BURRILLVILLE – Sure, they got some information wrong, including the detail that qualified the program for the honor, but it’s still nice to be recognized.
Burrillville High School has been named Rhode Island’s best small town high school football team by Stadium Talk.
“Small towns across America produce some of the best high school football being played anywhere, regardless of population size,” notes the August 19 article. “All 50 states have small-town gridiron powerhouses that define communities for decades.”
The sports-focused website, published by Granite Media, defined a, “small town,” as having a population of around 10,000 or less, ranking the teams in a countdown of all 50 states to Aledo High School in Texas, which is named, “one of the greatest high school football dynasties in the entire country.”
Burrillville, located in, “Harrisville, RI,” according to the article is listed at #45 with a population of 1,605. The population of Burrillville is 16,158 according to the 2020 census.
Under notable players and coaches only current head coach Gennaro Ferraro is listed.
“Rhode Island hasn’t always handed out state titles the same way, but Burrillville High began winning whatever there was to play for in the late 1930s and kept winning steadily through the late 1970s,” notes a writeup on the program. “Burrillville had a state championship drought from 1977 to end 2000 but has been flush since then, with six state titles from 2000 to 2017, including three since 2014.”
Bronco football teams have won 24 division and class titles since 1937. And while there are many coaches and athletes in the program’s history of note, no list would be complete without Tom Eccleston, who founded the program in 1934, going on to win 11 league championships.
“There’s something special about growing up in a small town. The traditions. The bonds. The community,” the article notes. “And, if you’re lucky, you might mix in a pretty amazing high school football team.”
As the football season kicks off this week and the Broncos take on Johnston in a non-conference game Friday, Sept. 3 starting at 6 p.m., small town or not, Burrillville fans can indeed count themselves lucky.