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With Days To Go Before Regular Season, A Breakdown Of Several Teams

By Rich Thomaselli
HVSR Staff

And now, Part II.

On Tuesday we broke down several teams who participated in Saturday’s traditional scrimmage day.

Today, we break down several more with just 48 hours to go before the 2019 season kicks off.

The Spartans switched to eight-man football during the offseason. How long that lasts, given that its modified team is playing traditional 11-man football, remains to be seen. But, for now, Spackenkill is in the new league.

The Spartans went to Millbrook to face the Blazers, Dover, Pawling and Pine Plains. Head coach Clinton DeSouza said quarterback Jayden Bennermon, brother of former Spack star and current Boston College starter Kyiev Bennermon, “was very good. He led the charge offensively. I’m excited to see him in real live action.”

A Class B team as recently as two years ago, the Spartans might have an edge in strength in the eight-man league.

“I thought we were physically tough. We executed well. We just have to cut down on the mental errors,” DeSouza said.

The Indians went up to Hyde Park to scrimmage Roosevelt, Pougkeepsie, Beacon and Saugerties, and coach Bryan Hogan was definitely looking to answer some final depth chart questions.

Returning linemen Manny Kuilan, Jayden Lassiter and Chris Vanderlinde, along with linebacker/running back Matt Warner, won’t be among them. Their spots are secure.

“They have all been competing at a high level, which we’ve expected from them,” Hogan said. “Our offensive line executed well and our defense as a whole played with good effort and ran to the ball.  We were able to get a few turnovers and tackled well.”

Hogan said he was pleased to see the Indians play physical football.

“Now we have to continue to refine our execution on both sides, whether it be blocking assignments, ball security, and alignment and assignment on defense,” he said. “We want to keep getting better at what we do, eliminate the penalties and mental miscues so that we do not beat ourselves when the game comes.”

The first Scrimmage Saturday for new coach James Muraco, who took over for Brian Bellino, and his best news was that everybody came out of it healthy.

“I expected us to be physical, especially since it’s been 10 months since we’ve gone live against an opponent,” he said. “The kids responded well.”

FDR has been fortunate to add about a dozen brand new players and former players who came back to play after time away, and has installed a new defense this year. Despite the learning curve, Muraco liked what he saw on both sides of the ball.

“I anticipated a lot of mental mistakes on our part,” he said, “but that turned out better than I expected.”

Beacon was up at FDR as well, and coach Jim Phelan’s goal was simple.



And more reps.

“We wanted to get some of our younger guys varsity experience to get them acquainted with the speed of varsity football,” he said. “We were able to stay healthy and see some of our guys in game situations and conditions. Overall I thought we performed well in some areas that we have emphasized this offseason and throughout camp, such as creating turnovers, improving our football IQ and awareness.”

Phelan said sophomore quarterback Jason Komisar is making great strides.

The Middies traveled to Goshen to take on the hosts, Burke and Port Jervis.

“Our goal was to get a good look against quality competition and see how our players responded to a new look in front of them,” coach Tim Strenfel said.

He was especially pleased with quarterback Dalton Howell.

“He put the ball in small windows and threw a nice deep ball a few times,” Strenfel said. “It was nice to see our O and D line move the line of scrimmage in our favor. Our defense played well with some new players and a few guys stepped in without missing a beat.”

Coach Joe Franke took his team to Warwick, where Pine Bush and Clarkstown North were also in attendance. The goal was to play fast and compete against bigger schools, and nobody was faster than running back Kymanni Dennis.

“He looked fast and ran powerful,” Franke said. “He is looking to build on his 1,000-yard rushing season from last year.”

Senior Chris Bayer will have a lot more opportunities to throw as a second-year starter at the quarterback position, Franke said.

“Moving forward, we must continue to get athletes out in space, and communicate on the offensive line,” Franke said. “Defensively we must make tackles in space and use our speed to frustrate opposing offenses.”

Coach Damien Striharsky took his team to Goshen to meet the Gladiators, Middletown and Burke. He was looking to make sure players knew the plays, minimized mistakes, and to see who separated themselves as playmakers.

“There are a lot of guys on the team going above and beyond what is expected,” Striharsky said. “Some guys that I can think of off the top of my head is Trey Wilkerson, Ryan Costello, Elijah Shearn, Nico Rodriguez and Tommy Startup.”

Striharsky said the offense looked particularly good, moving the ball well on the ground and in the air.

“The defense did not show what they are capable of and they made mistakes because of communication,” the coach said. “I know they can do better and it will show this Saturday.”

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