Life as a Class AA school can be perilous for the Christian Brothers Academy football team. Though it can draw in students from all over Central New York, it also has far smaller numbers than the schools it faces on a regular basis.
As a result, any time a large senior class graduates, the Brothers have no choice but to rely on younger players.
Such is the case for CBA in 2010. In all, 16 of 22 starters are gone from the team that advanced to last year's Section III Class AA final before falling to Baldwinsville. Some graduated, while others transferred out of school.
A big part of the challenge for head coach Joe Casamento was to find nine new starters on offense, including the entire set of skill players and most of the offensive line.
"We're very young and we're very small," Casamento said. "We'll have to get to a point where we're able to see our own progress, in order to gain confidence."
At least in senior Tyler Hamblin, the Brothers have the most experienced quarterback in the Class AA ranks. At 6-4 and 200 pounds, Hamblin is difficult to bring down in the backfield and has plenty of arm strength, plus added maturity from all the time he has spent running CBA's spread offense.
Though receivers like Jared DePalma, Pete Corasaniti, John Dunmore and Yosh Karbowniczak have departed, a large cast (as many as nine players, according to Casamento) could step in. Evan Adano, Greg Thomson, Vincent Russo, Brian Anderson, Kirby DarDar, John O'Brien and Jack Phfol lead this group.
Fajri Jackson is gone at tailback, but CBA has plenty of replacements ready, including Anthony Bunn, Mike Vavonese and Cirro Nicoletti-Watson. One intriguing newcomer is Emmanuel Collins, a former soccer star who has switched to the gridiron.