Aug 25, 2011 Phil Blackwell Uncategorized
Sure, it didn’t seem like much to brag out – a 3-4 regular season, a fourth-place league finish, a one-sided ouster by Christian Brothers Academy in the Section III Class AA playoffs.
Yet West Genesee football head coach Joe Corley took plenty of positives from his team’s 2010 campaign. Young in many parts of the lineup, the Wildcats still worked their way to a post-season berth and gave fans reason to think that 2011 could be even better.
“We overachieved (in 2010)” said Corley. “The players had ups and downs, but we learned a lot. They got a taste of success, and want more.”
To get more, WG will have to count on an offense that returns nine starters, though one of the departed seniors was Pat Brown, one of Section III’s top receivers a year ago.
Matt Naton is back, though. The 6-3, 190-pound senior quarterback, who threw for more than 1,100 yards as a junior, is, in Corley’s words, a “superior athlete” and only needs to work on his timing with the receivers to put up better numbers.
Though Brown (49 catches for 782 yards) is gone as a primary target, Naton will not suffer any drop-off with a strong trio of receivers in Nate Flask, Ted Glesener and Sean Howard, plus tight end Brett Bolden. And Howard has the increased benefit of a full year at receiver, having converted from running back late in the 2010 season after missing four games due to injury.
WG also has a pair of proven running backs. Nasean Howard started as a freshman and should show vast improvement as a sophomore, but he can’t slip any bit, or senior Kesean Sparks could take charge.
Every starter is back on a loaded offensive line. Adam Wierbinski, good enough to be named captain as a junior, has the same honor now as the 275-pound senior anchors at tackle, with Matt Nichols the other tackle. Joe Pedrotti, injured for half of 2010, is 100 percent now and starts at guard with 275-pound Seamus Shanley, while Dave Martin is the incumbent at center.
In contrast to the offensive stability, WG has to replace seven starters on the defensive side. As a result, Corley is putting his best players on the field both ways and going with a 3-4 alignment to feature more linebackers.
WG can do this because Wierbinski, at end, and Nichols, at tackle, can be counted on each play. Meanwhile, junior Garrett Waldron, the team’s top linebacker and an occasional fullback, also earned captain’s status as an underclassman. Corley said that any player that displays multiple leadership skills deserves that honor, even if they aren’t seniors.
Flask is also playing both way, starting at outside linebacker with a rotation of players that include Matt Wierbinski, Adam’s younger brother, and Brett Henderson. Dom Belko works inside with Waldron.
Fairly set in the secondary, the Wildcats will see Sparks and Naesean Howard fly around at corner, while Sean Howard and Sean Pisik cover the field at safety.
Following last Saturday’s scrimmage with CBA at Alibrandi Stadium, WG gets a great chance to open with two wins at home, against Oswego and Corcoran. Fayetteville-Manlius and Utica Proctor also have to visit Camillus, and the featured road game is Sept. 30 at two-time defending sectional champion Baldwinsville.
The Wildcats, said Corley, are quite eager to hit the field and see if last season’s glimpses of greatness translates into something more this fall.
“It’s going to take tremendous leadership, and we must keep our composure,” he said. “But we know what it takes to get on top.”