by Kevin Brown –
The first two topics that come up when you review a football season are so very different nowadays from even just a few years ago. The first question is always, how are the numbers?
Varsity Coach Jorge Veintimilla is enthusiastic about Sleepy Hollow Football 2019, explaining, “The numbers this year are promising. Being a smaller class A team, our goal is to get 15-20 players from each of the grade levels. We anticipate meeting or surpassing our goals,” he said.
The second issue is how do parents react to their kid’s desire to put on a helmet and play? The answers are across the spectrum in Sleepy Hollow.
“My parents were not fond of the idea but coach found me kicking at the football field and invited me to join the team as place kicker and punter, so I’m ready to go,” Senior Kicker Ryan Schatzel shared.
Junior Wideout Franklin Matus explained, “I’m Dominican, so we don’t play football. I fell in love with the game and love practicing and can’t wait to play for my family.”
Junior Talon Carsto started playing in the fourth grade and said, “I come from a long line of football players in my family. I have been playing with a lot of these guys for years and we were great in Wolfpack. We have worked hard all summer long. It’s time to show what we can do.”
The next issue are actual X’s and O’s. “We had a very successful summer camp season. We finished in the top four at the Big Apple Shootout and competed against some top teams at the Bear Camp in June. We do return a good number of players from last year’s team who started as sophomores and juniors. We will also be modifying our offense to fit our strengths. Getting the team used to the tempo and speed is our current challenge,” Coach V. said.
“Last year’s team was very young. We started five sophomores including QB Ben Good and WR Zack Rudder on offense, and Will Kelly, Talon Carsto and Raf Villar-Nils on defense. In addition, we had eight juniors who started or played significant time,” Coach said.
Good explained, “You can feel a difference this year in the level of commitment. We worked hard all summer and everyone has been in the weight room. It’s a new year and the Horsemen are excited to get rolling.”
That happens on Saturday, September 7 at Sleepy Hollow High at 1:30 p.m. against Clarkstown South. This season will also see some experience and size on the line. David Amay (6’1, 240) and Jose Manny Urena (6’0, 265) anchor the offensive line. They both played every game last year. Ryan Owen also steps in on the offensive line and will be the vocal leader. Manny Abru, who is in his senior season and will contribute on the line, said, “We did great at the Linemen Challenge this summer so we have gotten to be a real unit.” David Amay noted the energy level. “We are going to play a rapid-fire game this season, so everyone has to be in great condition. Our line is going to be the best it has been in years.”
Coach Veintimilla summarized the skills positions as follows: “What’s nice about our skill guys this year is we have so many options and they all have good hands and some good wiggle. Junior WR Luke McCarthy leads the way for our skill guys. Joining him are Josh Kearse, Franklin Matos, Will Kelly, Zack Rudder, Manny Abreu and Saeed Alonzo. Each of these guys brings a skill set that the coaching staff will try to utilize.”
The defense is also in a great spot this year. Not only do eight starters return, but Connor Tompkins returns as defensive coordinator. Corner Kevin Sullivan shared this about the off-season. “We have seen more commitment to the team than my past seasons. Practices have been running smoothly. We have fewer inexperienced players and some great help from younger players. We are ready for Clarkstown South,” he said.