Liverpool A large and enthusiastic group of Liverpool football players will charge onto the turf at LHS Stadium on Friday night for its 2013 season opener against Henninger, hoping that, this time around, a solid regular season will be followed by an extended post-season visit.
That didn't happen a season ago. True, the Warriors were solid in the first portion, going 5-2 and finishing second in the Class AA-1 division, but then it crashed out of the Section III Class AA playoffs in the opening round, beaten 36-25 at home by West Genesee.
Part of the problem, said head coach Dave Mancuso, was his own coaching decisions, a bit of self-criticism. But he added that the 2012 team never found a real chemistry on and off the field and also faced discipline problems, meaning that the message from the coaches was not getting through.
So far this year, Mancuso said he is very pleased by what his roster of more than 60 players is doing, not just in terms of work in practice, but bonding once the practices are done.
"I am happy with the character of this team," he said. "The kids are buying into the system this time, and things are going smoothly. The kids are listening to us and not arguing with each other. That's a step in the right direction."
While the chemistry is nice, the performance is another matter, and the Warriors like its odds as long as senior quarterback Justin Capoto is running the show.
Capoto started two games as a sophomore and every game as a junior. Then, before his senior season, he worked even harder on, as Mancuso described it, the "little things", ranging from mechanics, cadences and fakes to the rhythm and timing of his throws.
The presence of Capoto helps Liverpool smoothly transition from departed tailback Jeff Edwards to a two-pronged running attack. Senior Anthony Twom is back, both carrying the ball and mentoring sophomore Jaydakis Scott, who has superstar potential. James Terranova and Gavin Youker could split time at fullback.