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Football Mustangs aim to continue upward charge

So the Marcellus football team ends a long wait for glory and reaches its first-ever Section III final in the Carrier Dome. In the aftermath, the head coach leaves and the record-setting quarterback graduates. That's the end of the run, right?

Well, not if the 2010 version of the Mustangs have anything to say about it.

As it turns out, a lot of contributors to last season's 7-3 squad are back, especially on the front lines. So is a proven group of skill players. And the new man in charge isn't exactly a stranger.

Joe Fiacchi was the head coach at Canastota for eight years, from 1996 to 2003, leading the Raiders to what remains its only appearance in a sectional final in 1999. Then he came to Marcellus, working as an assistant under Joe Goss before Goss stepped down at the end of the 2009 season.

Now in charge again, Fiacchi inherits an enviable situation where the Mustangs don't have many concerns -- except under center.

Fiacchi's son, Will, set every school passing record in his three years as the Mustangs' quarterback. Now at the University at Albany, Will leaves a giant shadow that junior Kyle Hastings must fill.

Hastings started as a freshman for the Marcellus JV team in 2008, then spent last season learning up close as Will Fiacchi had his way. At 6-2 and 190 pounds, Hastings has a similar physical build, and Joe Fiacchi said he is ready to take over.

One big factor working in Hastings' favor is that he doesn't have to carry the offensive load -- not with Ricky Alfreds returning for his third year as the Mustangs' primary runner.

Having surpassed 1,000 yards a season ago, Alfreds is not a fancy runner, nor is he physically imposing at 5-8 and 175 pounds. But he is tough and durable, charges straight ahead and rarely goes down when he's first hit, dragging tacklers for extra yardage. Alfreds will get most of the carries, though Allie Ragovin and Jeff Maes will help out when he needs a breather.

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