by Tom Pedulla –
Local high school football teams are gearing up for the upcoming season. The following is a preview of the area squads on the gridiron.
The Eagles, after finishing 7-3 and reaching the Section 1 Class C finals last year, will look for quarterback Patrick Straub to help them soar again.
Coach Jim Moran cannot wait to see what Straub, a senior, can accomplish in his third year as a starter. “He’s a very good athlete,” the coach said. “I’m looking for big things from him.”
Hard-nosed Jack Baglieri and burner Emilio Nolasco should excel out of the wing-T formation in the team’s run-oriented attack. Tevaun Holness provides Straub with an outstanding target whenever he drops back to pass and is a strong blocker on the perimeter.
Tackles Kosta Georgiodakis and Thomas Palicz, a junior who has started since he was a freshman, are mainstays up front.
Safety Tommy Ritch, linebackers Jack Capuano and Michael Mcgoey, and nose tackle Awvise Khan are defensive standouts. Khan makes up in heart what he lacks in size at his all-important position.
“I feel we’ll be a better, stronger team than last year, just based on experience,” Moran said.
Major shuffling in alignments will force Class C Dobbs Ferry to oppose a number of Class B powers as part of what the coach describes as a “brutal schedule.”
“If we can stay healthy or close to healthy by playoff time,” Moran said, “we should be in a good spot.”
The Hornets are chasing their third Metropolitan Independent Football League title in as many years since Simon Berk took over as coach. They appear to have the personnel to accomplish that.
Much will depend on the performance of Charlie Hite, a senior who will be playing quarterback for the first time. He spent much of the summer working to improve his throwing mechanics. He possesses a strong, accurate arm to go with leadership ability. That package should help him to overcome his inexperience.
“The kids respect him and that’s important,” Berk said. “They see Charlie as capable and confident. He’s just got to keep getting better every day.”
Hite has an array of targets, beginning with rugged tight end Folger Hogg. Matt Zampolin, Enzi Teacher, Josh Williams and Tahryan Toure also figure into the passing game. Dewaun Burns succeeds prolific Will Waterhouse at running back. Dillon Schaevitz, Jordan Johnson, Jack Kneisley and Connor Thomson are all quality linemen.
Berk noted that Hackley lost a large amount of talent to graduation but said, “What’s been great is the kids have come out, and they’re focused and they have a great work ethic.”
Anything less than another run at the top of a nine-team league that welcomed back traditional power Poly Prep will be disappointing.
Few teams feature a four-year starter at quarterback. The Bulldogs do in Liam Toolan, and that factor alone makes them dangerous.
One of the keys to success, of course, will be the ability to protect him. Left tackle Ari Greenberg, right tackle Justin Kim, center Jonathon Bloomfield, and guards Trygre Ordahl and Ryan Kelly should be up for that challenge.
When it comes to the ground game, bruising fullback Michael Brennan will be counted on to create opportunities for Chris Chafizadeh. Emmett Winton, new to the team, should provide a potent weapon with his speed and exceptional athleticism.
Aidan Daly and Jason Anderson offer dependable targets. “I think a key to this year is balance,” Yurek said. “It’s going to be really fun to be able to run or throw every down.”
The Bulldogs are part of a newly-formed league independent of Section 1. “Expectations are pretty high at Irvington,” Yurek said. “If we do what we’re supposed to do, we should do pretty well.”