Two areas of concern for Nyack last season were its defense — long a strength for one of the area’s most storied programs — and its one-dimensional offense. When the Indians did stop people, they often could anticipate the response: sprinkle some Derwohn Bartley with more Derwohn Bartley.
Nyack returns a pretty young team this season, but one that could have a few solutions to last year’s most pressing problems. Junior fullback Adonis Alcime could help answer both. The 6-foot, 185-pound force should be one of the section’s top two-way players this season after starting at inside linebacker and earning some carries at fullback as a sophomore. He runs and tackles with force and has an explosive quality that you simply don’t see often. He looked supremely confident when I watched him Friday night at Clarkstown South’s camp.
On offense, Alcime should be flanked by some speedy halfbacks. Trevor Gordon showed great flash during a few runs Friday (you can see one on video below). Sophomore Ralph Cruz could make an impact also. I heard about Cruz last year as a freshman, but he ended up playing down on the JV. He might’ve been ready to make plays then and certainly seems ready now. Nyack also returns second-year starter Jordan Mews (pictured above) at QB; he is expected to contribute more as both a runner and passer with another season of experience.
Nyack’s youth will be along its offensive and defensive fronts, which will long for the days of big Dashawn Rodriguez and Stanley Dragon, who were first-team all-county players last season. But the defense has a new face that a few coaches at camp said will be a major force — only it’s not a player.
Mike Ramponi added Vic Chiappa to his coaching staff as the team’s new defensive coordinator. Chiappa got his opportunity after a nice run as the coordinator at Clarkstown South. That stint ended this offseason when South added former Nanuet coach Rich Conklin (offense) and former Byram Hills coach John Naughton (defense) as its offensive and defensive coordinators.
Chiappa brings a great deal of experience and expertise to Nyack. He has coached with Harrison and New Rochelle in addition to South. He was also briefly the head coach at Saunders. He retains close ties to the staff at New Rochelle and has adopted those same tendencies. Chiappa has a thirst for watching film that has already strengthened Nyack’s defense.
Here’s more from Mews and Alcime, including clips of both and a clip of Gordon:
A few other notes:
• South is working to install a new offense and a new defense with Conklin and Naughton in the fold. The adjustment seems to be greatest on offense. Conklin will add a few modern wrinkles, but he has the Vikings running his triple option, an offense that will need to unearth some new stars to replace departed running backs Thomas Lent and Zach Johnson and quarterback Ryan McManus while also tackling the graduation of star linemen Marc Annunziato and Ray Manfredi.
• Albertus Magnus had a good opportunity to face ramped up competition. In addition to South and Nyack, the Falcons, who will play a Class C and D schedule, took on Old Tappan and Bergenfield from Jersey.
• It was good to see Rob Violante, who coached with a number of teams around here, including Dobbs Ferry and Harrison football and Lincoln Hall basketball. He’s the head coach at Bergenfield and had his dad Skip Violante assisting him at last week’s camp. Violante was among those heaping praise on Chiappa, who had coached with his brother, Brian, an assistant at New Rochelle.