were one score away from beating a solid upper division team in Cranston West in non-league play. Runningback Jordan Bodden-Hoyle, lineman Glenn Vallee and quarterback Matt Madoian have led an offense that has been high scoring and efficient in all five victories.

Learning a few days prior to the season that his team would be dropped from Division 1 to Division 2, head coach Jake Northup saw something in his team that he felt would give them an edge on teams of all levels. 

“A lot of these players played youth football which helps us so much,” said Northup. “Where they lack in focus being high school freshmen, they make up for in team chemistry and football IQ.”

A notoriously strong youth football program in the North Kingstown Jaguars produced nearly half of the roster. Madoian leads an athletic group of skill players that play both offense and defense. The young signal-caller came into the season motivated by what he had seen at his older brother’s (senior tight end Alex Madoian) games over the past few years.

“I came into the season knowing everybody was going to work hard and try to rebuild the program,” said Madoian.

Unlike many of the NK players, offensive lineman Bobby Hanley joined the team in training camp without any football playing experience. Northup was impressed by Hanley’s work ethic and determination to learn the playbook early in the season.  This work ethic has become the Skippers’ mantra this fall. 

“Our whole thing this year has been effort. There’s so much skill on this team, which is rare.  We have to set the tone for the freshman program now and years to come with hustle and hard work,” said Northup.

North’s biggest test is tonight against perennial power Westerly.  “Westerly’s a top notch program, that’s the measuring stick for us.” Said Northup. 

Although they are playing a division lower than past years, any success is good success for a program in rebuilding mode. 

“Winning has helped us with motivation.  It’s going to help us lead the team throughout our careers.  We know what it takes to win,” said Hanley.

 

MeanE October 27, 2011 at 08:57 PM
Good to hear. However, success at the Freshman level does not necessarily translate to Varsity. NK had a Freshman team go to the freshman states, only to lose every game as seniors. RIIL needs to move NK down to division II or III. I don't care how many boys attend the high school, they don't play football. If RIIL refuses to take the AD & Principal's request to move down again, then NK should threaten to eliminate the program altogether. NK has never won in DI. This move for the Freshman program and the only Varsity win vs. EG (DIII) proves where they need to be in order to compete. If NK eliminates football, can the students play for another school, like EG for example? It's time NK stops being the sacrificial lamb in Division I.
Joe Smith October 28, 2011 at 06:01 AM
A notoriously strong youth football program in the North Kingstown Jaguars produced nearly half of the roster. Since NK taxpayers subsidize that program by spending 50K on McGinn Park field and charging almost nothing for use (and according to the recent article on turfing that field, that program is the only user), it's good to see some return on that subsidy.
Pam October 28, 2011 at 12:23 PM
MeanE is right. The Jaguars has been a strong program for years. Sometimes the freshmen team is strong too. But somehow, once the kids get into the varsity mix, things fall apart. Kids quit, and the team is surprisingly small for a school of this size. How does Barrington do It? Smaller school than us.
MeanE October 28, 2011 at 01:26 PM
I believe that the difference between Barrington and NK is School Pride and community involvement. For better or worse, it seems that it means a little more to them then it does to NK. In addition, their talent tends to stay in town instead of heading to private schools.
MeanE October 28, 2011 at 01:29 PM
Are the Jags the only user? I can remember when my kid was playing for the Jags that the field was used by soccer and lacrosse. Doesn't the middle school play games there?
Joe Smith October 28, 2011 at 07:29 PM
MeanE, see clip from story from NE Independent, May19th Voters will be asked to finance artificial turf at McGinn Park By Chris Church/Independent Staff Writer Thursday, May 19, 2011 10:55 AM EDT NORTH KINGSTOWN — The football field at McGinn Park is home to the town’s Pop Warner team, named the Jaguars, for about four months but that is about the only purpose it serves. 50K in expenses; 1K in reimbursement....DMS uses soccer field adjacent to the football field..
MeanE October 28, 2011 at 08:35 PM
It must have changed within the last 5 or so years.
patricia poirier October 29, 2011 at 01:35 PM
The DMS boys and girls soccer teams DO play on the main field along with the Jaguars.
Pete Andrews October 31, 2011 at 11:06 PM
And the DMS boys' are playing their 1st state championship playoff home game at Ocean State Soccer tomorrow instead of their true home field because the field has been reduced to mostly mud by this point of the fall.
Joe Smith November 01, 2011 at 05:04 PM
Not only do we have that short window, we can’t let anybody else (beside Jaguars) use it,” said Al Southwick, the town’s recreation director, about the field. Note also in the June 16 letter to the editor (NE Ind), the head of the Leisure Services Advisory Committee - who is a teacher at DMS - only notes the "torturous football season". Seems to me that if the school soccer were also prominent users, the head of the town rec dept and the head of the committee would have included that in advocating for the new synthetic turf -- was also not mentioned by the T/C in urging support for the ballot initiative.
patricia poirier November 01, 2011 at 06:00 PM
McGinn Field is used 5 days a week by DMS girls and boys soccer team for either practice or a game. The Jaguars us the field 3-4 nights per week for practice. Depending on the schedule there are normally 4-5 home games a season which are played on Sundays. Obviously the letters to the editor and articles you are quoting were not researched.
Pete Andrews November 01, 2011 at 06:03 PM
@Joe Smith - I'm not sure the point you're trying to argue. Is it that the DMS soccer teams don't use the field? If that's your point, you're wrong. My kids have been playing or practicing soccer on that field just about every fall weekday from September through October for the past 4 years.
MeanE November 01, 2011 at 06:20 PM
I guess it's called politics Joe. It appears they wanted the turf and they decided to stretch the truth regarding the use of the field. Trying to make it out that if turf was voted in, more teams and organizations would be able to use it.
Pete Andrews November 01, 2011 at 09:33 PM
Politics? Nah, just facts. The DMS school soccer teams use the field, but if you choose not to believe that, that's up to you. Both the boys & girls practice on it daily in season, and they played a combined total of 12 home games on it this season. And how do you know what I thought about the proposal to build an artificial field? I didn't express any opinion on that issue, I simply presented facts about the use of the field. When you assume...
IAmASkipper November 01, 2011 at 10:10 PM
The attempt to get turf at McGinn was in fact for the right reasons for exactly what you present above. Why dump funds into a field when the produced revenue doesn't even come close breaking even. The new turf would allow for more teams, schools and leagues to rent it and produce more revenue and after the initial expense, the maintenance is significantly reduced. The best part is, it was already budgeted for and would have cost taxpayers nothing, but people in our town are too worried about themselves to actually vote for something that could better our community. The reason our high school football program suffers so bad is evident right here in the obvious. It is not popular. We don't rally behind and support the sport and the sense of community it can generate. Instead we like to complain about how fields get wrecked and second guess every situation instead of hopping inboard and helping be the solution. Barrington is good because the support and rally behind the sport. Popwarner is promoted not discouraged and people go to the games regardless of if their children play. It is a community event which everyone enjoys, which makes it more popular and more athletes want to play.
Joe Smith November 02, 2011 at 03:46 AM
@Pete Andrews - The point I was making was the interesting fact that the town (and apparently the NE Ind) in discussing the idea to turf the field never mention the middle school soccer use. Perhaps that is not surprising given the town, via the school committee, does not fund soccer, unlike other primary sports team and instead looks the other way at the "mandatory fundraising" (because we don't allow pay for play). @IamaSkipper -- As noted in another set of comments on the article regarding the turf proposal, the town *never* presented the case in terms of a demand/use analysis (who would rent the space or what costs would be saved) and a cost-benefit analysis (which would seem a slam dunk if the proposal "would have cost taxpayers nothing"). You would think given the town's economic situation that the town would present at least some cursory analysis to justify the project (didn't they spend 40K on a rather superficial IT analysis?). While I don't know Barrington's degree of support for Popwarner, the town spends $50K a year to maintain a field for the Jaguars (and yes, DMS soccer) and only gets $1K in return -- keeping in mind the Jaguars are a 501C3 organization -- while the town's actual NFL flag football program plays on softball fields at Ryan Park. The town's soccer program (also 501c3) either get no town support (Ocean State) or give back much more than 1K for using Wilson Park (NK Soccer). Even WLL pays 19K in field permit/maintenance.
fixit4918 November 03, 2011 at 03:20 PM
I thought this article was about the freshmen football team? If you want to argue about politics and fields write an editorial!! Way to ruin a nice article about the kids. We are proud of you NK freshmen and coaches. Keep up the good work.
Edward November 10, 2011 at 05:37 AM
Anyone who argues against artificial turf doesn't understand the concept of math. Lump sum up front sucks, but by the time turf needs to be replaced, town saves money. Not brain surgery.

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