Thursday, August 19, 2010

Training camp report No. 5: Catholic Central High School

TROY -- The Catholic Central High School varsity football team hopes that speed kills, or at least wins football games.

Numbers are always an issue for a small school like CCHS, so the Crusaders are most likely trying to make the most of a lineup without much depth year-in and year-out. This season, the Crusaders have a surplus of quickness and they're hoping that translates to head coach Carm Audino's flexbone offense.

"We’re very good in the skill positions and we’re bigger at the line of scrimmage," Audino said prior to the team's first practice Monday afternoon. "Even though we’re younger, we have more size at the line of scrimmage. We’re going to miss Pat Janssen, Sam Clement and Brice McMahon, but the younger kids can really step up. They have the athletic ability. Whether they have the experience…that’s another thing."

Ryan Gratton keeps his eyes on the football during Catholic Central's Tuesday practice in Lansingburgh. (Photos by J.S. Carras - The Record).

The Crusaders did not qualify for the postseason in 2009 - in fact, the team has not played a playoff game since 1989 -but the players and coaches were pleased with what the team did, considering the circumstances.

CCHS picked up a pair of wins against Ichabod Crane and Cairo-Durham and played close in losses to Watervliet and Taconic Hills. The players feel that they have enough talent, experience and desire to turn a few of those close losses into wins in 2010.

"With the lack of experience, we really need to rely on our coaches and have a really good team bond," said senior two-way starter Anthony Marchese. "We need it. We’ll see what happens."

Junior quarterback Mike Sunkes drops back for a pass during Tuesday's practice at Catholic Central High School. A big-time baseball player for CCHS and the Lansingburgh Royals, Sunkes fully commits himself to football in the fall.

Mike Sunkes will be assuming the quarterback's role in 2010. He played a little bit as the backup a season ago and has earned a bit of experience at team camps this summer.

"We went to Union Camp a couple of weeks ago," Sunkes said. "It helped me out, the feel for the offense. I was the backup last year, so I got some reps last year, but now that you’re a starter, you have to feel more comfortable. It’s a big step up, but hopefully we’ll get the job done."

With a few open spots to fill, training camp will be an exciting three weeks for the Catholic Central team as it attempts to put its speedy plan into action.

“It’s always an open competition, but we know pretty much in our mind where we’re at with the kids,” Audino said. “The underclassmen have worked very, very hard in the offseason. They’re really prepared for varsity.”

Mike Sunkes (left) and Anthony Marchese (right) are going to be two of the key leaders on the 2010 Catholic Central High School team. Marchese is one of three seniors on the team. (Vidcap by Will Montgomery - The Record).

Catholic Central, 2009 game-by-game results
Watervliet, L 13-0
Voorheesville, L 34-18
Fonda-Fultonville, L 35-12
Ichabod Crane, W 33-0
TAMARAC, L 49-14*
*Crossover game
Home games in CAPS

Catholic Central, 2009 stats review
Rushing, Att, Yds., Avg., TDs
Pat Janssen, 92, 601, 6.5, 6
Passing, Comp., Att., Yds., Avg., TDs
Pat Janssen, 41, 105, 544, 13.3, 9
Receiving, No., Yds., Avg., TDs
Sam Clement, 16, 276, 17.3, 5
Scoring, TD, 2-pt, PAT, FG, Tot.
Brice McMahon, 7, 4, 0, 0, 50

Catholic Central High School, 2010 schedule
Friday Sept. 3, vs. Chatham, 7 p.m.
Friday Sept. 10, vs. Watervliet, 7 p.m.
Saturday Sept. 18, at Hoosic Valley, 1 p.m.
Friday Sept. 24, at Taconic Hills, 7 p.m.
Friday Oct. 1, vs. Fonda-Fultonvill, 7 p.m.
Friday Oct. 8 at Canajoharie, 7 p.m.
Friday Oct. 15, vs. Ichabod Crane, 7 p.m.

Catholic Central’s three keys to the season
1, Use speed and athleticism.
2, Play better defense.
3, More aggressive offensive line play.

Jacob Bishop snares a pass with his fingertips during Catholic Central's Tuesday' practice in Lansingburgh.

Keep checking back on the blog for a training camp report posted every day between now and opening day of the high school football season on Thursday, Sept. 2. The schools will be posted in no particular order, so please be patient if you don't see your school right away.

Also keep your eyes open for our 48-page preview section - Kickoff 2010 - which hits the newsstands inside The Record on Thursday, Sept. 2.

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