Sep 02, 2008 Phil Blackwell Uncategorized
What has gone on in the last two seasons with the Baldwinsville football team is something head coach Carl Sanfilippo can hardly recognize.
“We weren’t us the last couple of years,” he said.
Instead of winning records and routine Section III Class AA playoff apperances, the Bees have, instead, languished at the bottom, only able to go 2-5 in the regular season in 2007, tied for fifth with Central Square in the Class AA-2 division.
To reclaim its past glory, B’ville has, in 2008, put together a 46-man varsity roster brimming with young talent everywhere — but also faces an urgent need to make the offense a bit more balanced.
Almost by himself, running back Malik Burks made the Bees relevant as a sophomore in ’07, topping 1,600 yards on the ground by the time crossover games were done.
“He’s every strong, physical and has got good field vision,” said Sanfilippo. “He can make you miss.”
The aim, said Sanfilippo, is for Burks to get 20 to 25 carries a game, but also to give him a breath once in a while with backs like Mike Crowley and Bo Watson.
Just as important, though, is the Bees’ need to get its passing game to perform. Otherwise, said Sanfilippo, opposing defenses will put eight players on the line of scrimmage to try and stop Burks.
This means that junior quarterback Nick Manning, who saw varsity action as a sophomore last year, is in the spotlight. Manning is an equal threat to run or throw, and he’s got wide receiver Dan Lang back for his senior camapign, helped by A.J. Wood, Mike Guinta and Andrew Redman.
Big tight end Evan Twombly has departed, meaning that Jake Turner and Dan Cuddy, who sat behind him a season ago, have a chance to step into a starring offensive role.
As usual, the Bees’ offensive line carries some beef, but Sanfilippo said improvement had to be made there if his team was going to win more games.
“(In the last two years) we were strong, but we weren’t physical,” he said.
No one on the line is huge, but tackles Nick Robinson and Nick Williamson both check in at 280 pounds, and left guard Jake Margrey reaches 285 pounds. Center Brian Wilson (240 pounds) and guard Barrett Sweet (the “small” guy at 220 pounds) round out the starting five.
Only after last Saturday’s scrimmage against Utica Proctor did the Bees’ coaches settle on who would start in the defensive line. Wilson leads a group of tackles that includes Margrey, Turner and Roger Hand. At end, Cuddy lines up on one side and Rashon Jones on the other.
Having started at linebacker as a sophomore (just like Burks and Manning), Nick Alenciewicz returns in the middle, a junior surrounded by Joe Cavedine and Alex Hipolito. In a veteran secondary, Jeff Pond (cornerback) and Tyler Monnat (safety) are both back, with Redman, Wes Lawrence and Matt Varga all likely to see time there.
Right away, B’ville gets a chance to display its progress when it hosts Liverpool Friday night in a neighborhood clash at Pelcher-Arcaro Stadium at 7 p.m.
Having four home games in ’08 will help, but with every opponent difficult, B’ville’s path back to the top will be far from smooth.