Aug 30, 2010 Phil Blackwell Uncategorized
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.
Ben Barrett (6-4, 245 pounds) is the lone returning starter on the Brothers’ offensive line. Homer Davis, Nick Fucillo, Jesse Dresek, John McGriff and Mike Magnarelli all could play on the line, though positions have yet to be determined and, as Casamento pointed out, they’re not as big as CBA linemen of recent vintage.
On the defensive side, the Brothers return five starters – Russo and Thomson at linebacker, plus defensive backs Bunn, Sam Kelley and Dan Patone.
CBA has to replace its entire defensive line, and players like McGriff, Magnarelli and Dresek will need to go both ways. There’s depth at linebacker as Davis, Demetrius Brown and Joe Pascarella join Russo and Thomson, while Collins, Vavonese, Ben Capella and Rick Rinaldo will see time in the secondary.
The Brothers don’t have to travel much early. In the first five weeks of the season, it plays Cicero-North Syracuse, Liverpool, Henninger and Central Square on Alibrandi Stadium’s new turf and makes just one road trip – down the road, to Nottingham on Sept. 17. It closes the season at Rome Free Academy and Baldwinsville.
Casamento said the team has undergone long, arduous practices in preparation for the season, and that the work is needed if it wants to make another title run.
“We lack size and experience, so we have to be proficient in what we do,” he said. “We have to fly around, defend and play smart.”