Jake Thomases here, back from the last day of Champions Camp. Today was a different format than the first four days. Rather than drilling for hours before moving to 7-on-7 scrimmages, today was entirely 11-on-11 scrimmages.
It was a chance for coaches to test their players, to see if the lessons of the week had stuck.
There were five scrimmage sessions on three “fields”—usually half a field—starting at 5. Each session lasted 20 minutes. Every team got three scrimmages, including the four new teams that traveled down for the day. Croton-Harmon, John Jay, Carmel, and Scarsdale had been holding their own camp at John Jay High School.
I focused on Eastchester for the feature that will appear in Saturday’s paper. The Eagles are coming off a somewhat disappointing season where they missed the playoffs despite beating Roosevelt. There is a sense of optimism around this team because of a good turnout.
With Croton in the house, I took the opportunity to check in on the reigning Class B champion. Certainly the Tigers are favored to repeat. The biggest reason is an offensive line that returns four of five starters, including John Brennan and Kyle Ricciardi.
Dual-threat quarterback Jesse Mainiero also returns. Mainiero ran for 934 yards and passed for another 700. Nick Grous assumes running back duties from Matt Tralli and Kevin Soares.
So is it title or bust?
“I would never say that,” coach John Catano said. “Other people might say that. It would be nice again, but things happen. Injuries happen. You can’t always count on that.”
Iona Prep was not at Champions Camp today because CHSAA rules prohibit it from participating in full scrimmages. However, coach Vic Quirolo swung by on his way back from a basketball tournament.
I asked him about his quarterback situation, which he said is still unresolved. Mario Biaggi and Justin Combs have yet to win the job. He expects to pick someone by the first week of Iona’s camp.
One of the scrimmages I watched was between New Rochelle and John Jay. There was an interesting sequence where John Jay forced New Ro into a “3rd down” and quarterback Khalil Edney faked a pass, scrambled to his right, stopped, and found Jason Ceneus with a short pass that turned into a 15-20-yard gain.
On John Jay’s ensuing possession, it too faced a 3rd down. But its snap went over the quarterback’s shoulder.
These things happen in August.