OK, today’s first camp stop was not actually a stop and didn’t include a camp. Shoot me.
It deals with Horace Greeley, which hosted its Advance Skills Camp from Friday until Monday. Coach Bill Tribou originally scheduled the camp to run through Tuesday but it was cut a day short because of players’ obligations to work, academic camps and vacations.
Still, Tribou saw enough to like what he has in the fold for this fall. It includes a deep reserve of experienced linemen, a full returning secondary, and a starting quarterback and running back who were primary ball carriers as underclassmen.
Let’s start up front.
OFFENSIVE LINE — How can a team be optimistic about its line with only one true returning starter? Well, when it kind of has more than one returning starter. That player is our first Captain’s Corner subject, Joe Magardino, the center. In one of the offseason’s most amazing facts, Magardino made 378 snaps last season and none — ZERO — were off the mark. In fact, only one was botched and it was a dropped snap. “There’s no better center in Section 1,” Tribou said.
Flanking Magarino last year were guys like Ben Berkey, Austin Swertfager, Kyle Shaub and Michael Held, who were all seniors. So where’s the experience? Well, you have to look back at the Quakers final four games. Tribou shifted Shaub and Held into the backfield to provide more protection for QB Justin Ciero (more on him later). That allowed Alex Gu and Nick Yager to slot in at the guards.
Gu and Yager will take the lessons they learned there to the tackle positions, where they will start this season. In all, five of the six likely starters up front (including at TE) played a significant role last year at one point or another. “For some reason, it worked out that we had a lot of people who played,” Tribou said.
THE BACKFIELDS — The quartet on defense is led by Ciero, a two-way starter as a sophomore who ranks among the better athletes in Section 1 football. In fact, he won the “middleweight division” at Greeley’s 2010 Strongman Competition earlier this month, so Ciero’s actually a combination of speed and strength. He’s not just your typical pretty boy quarterback.
The primary ball carrier will be another of our Captain’s Corner subjects, Gus Larramendi. He, too, has started both ways since sophomore year (RB/DE) and returns for his senior year having rushed for more than 700 yards as a junior. He is one threat for Ciero to turn; yet Tribou left camp excited about several others. Senior Josh Begleiter played three games for the Quakers after Richie Giner went down with an injury. Tosh Garson chipped in last season as well. Two members of Greeley’s successful basketball team did not, but they will move up from the JV team and could provide an offensive spark. They are rising sophomores Harrison Brown and Teddy Graves, who will bring athleticism out wide. For those who haven’t seen Brown, he is a future star on the basketball court.
All in all, Tribou heads into July pleased with what he may see come August.
“If there was one thing I could say about our camp, it’s that you could see the experience there,” Tribou said. “There were a lot less mistakes. They know exactly what they’re doing.”