Horsemen Football 2016: Q&A with Head Coach Steve Borys

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by Kevin Brown

Varsity Coach Steve Borys
Varsity Coach Steve Borys

The Sleepy Hollow Varsity
Football Squad had a
challenging year in 2015.
Two of their expected star
players were out for the season
before it even started,
then their promising QB
was shelved with mono
mid-season. After a long streak of competing for the Section 1A title and making it on several occasions to the semi-finals and finals, it was a tough season for Head Coach Steve Borys, his coaching staff, and the Horsemen faithful.

Additionally, a tragic incident before
Homecoming weekend cast a pall over the
season and put into perspective football in
life’s hierarchy of importance.

Coach, tell me why kids should play
football and why should their parents let
them?

When I was 13, I went to a football camp
and football saved my life. I was a troubled
kid with little direction and football taught
me hard work, discipline, and the importance
of family. My coaches and teammates
became as important as anyone in my life.
And that is why I coach football, to make
a difference in the lives of young men. The
game of football is only a part of playing on
a football team.

But you hear so much now about brain
injuries and that the game is not safe.

When I went to this camp, I was taught
to bury the crown of my helmet into the
ball carrier’s chest to make a tackle. Turns
out that wasn’t great advice. We teach the
Pete Carroll system of tackling and blocking
with the head up. It
makes a huge difference. We
are devoted to making sure
the kids are equipped with
modern equipment that is
approved annually and that
everyone is taught the safe
way to play football.

So how has the summer
gone?

We have had great attendance
for summer conditioning
and at the bunch of
7-on-7 camps we have attended. We were
competitive in all of them and loved seeing
how much better we got with each one.
This year’s group of kids has a great attitude
and are extremely coachable.

Who can we expect to see at the QB
position?

Junior Sean McCarthy will assume that
role. He was a fabulous receiver in the past
and had played some QB on the JV squad.

We lost another prospect to the Catholic
schools but couldn’t be happier. Sean is tall,
strong, fast, bright and is improving rapidly.
We expect two great years with him at
the helm.

He’s quite excellent at basketball and
baseball, too! Who else do you expect big
things from?

Mike Lopez currently is our Captain. He
is a senior this year but made enormous
contributions to Sleepy Hollow Football as
a sophomore and junior. We expect him to
be All World at running back and middle
linebacker. His ability, his attitude, his
work ethic….he is everything you want in
a captain and a great example to his teammates.

And other skill position players?

We expect big things from Kevin Borden
who will play wide receiver and safety. We
also have a transfer from Texas named Zach
Frank who is immensely talented. Also, Julien
Stoll will be our 6’3” tight end/receiver
so will make a great target for Sean. We also
expect DJ Owen, Justin Torres, and other
returning players to make a big contribution.

How about the line?

Our line will be young and interesting.
Both Wade Marks and Damian Gray have
been working their butts off and working
hard in the weight room. We have a bunch
of new starters who are big, strong kids who
love football and love each other. So we are
on a great path.

Any surprises on the scheduling front?

Well we are disappointed that Ossining
is not on the schedule. That is always
a great game for all involved. Instead, we
have to make the trek on a holiday weekend
to take on Long Island Lutheran, a private
school that can recruit. It is the first game
of the season so it will be interesting. The
rest includes our usual tough rivals with
Yorktown and Somers always challenging
opponents. Lakeland, Nyack and John Jay
make up the rest of the schedule and are
always well coached and ready to play. We
lost a heartbreaker to John Jay in the playin
game to make the play-offs last year so
we are looking forward to a rematch.

You mentioned a private school again.
Sleepy Hollow lost a bunch of talented
athletes to the Catholic schools including
two potential star QBs. How do you
feel about that?

The public schools in Westchester County
are second to none. You get a first class
education and if you do well, you go to top
colleges. Socially, there is nothing better
than lining up for battle with the kids you
grew up with. As far as recruiting, believe
me when I say that if you are talented on
the gridiron, they will find you anywhere,
and all of the talented football players we
have had over the years were heavily recruited
to play at the next level….if they have
the grades…which we remind our players
of constantly.

Is prepping the team on artificial turf
any different?

Not really…but I have to say, I almost
started crying it was so beautiful. It was
great not choking on dust on every drill and
play. Imagine…lines on the field!

That leads me to another issue. Some
have complained that football absorbs
more resources at Sleepy Hollow High
then the other sports. Comments?

Football is a more expensive sport to
maintain since the equipment and uniform
costs run so high. We use the same uniforms
and have the same equipment tested
every year. But for all the camps we attend
and dinners we have, that is all funded by
the Boosters through fund raising mostly
from the local community. We are one of
the few high school football programs that
do not charge kids anything additional to
play, which is all the result of a lot of hard
work from the parents who are the biggest
boosters and always step up in raising funds
to help us keep up with the rest and stay
competitive.

Speaking of dinners, there is a Sleepy
Hollow Football tradition of having
a team dinner for Varsity, JV and the
Cheerleading squad the night before every
game. Why is that so important to
you?
The dinner before the game is a huge
teaching opportunity. It is great to have
families come together as their sons grow
together as a family. How fantastic is it to
have Hispanic, African American, White
and Asian parents all having a meal together,
all pulling together? Each week we cover
critical teachable moments in the development
of these young men. And at the end
of the dinner, they leave after hugging all
the parents because they understand that
their teammates, coaches and families are
all there because they care; because they are
interested in these young men succeeding
in every facet of life.

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