This season the AA division features a new format since it has grown to 12 teams. There will be 2 regional divisions, East & West consisting of 6 teams each. Teams will play all of the teams in their respective region and then cross-over for 2 more AA Regular Season Games. The top 4 from each region will then qualify for the AA Playoffs where the teams will be bracketed and cross over for playoff matchups (ie. 1 East v 4 West, 2 West v 3 East & 1 West v 4 East, 2 East v 3 West).
By Matt Diano:
Pat Deane (1st Season as Head Coach)
Record: 10-2/Lost in the “AA” Championship Game, 54-19, to Kellenberg Memorial
Not the official the slogan they will use this season, but when looking for a theme for this year’s Ram squad, the David Bowie song, “Changes” immediately came to our mind. As the lyric goes, “Ch-ch-changes, turn and face the strange.” And for Fordham Prep fans, it does not need to be said that when they look over at the sideline this season, it will be mighty peculiar to no longer see the likes of Matt Valecce (four-year starting QB/3x All-State selection), Will Loffredo (2x All-State WR), Liam McHale (5th Team All-State WR), Joseph Petti (2017 “AA” Lineman of the Year; 1st team All-State), or Head Coach, Pete Gorynski.
A team that featured many two and/or three-year starters on both sides of the ball, the validity of the situation is that Fordham Prep is a program that was built to go all the way last season. And by coming short of that goal in 2017, they now must endure a transitional period as they fall from hunted to hunter status.
Entering unchartered waters as they attempt to replace one of the statistically greatest high school football players the Empire State has ever seen, it is unreasonable and unfair to ask or expect that the successor at QB to sling the ball the way the current Boston College freshman [Valecce] did during his four years under center. 2nd All-time in career passing yards (10,027) and 3rd in touchdowns thrown (112), the living legend has left the stadium…Supplanting the departed icon will be the man who served as his back-up last season, Derek Bufano. Used sparingly during his junior season, when the 6’0, 165-pounder did get the opportunity to throw, he showcased accuracy…Possessing a shorter, more nimble body type, the Cortland Manor resident may bring a different component to the quarterback position this season as he should present more of a challenge to opposing defenses as a scrambling, dual-threat operator.
While Bufano is getting his proverbial feet wet and establishing a rapport with his wide outs, do not be surprised if early in the season, you see the offense concentrated on more of a ground attack. Not that there are many benefits to losing a player the caliber of Valecce, but one is that now there is likely more of a freedom to utilize a balanced game plan on offense…If/when this shift in philosophy does occur, a name that has emerged as a possibility to be the lead tailback is junior, Zach Wallace. Known last season for his work on the other side of the ball as a starting member of the secondary, Wallace is such a natural athlete that there is a confidence that if you get the ball into his hands, he will be able to make things happen. In his only carry as a sophomore, he would suffer a three-yard loss. But, despite humble beginnings, we truly foresee him developing into a major asset as a ball carrier….Another 11th grader, Michael Adair, is said to have made a positive impression on the new coaching staff and will also find himself in the mix for carries…Sophomore, Matthew McKillop, is a budding star, who may not get the bulk of touches this season, but will strive to make the most of every chance he gets.
Undeniably the most lethal pass catching trio in the state last year (and for my money, of all-time), the graduations of McHale (2nd in NYS with 73 receptions; 5th in receiving yards with 1,014), Loffredo (3rd in NYS with 69 catches; 8th with 944 receiving yards; 3rd with 14 TD grabs), and Thomas Walsh (20th with 43 catches; 9th in receiving yards with 914; 6th in TD snatches with 13) means that of the 226 completions, 3,333 yards, and 41 TDs generated by the Ram aerial fireworks, 185 completions, 2872 Yards, and 36 TD’s disappear…Thankfully for Coach Deane, wide receiver on East Fordham Road is like cornerback at Florida State in that the cupboard never runs empty…After waiting his turn to be “the man” out wide, senior, Jack Goodkin, will finally be afforded the chance to shine. Making 21 catches for 259 yards and three scores as a junior, the 5’11, 200-pounder is a lock to increase those number exponentially this season…Complementing Goodkin will be another appealing and proven target, fellow 12th grader, Devin Pettus (TE). In his junior season, the 6’4, 190-pounder caught 10 balls for 114 yards and two touchdowns…Keeping with the pattern of seniors who will light up the stat sheet this season, do not sleep on a guy like Matthew McCarthy. Despite only making one grab as an 11th grader, the coaching staff is high on him and are anticipating a very productive season…Junior, Owen Loffredo, will take the first steps in carving out a legacy of his own, as he enters 2018 equipped to add to the family name.
This year’s offensive line may not have a brutalizer like Petti (currently playing at the U.S. Naval Academy), but they do have senior leadership, as Andre Villarba (5’8, 230) and Brendan Kennedy (6’2, 230) return as starters off of a unit that did the dirty work and laid the tracks for 4,409 yards of total offense and 51 touchdowns.
Shifting gears to the defensive side of the field, the Fordham Prep is blessed to be returning a wealth of student-athletes who either started or at the very least, logged considerable turf time in 2017.
Directing the “D” will be two of the team’s leading tacklers from a season ago, George Gaspar, and Goodkin….Both dominant front seven players, Gaspar was the overall top stopper as a junior, making 80 tackles to go along with 1 sack…Goodkin, who was a thorn in the side of opposing quarterbacks, led the Rams in QB bags last season with four. The two-way stud also contributed 53 tackles in total…Junior, Liam O’Shea (20 stops), and seniors, William Woods (19 tackles) bring additional toughness and know-how to the DL/LB…Sophomore, Mike Rice, and seniors, Merrick Staff and Arthur Long, could materialize as the unsung heroes of the Frpnt 7.
The last line of defense will be patrolled by incumbent senior starters, James McGaughan (51 tackles; tied for a team-high 2 INTs) and Wallace (21 stops)…Two more 12th graders, Quinn English (13 tackles), Jack Andreana, will also be called upon to be ball hawks in the defensive backfield.
Nick Giannatasio (Beginning his 3rd as Head Coach)
Record: 2-7/Did not Qualify for the AA playoffs last season
A program that was forced to pay their dues a bit last season in their introduction to the Double-A scene, no matter their win/loss record from a year ago, we find it impossible to forget about the shear athleticism and talent that we saw out of a group of freshmen and sophomores two years ago when they cruised to the “A” Division crown….Now that these same studs are upperclassmen and have had a full year to make the necessary transition to the higher level of competition, we see no reason why 2018 cannot be a statement year for the Mavericks and their third-year Head Coach, Nick Giannatasio.
Returning beaucoup talent on both sides of the ball for a team that with the exception of one or two games was in every contest they played in 2017, there is absolutely justification in our claims that last year’s 2-7 can easily be transformed into 10-2 if things breaks the right way for MC.
Starting with “Mr. Reliable”, the consummate “never take a weekend off”, “watch what I do next” playmaker, junior Justin Lacks, you know that Moore Catholic is going to have one of the most potent ground attacks in the NYCHSFL this season….Invited to participate in the Army All-American Combine, which is an honor bestowed on the top-600 underclassmen in the country, the 6’0, 215-pound Adonis already has two 1,000+ yard seasons on his resume. A fab frosh when the team claimed their aforementioned “A” crown, Lacks would run for 1,058 yards and score 14 touchdowns in 2016. Last year, as a follow-up act, he embraced the role of work horse, taking 243 of the team’s 279 handoffs and gaining 1,251 yards, and adding 11 more TDs….A former 5th team All-State selection, Lacks has the undeniable ability to take over the game by himself….On the rare occasion that Lacks may need a breather, senior, Mausari Miller is more than capable of complementing the running game…Known more for his stellar play at LB, two years ago, Miller rushed for 347 yards and four touchdowns on just 66 carries (5.3 average). In 2017, his offensive numbers would decrease because of a lack of opportunity. However, he still averaged over three yards per carry when presented with the chance to take a handoff.
Aiding the MC ground attack will be an offensive line consisting of four MASSive returning starters. We chose to emphasis the “mass” because on size alone, opposing defenses may want to go to church and pray that this group does not surpass IHOP as the leading producers of pancakes in New York State….Commencing with three-year starting LT, Ted Kushi (6’6, 330 pounds), the OL also features Deonte Jackson (6’7, 340), Craig Sorrenti (5’11, 255), and center AJ Curran (260)…It is most certainly a means of intimidation when you consider that sophomore, Matt Heinemann, who was an outstanding two-way lineman on the Junior Varsity level last season, is the runt of the litter at “only” 250 pounds.
Providing further ammunition to what is clearly shaping up to an explosive offense will be another three-year starter, QB Vincenzo Scarola….A proficient pocket passer, in his first two seasons running the show for the Mavericks, the 6’1, 180-pounder has thrown for an average of 811.5 yards/year and has totaled 14 (7 in each season) TD hurls.
Scarola will enter his senior year without his favorite target, as the team’s leader in all receiving categories in 2016 and 2017, Zach Hampton, graduated last June….However, in addressing the WR position, Giannatasio appeared quite comfortable with the depth he had out wide….Senior, Nicholas Melo (5 grabs for 57 yards and 1 TD) is the most established of the unit, but you can expect to see significant production from junior, Cameron Holmes, who saw time last season on defense at LB, but will focus more on the offensive end as an 11th grader…..Anthony Perlongo had a solid sophomore year on the JV and looks ready to contribute from the opening whistle on varsity…..Freshman, Deshawn Lawton, has wasted little time in securing the favor of his head coach. The 5’8, 155-pound 9th grader has big things awaiting him in the future. The only question is whether the future is really the present.
The defense, led by the previously recognized All-League LB, [Masauri] Miller (team-leading 71 tackles; 2.5 sacks), will not be hurting for experienced, steady playmakers…..Other names that will remain on your tongues all season will be Artie Padilla (LB), Jafar Sannie (CB), and Nashaun Defy (DE)….Padilla (64 tackles, 2 sacks) finished 2nd to Miller in total stops made last year; Sannie, who enters his third season starting in the defensive backfield, was third on the team with 39 tackles….Defy (14 stops last season) will be the leader of the down linemen this season.
The remainder of this slightly undersized, but speedy “D” will be comprised of a few two-way players—Melo (Safety; 16 tackles in 2017) and Holmes (16 tackles, 1 sack, 1 fumble caused)–but for the most part will rely on young men looking to carve out a name for themselves….Sixx Johnson, who played most of last season on JV, but did earn a promotion at the end of the year, had five tackles in his short time on the varsity. He will be a cherished partner to Padilla at ILB….Kris Bryant (4 tackles a season ago), tips the scales at 270 pounds and will counted on to be a space-eater in the middle of the DL….Freshmen twins, Mustafa and Mozion Khayyam, will be afforded the privilege of starting right out of the gate at DE and safety….Junior, Stephen Gerwer, rounds out the secondary.
Mario Valentini (Beginning his 35th Season as Head Coach)
Record: 4-6/Lost in the “AA” Quarterfinals to St. Francis Prep, 32-14
A top-4 team during the regular season in 2017, when the Mountaineers step onto the field every weekend, the one thing you always know, is that you are about to be hit with some of the most explosive athleticism of anyone in NYS.
A program that averaged close to 300 (294.2) yards per game on the ground last season, if you are counting on them slowing down even an iota in 2018, THINK AGAIN!
Headlining the offense for yet another year will be the program’s star tailback, senior, Conrad Perry. As an 11th grader, Perry was one of the most potent backs in the league, regardless of division, averaging 118.8 yards per game (1,188 total) and scoring touchdowns….Of the 10 games played by MSM a season ago, Perry would exceed 100 yards in half of them, including a mind-blowing 253-yard effort during a regular season triumph over St. Francis Prep in October….While the passing game is not necessarily their forte, let it be gone that Perry’s three catches from a season ago, also makes him the team’s returning leader in the category. Hence, he certainly has the capacity to be utilized as a full-service back should the moment call for it….Tyrek Ogilvie, who has put up some mighty fast times as a sprinter on the Track & Field squad, could emerge as another speedy threat out of the backfield.
Complementing the star tailback will be a first-year starting QB in the person of Ason Rutledge. An individual who did not get the opportunity to play much under center while sitting behind Marquise Jimenez (707 rushing yards, 11 TDs). When identifying his team’s strengths, Coach Valentini expressed the utmost confidence in Rutledge. This leads us to believe that he sees those special qualities in him that he saw in his predecessor….Seeing action predominantly as a defensive back last season, if there was one area where we received a glimpse of what Rutledge is able to do when the ball is in his hands, it was a kick returner where he routinely posted 20+ yard efforts.
In addition to the two primary skill positions, the 35th year Head Coach [Valentini] also praised/spoke extremely well of the young men he is counting on to control both lines of scrimmage….Anchored by a senior foursome consisting of Antonio Corrado (OT) Anthony Sotomayo (OT), Tariq Azwin (OG), and Kerwin Gonzalez in the middle, what the unit lacks in size, they make up for with toughness and fight….240-pound Sophomore, Theo Fraser, could be used to provide a little bulk to the OL, but will mostly star on the other side of the ball as a DT.
Corrado (the leader among returning players with 51 tackles) will join fellow 12th grader, Dominick Morety (22 tackles, 2 sacks) at DE, while Fraser will clog the hole alongside Delano Muir, who recorded 15 tackles last season as a sophomore.
Senior, Corinthian Black, will embrace greater responsibility as he will provide the foundation of the linebacking corps for the Mountaineers. Rutledge (FS; 25 tackles in 2017) will team up with cornerback, Justin Manzanet (who will also see time as a WR on offense), and strong safety, Jamar Simmons (11 tackles in his junior season) in making life difficult on opposing quarterbacks.
Mike Corona (4th Season as Head Coach)
Record: 3-6/Lost in the “AA” Quarterfinals, 27-6, to Kellenberg Memorial
A program that has hovered around the .500 mark during Corona’s tenure, when talking about this year’s squad, the emphasis on the word “leadership” is one that caught our eye and made us believe that a breakthrough could be instore for the Vikings in 2018.
While the Staten Island based school did suffer some losses at the skill positions (their starting quarterback, their top-2 running backs; top-3 receiving options, and several key players on defense), there is an optimism on Hylan Blvd because of hard work and cross training in other sports (ex-wrestling) that the returning student-athletes committed to in the hopes of breaking through and putting the rest of the “AA” on notice….This is a team that if you rely on last year’s stat line may not blow you away on paper, but because of their coach’s confidence and their ability to get better as the year goes, you cannot help but feel encouraged by.
Citing the vast experience of the offensive line as a catalyst for success this season, the Vikings bring back All-League OT, Danny Doyle, who at 6’4, 265-pounds is going to present a challenge to any D-lineman that dare try to get the better of him…..James Colesanti and Peter Sitaras who will star at guard and center respectively this year were also among the standout players that Corona made a point of mentioning when identifying the players who he foresees having huge seniors….Dylan Bille and Anthony Cretella are among the role players from last year who are primed to become key components this season; and Paul Quick is expected to be the top newcomer and an immediate contributor at OG.
Following a year where he was utilized as a Tight End, Francesco Arlia, will be called upon in his senior season to take over the primary running duties… As a TE in 2017, he showcased some very nice hands, making 10 grabs for 150 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Therefore, it should come as no surprise if SJS decides to use him in a dual capacity….He would also get the occasional opportunity to demonstrate his prowess as a ball carrier, as he averaged 5.1 yards on his 10 rushing attempts…Senior, Patrick Perry, whose main responsibility this season will be to set the example in the defensive backfield, could spotlight a bit on offense as well. After all, next to Arlia, it is the 5’10, 165-pounder that possesses the most experience…..Rick Ferrigno Jr. who did not get a single handoff in 2017 is another name that Corona suggested could surface out of the backfield.
The battle for signal caller duties will be between a returning varsity back-up, David Maj, and one of fresh faces with the biggest upside, Jackson Tucker…Per an interview he conducted with SiLive.com, Corona expressed that whomever wins the job will be expected to display poise in his craft, “getting the ball to the right teammate at the proper moment.”
While the quarterback situation is getting worked out prior to the start of the season, one tidbit that has already been clearly ironed out is that the person who wins the QB1 job is going to have no shortage of talented and hungry receivers to feed….Junior TE, Nick Ruvolo, is SJS’s returning leader in balls caught last season, making 20 grabs for 292 yards and one touchdown….Ryan Simermeyer, who shares a last name with the team’s top receiver from a season ago [Chris; currently playing at Pace], will be in position where there is a lot of pressure to live up to the reputation of his family. In 2017, the younger Simermeyer caught three passes for 23 total yards. At 6-foot-4, “Sim” is going to be an ideal target in the red zone on jump balls….Also making three grabs last season was Ryan Nicholaou, who ended 2017 with 19 yards as a receiver…..Senior, Joe Gallo (2 catches for 13 yards) is the only other player on the current roster with a varsity catch credited last year…..Adding further depth to the receiving corps will be Aiden Ryan, impact newcomers, Vincent Vazquez, TE Kyle Gaor, and Greg Ciauri.
Turning our attention to defense, Corona called this year’s DL one of the strongest he has ever had since taking the wheel as skipper of the Vikings ship….300-pound DT, Mike Falco is the heart of the unit, complemented by Chris Matera and Michael Angelone…Rookie, Sean Ruane, had a good camp and will fight for reps from the get-go.
Sitting at the head of the table and setting the example for the linebackers will be the young men who rank 1st and 2nd on the team among returning players in tackles made a season ago….Both penciled in as Mike LBs, Frank Ambrosino (24 stops) and Mike Cottone (13 tackles, 1 sack) are guaranteed to far exceed last year’s level of production…..Look for Nick Gagliardi and Dom Buser to hold down the fort on the outside….Corey Tehe and Brett Sciascia add to the horsepower.
As noted above, Perry is the featured air traffic controller of the secondary, but will receive major support from Devin Barros, Giovanni Adekoya, Jesse Addesso, and Justin Alexander among others.
George Mahoney (1st Season as Head Coach)
Record: 2-8/Lost in the “AAA” Quarterfinals, 50-14, to Cardinal Hayes
2018 will witness the commencement of a new era in Eagles’ football as George Mahoney will transition from his role as the program’s Special Team’s Coordinator to that of Head Coach following the decision of Mark DeCristoforo to step down in January, citing a desire to have more family time.
The presence of a new sideline leader will be accompanied by a few additional changes as the Staten Island based unit will welcome a new offensive scheme, as well as attempt to make an immediate impact in their return to “AA” following several prosperous years (semifinalists in 2014 and 2015) as a triple-A school.
One individual who is expected to play a significant role in captaining STP’s title ambitions is senior quarterback, Sonny Badyna, who was one of the most prolific passers in the Empire State in 2017, throwing for 1,681 yards (19th best in NYS) on 115-for-202 (56.9&), including 13 touchdown throws….The 6’2, 180-pound resident of Brooklyn averaged over 210 yards passing per game last season, which ranked him in the top-15 among all New York State signal callers.
As talented as he is, there might be a bit of an adjustment period for Badyna under center as he will have to learn to establish a rapport with some new primary weapons following the departures of the team’s two leading receivers—-Chris Ledlum (40 catches, 684 yards, 6 touchdowns) and Frank DiMattina (30 balls caught, 478 yards, 4 scores)….Ledlum, who is as gifted on the hardwood as he is on the gridiron, elected to focus on his basketball career by transferring to Northfield Mount Hermon, while DiMattina graduated last year and is currently in his freshman season at Fairleigh Dickinson University.
Gone from last year is also the team’s leading rusher, Andre Hines Jr. Following a monster sophomore campaign that saw him rush for 561 yards and seven touchdowns on 114 carries (4.9 per carry average), Hines Jr. made the decision to transfer to perennial NYC powerhouse Erasmus Hall for his final two seasons of scholastic eligibility.
But, while it goes without saying that these are some serious absences, the good news is that Mahoney seems more than confident that he has found the student-athletes who are more than ready to step up and into those gigantic shoes….One such emerging stud is senior tailback, Justin Pisapia, who will not just be wearing #1 on his jersey, but who is also being counted on to be the number one option out of the backfield in the ground game….Getting just three carries during his junior year, Pisapia might be unproven, but that just means that it will be all the more thrilling when he enjoys a breakout swan song campaign….Fellow 12th grader, Scott Bruggeman, who was listed as a linebacker on last year’s roster and was not credited with a single touch on offense, could reap the benefits of a position change as he will make the conversion over to fullback.
Juniors—Vincenzo Quinzi, Liam Grapes, and Nick Della Pioli, will be among a handful of receivers who will look to be on the back end of Badyna’s potent hurls….Frank Cullen (12 catches for 134 yards) and Mike Hoffler (10 grabs, 121 yards, 1 TD) are expected to have their presence felt more on the defensive end (at OLB and DE respectively), but cannot be counted out on the offensive side of the ball after catching double digit passes last season….Sophomore TE, James Clark, was highlighted by his head coach as one of the young men promoted from last year’s junior varsity who could be contribute right away on offense.
Serving as an anchor to the team will be an offensive line that returns three starters—Pete Sluder, Anthony Casillo, and Anthony Gatti….Hailed as one of the strengths of the 2018 cohort, the Eagles averaged close to 320 yards of total offense behind these behemoths. Averaging approximately 272 pounds among themselves, this trio could be a wrecking crew in the trenches this season.
In addition to the previously referenced Cullen and Hoffler (18 tackles, 2 sacks in 2017), the stars of the Eagles’ 3-4 defense will be Nick Slofkiss and Sean Badon along the D-line, complemented by linebackers Joe Montalvo, Tom Bossert, and Matt Aprile….Derek Rosenow (DE) and Luke Jakubauskas (OLB) join Aprile as youngsters with the chops to make their first varsity season a memorable one.
Strong safety, Joe Ramos (23 tackles, 1 pick), will enter his junior year as the linchpin of the defensive secondary. Praised by Mahoney as “the enforcer” of the group, the 6’2, 180-pounder [Ramos] will team up with Anthony Moscatiello, James Langan, and John Martello in creating a no fly line….Senior, Eric Torres, will add depth to the defensive backfield.
Senior placekicker, Nick Guglielmo, who went a perfect 18-for-18 on PAT attempts and connected on his lone field goal attempt in 2017, will be a very reliable force in the special team’s aspect of the game.
Michael Jioia (6th Season as Head Coach)
Record: 8-3/Lost in the “A” Finals, 20-18, to Cardinal Spellman
A mere 25 seconds away from hoisting the “A” hardware for the second time in the past three years, surely not a day has gone by where the Clipper student-athletes have not replayed in their heads the sequence of events that saw their rivals, Cardinal Spellman, emerge with a 20-18 victory on Mitchel Field last November.
Perennial “A” Division finalist who have reached the title game in four of the past five seasons (2016 being the exception), the boys from Brooklyn head into the 2018 season looking to embrace a new challenge, as they will make the jump up to AA this season.
Stacked with returning talent on both sides of the ball, the 2017 “A” regular season champions are not going to have to look far at all to find an individual capable of impacting the game at any and every moment.
At the forefront of their potential offensive juggernaut will be dynamic backfield duo of tailback, Roberto Auguste (2017 NYCHSFL “A” Offensive Player of the Year recipient), and signal caller, James Resker….In last year’s preview, we hailed Auguste as the “single biggest offensive weapon in the A Division” and he lived up to that praise, rushing for 1,196 yards and 14 touchdowns on just 161 carries (7.4/carry average). On six separate occasions in 2017, Auguste equaled or surpassed the 100-yard marker in a game, highlighted by a 205-yard effort in a regular season victory over Spellman…Resker, who logged his second highest passing total of the season in the title game with 161 yards on 7-for-14 attempts, concluded his sophomore campaign with a stat line that read as follows: 61-for-110 (55.5%) for 1,006 yards and seven touchdowns hurls….Add in Poly Prep transfer, Shane Greene, and all of a sudden, you might be looking at an unbridled ground monster that could run away from the rest of the field in 2018.
Out wide, Jioia and company will have to overcome the absence of last year’s budding star, Isaah Amazon (11 catches for 284 yards, and three touchdowns) who hung up his cleats to focus instead on hoops, as well as the graduated Timothy McCabe, who topped all receiving categories a season ago with 22 grabs for 415 yards and five scores….However, despite these losses at WR, Xaverian still feels very optimistic about the potential of their passing game thanks in large part to the second half of the Resker twins, Thomas…Overshadowed last season by some of his older teammates, T. Resker would still have a very solid showing, as he was utilized effectively as both a runner (347 yards and 5 TDs on 44 carries) and a receiver (10 snatches for 90 yards, and one score)….Jason Perlstein, who was second to McCabe last year with 17 receptions (255 yards, 2 TDs) will join newcomer, Justin Wolfe, who brings his talents to the five boroughs who starting his career in the Garden State, in comprising one of the best 1-2 Tight End combos in all of the NYCHSFL.
Doing the grunt work will be several experienced two-way linemen who have already shown countless times throughout their careers a propensity for doing damage on both ends of the line of scrimmage….When their team has the ball, Joe Leone (OT), Derin Hansen (OT), Christian Appel (OG), Brandon Ramrattan (OG), and sophomore pivot, Francis Ezeagbr were members of a unit that enabled the Clippers to average over 177 yards per game and score 24 touchdowns on the ground…..
Believing in the old school Ironman philosophy, almost all of the names cited for their offensive prowess, also are going to likely be showstoppers on the defensive side of the ball as well….Mike linebacker, Ramrattan, would finish second in total tackles last season with 60, while Perlstein would be right on his heels, taking the bronze with 58 stops and a pair of interceptions while patrolling the defensive backfield….Auguste (who was a 4th Team All-State selection at DB) and his 54 tackles and two picks at safety also proved himself to be a jack-of-all trades….Hansen and Appel, who will serve as the starting DEs this season combined to record 99 (Hansen with 50) and three sacks (Appel with 2), while Leone, who will occupy the DT position, was credited with 29 stops and two forced fumbles as a junior last year.
One final name that Coach Jioia advised us to keep an eye on was Brian Langan….Seeing action last season mostly as a back-up QB, now that he has transitioned to the other side of the ball (as an outside linebacker), the Clipper coaching staff are predicting a breakout season.
Speaking of defensive intangibles, the Clippers are also honored and proud to welcome back coach Dan Leahy, who after two years at Wagner, has made his way back to Shore Road to serve as the Defensive Coordinator.