If excitement and unpredictability were the sole measures of football success, then the Bishop Grimes football team would be basking in championship glory.
As it is, all the Cobras got with Brad Trimm, Pete Penizotto and the rest of its high-octane offense in 2007 was a 3-4 regular-season mark. Still, a few more points, posted in two different games (against Watertown IHC and Weedsport), might have meant a trip to the Section III Class D playoffs.
Yet even with the departures of stars like Trimm, Pete Penizotto and Keith Kwasigroch, the Cobras have more participation on the varsity level this fall -- 21 players, after having just 16 at the end of last fall's campaign.
Head coach Brad Keysor said that all 21 of those players can play key roles in 2008, which might lessen the need for players to go both ways and, consequently, lead to more energy in the fourth quarter, when so many games are decided.
Keysor knew that Grimes' biggest challenge would be replacing Trimm, whose 2,444 passing yards last fall was the ninth-highest single-season total in state history.
Yet a sophomore is ready for that daunting challenge. Dave Campese, already a Grimes standout as a baseball pitcher, now takes his turn on the gridiron, bringing a strong arm and giving Keysor lots of confidence.
"Brad has got a cannon arm," said Keysor. "He's come a long way and will do well."
For those that question anyone succeeding Trimm, consider that Trimm didn't even start until '07, then made the most of his one season at the helm.
Keeping the spread offense intact, Grimes is counting on a group of talented, yet unproven receivers to match the big numbers Penizotto (79 catches, 1,167 yards, 16 touchdowns) put down as a senior.
Three returning juniors -- Antron Irby, Tayvon Moore and Neciefe (J.J.) Reddick -- are expected to catch most of Campese's passes, though Keysor said Mike Lang might find himself in the same go-to role where Penizotto flourished. Steve Dillmore brings a veteran senior presence to the tight end spot.