Here’s Nancy Haggerty from her stop at Sleepy Hollow on Monday:
A 6-3 football season would seem like one to fondly recall. Returning Sleepy Hollow football players certainly recall that mark but it’s not fondly.
The Headless Horsemen were 5-1 before dropping two of their last three games, including a first-round playoff game to Tappan Zee, then, in last-minute fashion, a consolation vs. Yorktown.
This year’s team has a long memory.
“I’ve had so many nightmares. The way we went out last season was so horrible, it’s the one thing driving us this season,” said senior wide receiver/corner Henry Hargitai.
Twelve-year head coach Steve Borys characterizes last season as “strange.” This year, he’s banking on balance to carry his team. Sleepy Hollow certainly doesn’t lack experience with 14 seniors expected back. Daniel Chevere, a wide receiver/defensive back, is one of them.
Although the Horsemen have lost talented QB Devin Lopez, Chevere expects classmate Joey Good, who started two games last season, to fill in nicely.
“He can get me the ball. He can definitely spread the ball around very well,” Chevere said of his southpaw quarterback.
“Joey is stepping up and really leading us,” added Chevere, who characterizes this year’s Sleepy Hollow squad as being more of a team.
Balance should be a strength. Chevere characterizes running backs Jonathan Gomez and Ariel DeJesus as “monsters.” Borys is also looking for DeJesus to step up on defense, where he plays D-back.
“If he can come up and tackle, we’ll win a lot of games,” he said of the speedster.
Defense, Borys believes, will be key in Sleepy Hollow’s success. He’s looking for a big season from captain Jordan Brown, a senior lineman who’s beginning his third year on varsity. Sleepy Hollow’s fortunes may also lie with two linebackers, sophomore Mike Lopez and returning starting senior Mike Fortugna.
The Headless Horsemen are expected to be strong offensively. Borys likes Good, characterizing him as a “good leader, hard worker and someone who usually puts us in the right situation on the field.”
Good, who says he’s a pocket QB who can run if needed, figures he’ll have a good amount of time in the pocket behind a strong offensive line. He said he wants to improve on his ability to survey the field, saying he failed to see a couple of open receivers in losses to Rye and Tappan Zee.
One of his targets will be senior tight end Pete Jeleneck, who Borys describes as a “monster” and, at 6-foot-5, a “huge target” for Good. But Jeleneck is also a gifted football player.
“He’s got great soft hands and blocks like a truck,” Borys remarked.
Hargitai likes his team’s chances, saying, “I think we can go very far. We have a lot of experienced guys who have won and lost playoffs. These guys have really seen it all.”
What this year’s team wants to see, of course, is a title.
“We’ve been working since last November, in the weight room and out here, all through the winter. Everybody wants it,” Good said.
“it’s championship or bust,” Hargitai said.
Here’s QB Joey Good on the upcoming season: