Just a few quick notes to share tonight from the local football world. First, just a mea culpa: I know it’s been quiet here the last five days or so. I was out of town on vacation, one that often found me in places like the one pictured above. (Although, no, that’s not me.) Anyway, I’ll be around the rest of the week to cover football camps and to preview the defending gold medalists from Hudson Valley for this weekend’s BCANY Summer Hoops Festival. It should be a busy few days.
Let’s start here: After an impressive turnaround in 2012, Saunders’ Mel Carrozza resigned as the school’s football coach. The move comes as a surprise, both because Carrozza had turned Saunders into a winner and because of the timing. I’ll have more on the reasons behind his decision this week.
I also spend a few hours tonight at Champions Camp and caught up with a bunch of coaches. Here are a few tidbits:
NEW ROCHELLE. The defending Class AA state champs graduated 18 of its 22 starters, including stars Jason Ceneus, Joe Clarke and Khalil Edney. The list of experienced players on the roster is thin: Jon Forrest, a FB/LB; Corey Holder, a DL; and Tajmir Anderson, a CB. Those are the only true starters back, although David Hudson played linebacker last year when Shayne Forbes was out early in the season with an injury and Cameron White served as Ceneus’ backup (and a change-of-pace option) at both halfback and strong safety.
Holder is poised to be an absolute star. His ascendence late last year took New Rochelle’s defense to another level during the team’s run to a state title. Forrest obviously has plenty of experience on both sides of the ball. The line appears to be a potential strength; newcomer Matt Pino and Holder led the Huguenots to victory on Saturday in Spring Valley’s lineman challenge. Still, progress needs to be put into perspective for New Ro with such heavy losses to graduation.
EASTCHESTER. I’ll have more on the Eagles later this week, but they’ve already been forced to deal with a key injury — a familiar refrain for the program in recent years. Star Mike Marsico has his foot elevated in a cast as he recovers from a high ankle sprain. Those can be tricky, but luckily Marsico has time. He’ll need it. He’s going to be a workhorse for Eastchester this year.
WOODLANDS. The numbers are down for the Falcons, who have had less than 20 players all summer. Even still, those who remain form a strong core that should help the program contend for another Class C title. Tyrone Barber is clearly one of the section’s best players regardless of class. He can score on any touch. But LB Kourtney Blanding and WR Jonathan Stewart are important returning players who will play plenty on offense and defense. And don’t forget about Myles Thigpen, a converted receiver who actually began his varsity career as a future QB. Well, now it’s Thigpen’s time; expect him to post big numbers this year as both a passer and runner.
TUCKAHOE. I didn’t see much of the Tigers, but it was good to see the coaching staff back at work. It goes without saying the coaches were glad to have the dramatics of this summer behind them so they could focus on football. That’s worked out pretty well for them in the past: Eight Section 1 titles, four state final appearances, two state championships.
Mike Arborn and Matt Kiernan will anchor a solid line. Arborn was one of the team’s top players up front last year, but so was Kiernan…that is until he broke his leg in a non-contact injury at practice and missed Tuckahoe’s run to the state final.
HARRISON and IONA PREP. I had a very brief look at both teams today, but will have more to share this week.
I’ll be back at New Rochelle tomorrow night and have plenty more then. The teams will work individually until about 7 before breaking into 7 on 7s and scrimmages. The week will peak on Friday with a few hours devoted entirely to scrimmage work. That’s the best day for spectators.