By Tom Pedulla—
Everything points to a rebuilding year for the Bulldogs as they adjust to yet another head coaching change and a season-ending injury to stellar running back Marcus Canton.
Jeff Michael, who stayed only two seasons as head coach, hands over the program to one of his assistants, Justin Myers, a former quarterback at the school. Canton, a fast and elusive back who was expected to handle much of the offensive workload, was lost to a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee. He sustained the injury during a recruiting camp and looks forward to making a full recovery that will allow him to play in college.
No wonder Myers is not about to make any predictions. “I don’t know about numbers,” he said. “I just want to see improvement every week and then, hopefully, toward the end of the year we’re either in the playoffs or feeling a lot better than we did at the start of the season.”
Sophomore quarterback Chris Callahan should be a tremendous asset as the program grows. He possesses a strong arm and looks to be a good fit for the offense that Myers is installing, one that will use plenty of misdirection and emphasizes getting to the edges.
Myers said of Callahan, “He’s taken leaps and bounds from last year when he wasn’t able to call plays in the huddle to now he’s reading safeties and reading corners.”
One key will be for the Bulldogs to capitalize on their speed. “I think we are faster than any Irvington team I’ve seen in a long time,” the new head coach said. “We’ve had a lot of track and soccer converts. That being said, we are lacking some size up front.”
The Bulldogs will turn to any of four backs to try to compensate for the tremendous loss of Canton. Seniors Teagan Waters and Steve Ritmeyer, freshman Adrian Aybar and sophomore Soren Deyonker should all see the ball at one time or another.
Mason Canton, a dangerous slot receiver, is among those who will try to compensate for the absence of his twin. Both brothers are serving as captains. “I’m hoping to help in any way I can,” Marcus said.
The team received a lift when junior C.J. Steinberg joined the roster. He will start at safety. “He’s giving us a little more juice than we had before,” Myers said.
Cornerback Jayden Jarrett is another important junior to watch. He will typically be entrusted with covering the opponent’s top receiver one-on-one. If he plays to expectations, that will create opportunities for junior Alex Hempstead, a versatile performer, and sophomore defensive tackle Eldad Frechter.
It is hoped that Myers, 33, can finally bring needed stability at the head coaching position. Constantine noted Myers’ inexperience at the top post but said, “I think coach and his support staff are improving every day.”
Waters acknowledged that the coaching change caught players off guard. But he believes they are quickly adjusting and can be something of a sleeper in Class B. “I think we’re going to surprise some people and make some noise in the section,” he said.Read or leave a comment on this story...