Monday, August 31, 2009

Training camp report: Mechanicville

Mechanicville senior running back David Guynup catches a pass during a recent practice. He and some of his teammates participated in a two-hand touch AAU football league in the offseason, which they believe really improved the team's passing game. (Photos by Mike McMahon - The Record).

When I asked Guynup what he thought what the team's biggest strength was, he didn't waste any time with an answer: "Speed. SPEED!"

The Raiders don't quite have the size that they've had in the past, but they still have the toughness, so they are trying to adapt their gameplan to the personnel. That means Guynup will be racing around the corner a lot this year, looking for a seam up the sidelines.

"We have been going inside quite a bit, but we’re going to see if we can get them going inside and then bounce it out,"he said. "If that doesn’t work, we’re going to come at them like any other team. We’re going to keep coming."

"We have some guys coming up from JV," said senior tackle Sam Chase. "I’m the only returning starter, but I feel like we have good guys coming up."

The Raiders were a feast or famine team in 2008, playing in four shutouts. They won a pair late in the season and lost without scoring a point in the first two games of the year. With a new offensive approach, this Mechanicville team is looking to become more consistent.

"Last year was a little bit frustration because we could have been better," said senior quarterback Nick Gaetano. "We lost some close games. This year, we had a lot of kids in the weight room almost every day and we ran AAU football."

"We have to prove ourselves," head coach Kevin Collins said. "Until we line up and play a game, I really can’t tell you what we’re going to be. We have expectations."

The school is working on installing new bleachers - the Raiders played without seating in 2008 - and lights on the main game field. The project is scheduled to be complete by opening day on Sept. 11 against Granville.

"We haven’t had a night game in years and we’re going to have the stands we didn’t have last year," Guynup said. "And with the field being redone, it’s going to be nice."

Quarterback Nick Gaetano looks to hand off or tuck the ball and run during a recent practice behind the high school.
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That wraps up our 2009 training camp reports! Go pick up a copy of 'Kickoff 2009' on your newsstands today for full stories, schedules, rosters, pictures and much more on your favorite team!

Big thanks go out to our photography staff - Mike McMahon, Tom Killips and J.S. Carras - all of whom ran around like crazy for a few weeks trying to get to as many practices as we could to fill the Kickoff section with great shots.
Thanks to staff writers Andy Santillo and Ed Weaver for providing stories on the Albany schools, CBA and Shenendehowa. And of course, thanks to editors Kevin Moran and Tim Martin for helping to put the section together when all the writing was done and pictures had been processed.

I'll post some season predictions, preseason polls and game capsules for week 1 later tonight, so check back soon.

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