DeWitt Christian Brothers Academy’s football experience in the last three seasons can be looked at two ways.
Put in one light, it’s an exercise in frustration, as the Brothers have reached the Section III Class AA finals in the Carrier Dome in 2009, 2010 and 2011, only to get beat each time – by Baldwinsville twice, and then by West Genesee in last November’s title game.
Yet CBA head coach Joe Casamento would rather characterize this run as an unqualified success, simply because it has managed to stay among the Class AA elite despite ceding numerous advantages (enrollment and roster size, among them) to their opponents.
Much the same is expected in 2012, though to have another shot at that elusive sectional title, CBA will need to get rapid maturity on both the offensive and defensive lines to complement a strong set of skill players.
“We’re younger and smaller,” said Casamento. “We must create some depth, and a lot of kids will need to play as well as they can play. If they do, we’ve got a chance to be pretty good.”
Part of CBA’s offensive evolution in recent years was a drift away from the all-out spread offense that smashed sectional and state passing records with the likes of Joe Casamento Jr., Greg Paulus and Mike Paulus in the early 2000s.
To win games against bigger and stronger opponents, said Casamento, the Brothers had to learn to control the ball for longer periods of time, which meant establishing the ground game to give the defense more of a rest.
No doubt, CBA has the personnel to stay with this strategy, even with Mike Vavonese’s departure. Deshawn Salter and Joey Pascarella both return at running back, with Pascarella’s power neatly complementing the sprinter’s speed that Salter and fellow back Dametrius Brown bring to the field.