Cicero In less than a week, all of the turmoil, tumult and transition that has symbolized Cicero-North Syracuse football will melt away, and the game itself will assume center stage.
When the Northstars kick off its 2013 season Friday night at Baldwinsville, it does so excited about its future direction - but knowing that the present might prove a bit rough.
Not only did C-NS have back-to-back 1-7 seasons in 2011 and '12, it also dealt with the year-long injury-related absence of head coach Steve Ellis and discontent from some players and parents who thought the program needed to turn around.
Eventually, Ellis stepped down, clearing the way for a bold hire - Joe Sindoni,a coach who dealt, up-close, with controversy of another sort at Skaneateles before taking charge in 2012 and leading the Lakers to its first sectional title in 20 years.
Having played Pop Warner football in Cicero as a kid before attending Christian Brothers Academy (where he was also an assistant coach for 14 years), this is, for Sindoni, a homecoming, but as much as he wanted to change the Northstars' fortunes, he knew he couldn't do it alone.
Sindoni brought with him six assistant coaches from Skaneateles, including offensive coordinator Tim Brown and defensive coordinator Tim Lee. But he also kept on staff long-time C-NS coaches, including Jack McAndrew (who was the interim coach in 2012) and Bill Aldrich.
Keeping those familiar names, said Sindoni, has been "interesting, but we spend less time coaching coaches and more time dealing with players. And they're enthusiastic kids that have worked hard so far."
And there's a lot of players to deal with - 52 in all on the varsity roster. Of them, just 15 are seniors, with eight sophomores and a large junior class on hand, all of them learning the spread offense that Sindoni learned at CBA and utilized at Skaneateles, with very productive results.