Here’s my report from Champions Camp on Friday, including videos on Harrison’s new quarterback, Eastchester’s new offensive formation and highlights from some of the top players who scrimmaged on Friday:
NEW ROCHELLE — Brendan Pyne may not have played quarterback last season, but the Harrison sophomore certainly wasn’t idle. As a starting linebacker, he was a key part of the Huskies’ defense, including that precocious four-sack performance against rival Rye.
Pyne is expected to replace Vin Nicita as Harrison’s starting quarterback this season, and he will have that experience to lean on.
“I think that will help him a lot,” senior lineman Ryan Knox said.
Pyne’s progression continued Friday at New Rochelle High School, as his team and four others wrapped up Champions Camp with two hours of scrimmages. It ended a week where Pyne earned 11-on-11 and 7-on-7 reps against the likes of defending Class AA state champ New Rochelle and Iona Prep.
“Iona and New Rochelle are probably the best teams we’re going to play against throughout the season,” Pyne said. “It’s great to get used to their speed.”
Harrison returns plenty of pieces to support Pyne, including starting linemen Knox, Steven Forrest and Jeremy Altamuro and game-breaking halfbacks Mike Amicucci and Jake Marino. Junior quarterback Joe Nannariello also provides a strong-armed alternative to Pyne, who will also start on defense at either linebacker or safety.
“We just have to find what he does best and what we do best,” coach Art Troilo Jr. said. “He’s a tough kid, a strong kid, but he can throw the ball deep, too.”
Eagles experiment: Eastchester showed an added wrinkle to its offense, experimenting with the Pistol, a formation popularized by the San Francisco 49ers and deployed locally by Croton-Harmon. The Eagles used the offense for an entire 10-minute period against New Rochelle’s first-team defense with some measure of success.
“It’s a lot of fun,” new starting quarterback Anthony Gallucci said. “We get to spread the ball out a little more. It’s good for outside running. The coaches say, teams are going to have to prepare for more things. Adding another element will just help us.”
Eastchester may need it in the short term. The team played without its top returning player, senior fullback/safety Mike Marsico, who suffered a high ankle sprain and torn ligaments while trying to block a shot in a summer league basketball game at the House of Sports last week.
Tigers together again: Tuckahoe returned to work as a team this week in the wake of turmoil surrounding its coaching staff. The school board launched an undisclosed investigation into longtime coaches John D’Arco Sr., John D’Arco Jr. and Pat Gallo Jr. before re-appointing them two weeks ago.
During their month of uncertainty, the players held captain’s practices at the home of a relative of Michael and Anthony Castracucco. They lifted weights in the garage, making Champions Camp a welcome return to normalcy.
“I feel like it brought us closer together, actually,” said Michael Castracucco, a senior quarterback. “It’s a relationship. When someone tries to break you apart, you come back even stronger.”
Extra point: New Rochelle junior Demetrius Rodriquez left an impression Friday. The emerging tight end and linebacker produced several standout plays, highlighted by a lunging catch from new starting quarterback Nas Sinkfield-Shelton against Harrison. Rodriquez, just 5-foot-10 and 172 pounds, then turned and bowled over a defender on his way into the end zone.
Highlights: Include Pyne, Amicucci, Marino, Sinkfield-Shelton, Rodriquez, Gallucci, New Rochelle’s Jon Forrest, Tuckahoe’s Daryl Taylor, and Mamaroneck’s Marquez Jackson-Allen…