Gina Pernicano was a busy girl today. Her fourth and final stop was with Somers and the section’s all-time winningest coach. Here’s Gina’s final report:
Somers coach Tony DeMatteo has some tricks up his sleeve this season, including his biggest one yet in senior tackle Joe Hanley.
Hanley, who plays both sides of the ball, is not only an academic all-star but the Tuskers’ weapon at 6-foot-5 and 285 pounds. For many, it’s no surprise he’s attracting Division I interest after a rigorous offseason regime.
“The loss at Greeley last year was my inspiration for working out harder this summer,” said Hanley, who hopes to land in an Ivy League program based on his academic goals. “I wanted to go further this year and not repeat that. I worked out with our trainer and went to a couple college camps at Princeton and UPenn to get more experience.”
One of just three returning starters, Hanley will be joined by senior running back and punter C.J. Silva (left), and senior guard and defensive tackle Chris Groton as Somers’ veterans. Groton and the explosive Silva both hope to take their games to whole new levels.
“I want to be the guy that you can give me the ball and I can do anything. I needed to work on my offense, mostly where I’m going and where I’m ending up, and I did that this offseason,” said Silva, who is eager for a rematch with Poughkeepsie after getting knocked out early in last season’s contest.
Added Groton: “Our plays are getting much more complicated and we’re responding pretty well. Last year we had a lot of leaders and I think as a senior and a three-year starter I’m going to evolve into that role.”
DeMatteo also hopes to see strong performances from wide receiver and corner back Kevin Murray, tight end and linebacker Dave Arturi, and halfback Stefano Bicknese. His goal? To get as many players as possible comfortable with the game, including Alex Preisig, who suffered a concussion last season.
“The idea is to build their confidence and get them game ready and we did that by the end of last season,” said DeMatteo, who guided his an inexperienced team into the playoffs in 2010.
Looking ahead at this year’s schedule, DeMatteo doesn’t seem too phased, arguing that unlike most coaches he doesn’t scout other teams’ lineups for returning players or impressive newcomers.
“My biggest concern is always what I do with my team,” DeMatteo said. “If they do what I want then we can be competitive regardless of what’s out there.”