Two quick stories out of White Plains tonight, both of which include video interviews with key figures involved.
First, Byram Hills. The Bobcats will break in a new coach this season. Scott Saunders, who coached 10 years at the JV and varsity level, has stepped in for John Naughton, who left to coach the defense at Clarkstown South.
Naughton’s son is a freshman at South and he sought an opportunity there to coach him. That left an opening for Saunders, who had served as Naughton’s offensive coordinator the last five seasons. Saunders also retained defensive coordinator Matt Jones, leaving Byram Hills will familiarity on both sides of the ball to smooth the transition.
Not surprisingly, Naughton — one of the more genuine coaches you’ll find in the area — left the program with a strong foundation. Byram finished the last two seasons 6-3 and 5-3, respectively, and will return a solid core of two-way players. That group is led by senior RB/LB Connor Murphy, one of the better returning backs in the area. G/LB Nick Sokolov, HB/CB Ian Rawn and QB Matt DiCristofaro.
Saunders, a 32-year old who graduated from Pearl River in 1999, said he will adapt the team to suit his personality, but the X’s and O’s will remain much the same as they were under Naughton. Although this is his first varsity head coaching job in football, he has served as Byram’s head baseball coach for six seasons.
Check out the video for more from Saunders and Morley.
Next, White Plains. The Tigers struggled through a one-win season in 2012. They were hit unusually hard by graduation after a strong 2010-11 group that produced a slew of college players. They hope last year’s tougher moments are about to pay dividends.
Starting QB Cameron Crabbe returns, as does sturdy and agile running back Chris Jordan. The offense will be bolstered by more production from tight end Lukas Repetti, who has already attracted from Division I-AA attention. Another player to watch should be behemoth left tackle Anthony Tocto, a developing 6-foot-5 project who has vast potential.
Check out the video to hear Jordan and Crabbe’s thoughts about the upcoming season.
For those interested, Wednesday is the last day of camp at White Plains. There are eight teams in attendance and they will gather to scrimmage beginning at 5:15 with two teams on each side of the stadium field.
Here’s a look at the complete schedule:
5:15 p.m. — Rye Neck vs. Hastings; White Plains vs. Byram Hills
5:45 p.m. — Westlake vs. Woodlands; Edgemont vs. Hastings
6:15 p.m. — Westlake vs. White Plains; Rye Neck vs. Byram Hills
6:45 p.m. — Hastings vs. Byram Hills; Edgemont vs. Woodlands
7:15 p.m. — Edgemont vs. Westlake; White Plains vs. Woodlands