My first stop on today’s camp tour was at the home of last year’s surprise League AA-West champ, Clarkstown North. The Rams beat North Rockland for the first and only time during Joe Casarella’s 31-year tenure there in Thiells.
Predictably, North lost a lot from what was a senior-laden team. There are 21 seniors gone, to be exact, and 19 of 22 starters. What remains is a far less experienced team with uncertainty along the line and at QB. But coach Joe Trongone told me today the Rams may feature more speed this season, even without speedsters Tareek Turner and Brian Rinciari.
Naturally, the speed is primarily at HB, FB and DB. Junior Billy DeLay eared some playing time last season and is now expected to start on both sides of the ball. He’s a captain — the first in Trongone’s 12 seasons as head coach.
Another HB/DB is senior Travis Samuels, a basketball player who started as as sophomore but missed last season because of academics. Samuels and DeLay will offset Nick Termine, a senior FB/SS who started last season at DB and will bring speed to the FB position.
Other than Termine and DeLay at DB, the only returning starter is senior OT/DT Shawn Krain. A pair of twins will join him on the line at G: John and Dan Asheim. The other two spots are open at the moment, leaving the offensive line as one of Trongone’s primary concerns.
“We’re not as deep as last year, and we’re not as big, but we’re Wing-T so we don’t need to be that big,” he said. “One thing we do have is speed. Overall, we could be faster than last year, even without Tareek.”
North is young and inexperienced at QB. Two younger brothers of key players on last year’s team are in competition for the position: Frankie Regalbuto (brother is Charlie) and Guido Porcelli (Vinny). Samuels will likely be involved in some packages as well.
Two other returning players will provide speed on both sides of the ball: S Korey Johnson and SE/DB Marco Cavaliere, who is also the returning kicker.
Other than the QBs, most of the players mentioned so far were a part of last year’s success. One junior newcomer who Trongone expects to make a major impact is MLB Eddie Ruckel. He is already a physical force at 6-1, 210, and can even rotate in at FB with Termine.
“We hope he can be another Greg Schuster,” Trongone said.
The schedule won’t be easy, with dates against White Plains, North Rockland and Arlington. North won’t have much time to break in a long list of new starters with a Week 1 matchup at hungry North Rockland — a team we already know is bent on exacting revenge.