Aug 27, 2012 Phil Blackwell Uncategorized
Once a chaser, the West Genesee football team clearly assumes a different role in 2012 as it tries to win the Section III Class AA championship once again.
“They know the target is on their backs,” said head coach Joe Corley. “But they’re looking forward to the challenge.”
There’s plenty of reason to be excited. Despite the departure of standouts like quarterback Matt Naton, wide receiver Sean Howard and four of the five members of the offensive line from last year’s 10-1 squad, WG still has the personnel – and the capability – to put up all kinds of points.
For most teams, even those in the large-school ranks with lots of guys to choose from, replacing a quarterback like Naton would be a tall task.
However, senior Dan Ginestro is far from a neophyte. After all, it was Ginestro who led the last-second, game-winning drive in the memorable 40-39 win at Baldwinsville in 2011 and also played a key role in two other wins, over Utica Proctor and Henninger, when Naton was injured.
“He’s constantly working to become a better athlete, and every day he gets better,” said Corley.
Still, defenses won’t key in on Ginestro the way they will junior tailback Naesean Howard.
After running for more than 1,400 yards as a sophomore and scoring three touchdowns in the 57-35 win over CBA in the sectional final at the Carrier Dome, it’s no surprise that Howard is being courted by Syracuse University, among other college suitors.
What they will find, said Corley, is a kid who “works on everything” to improve himself, from lifting weights to speed drills. Howard might also get some relief from full-time running duties as senior Paul Potosky and junior Brandon Town are expected to see action.
WG should maintain an exciting passing attack, thanks to a pair of proven receivers. Senior Ted Glesener, who’s headed for West Point for lacrosse, returns, while Brett Colvin moves over from tight end to occupy the other main receiver spot, giving Ginestro another 6-foot-3 target.
Michael Schmidt backs them up, while Will Northrop takes over for Colvin at tight end.
Corley said that Glesener’s role as a team leader is priceless, and that he’s especially good at “constantly picking us up when times get tough.”
More leadership is expected from 240-pound center David Martin, the only returning starter on an offensive line that lost the services of Adam Wierbinski, Matt Nichols, Matt Terry and Joe Pedrotti to graduation.
Nick McMahon (200 pounds) and Matt Ferranti (210 pounds) take over the tackle spots, while junior E.J. Northrop (225 pounds) and sophomore Alex Tripodi (212 pounds) start at guard. It’s a not a big line, said Corley, but it can still be quite effective.
“I’ll take speed and size over strength any day,” he said.
Nick Calabrese, who checks in at 225 pounds, takes over at nose tackle in the Wildcats’ 3-4 defensive alignment, flanked by Martin and Ferrante at the end spots.
There’s experience in the linebacker corps, where Garrett Waldron (inside) and Matt Wierbinski (outside) both return, getting help from Town and junior Brandon Bertelli. Howard will see time at cornerback alongside senior Dexter Sparks and junior Naquan Hasbin, with junior Corey Dunlap at safety and another junior, Bailey Gauthier, in the ‘rover’ role.
WG plays its first four games in a 19-day stretch. After meeting Section VI power Clarence Sunday in the Kickoff Classic at the Dome, it returns home on Sept. 8 to meet Fayetteville-Manlius and then opens Class AA-2 division play against fast-improving Central Square (whom it beat in the first round of last year’s sectional playoffs) before a Sept. 20 sectional finals rematch with CBA.
Tough as it is, though, the Wildcats only have two true road games, at Central Square and Corcoran (on Sept. 28), and no extended trips. So if West Genesee is the target, as defending champions tend to be, opponents will, for the most part, have to come to Camillus to hunt them.