Monday, September 22, 2014

Uno En Uno With: Christian Donahoe, 'Pac Football

There's a certain level of hometown pride that resonates with Mahopac football.

While this year's squad features a plethora of multi-sport athletes, the Indians are cognizant football has been given a torch to carry proudly for the Mahopac community.

 The Indians have a rabid and tremendously loyal fanbase, THE MAHOPAC MANIACS, and a lofty set of aspirations every season.

The high-order commitment to the team concept is ubiquitous throughout fall. The communication and lingering results of the meshing experiment ultimately help dictate success.

 It's only right that you have an unbreakable bond with the guy out there throwing a block for you.

It's only necessary that you're tight-as-hell with the guy protecting your blind side. It would only make sense that you view the guy firing a fade at you in the corner of the end zone as surrogate family.

That's the nature of this knot-tight squad, which has surprised everyone but themselves with a 2-1 start and impressive upset bid. Mahopac staged a late rally against John Jay-East Fishkill, which nearly spit out an early 21-0 lead before holding on en route to a thrilling, poise-gauging 35-28 triumph.

 Storming back from the first half deficit, Dan Foley pumped new life into the Indians when he barreled into the end zone in the third quarter, allowing the unsung Indians to seize a 28-27 edge.

Max Littleton, a bruising fullback whose assumed some ownership of this team as a senior leader, broke a 22-yard touchdown prior to that, capping a 14-0 surge.

Even in the face of a defeat, even though a potentially Section-shocking upset of Jay whittled away into the wind, 'Pac emerged with a new understanding of their capabilities. Channeling their anger in a frenzied homecoming atmosphere, 'Pac coasted to a 44-13 mauling of Suffern. Despite going ahead 21-0 early on, they kept the pipes-busting pressure and high-octane running game alive during the second half.

There's a newfound swagger, traceable to the Jay game, evident in these Indians.  Mahopac learned what they were capable of during that loss, although the word's "moral victory" is never ever to be uttered in any locker room coach Donahoe's troops find themselves in.

The loss reinforced the fact that they're never to give up, no matter the deficit their staring down at and no matter what obstacles or adversity they have to hurdle. They were forced to play several games last season with a piecemeal roster, a stockpile of injuries relegating starters to the exasperating role of spectators. Even during those circumstances, 'Pac would never revert to hanging its head in sorrow or taking a play off. Not in this regime, which is equal parts labor and respect and tradition.

A significant percentage of this current roster was on the sidelines during the 2010 campaign, when Mahopac earned a berth in the Sectional semi-final game against New Rochelle and dynamic then-senior halfback/defensive back Jordan Lucas.

Lucas is now at Penn State. Mahopac's mammoth man-child Victor DiFusco is now at Fordham.

Yet the memories of this multi-layered team, built on sturdy and confrontational defense, reliable pounding game and aerial assault with T.J. Foley calling the signals, they linger in to 2014.

What far exceeded that team's talent was their innate distaste for losing and their knack for playing together. This team has experienced a similar bond, with the recurring theme of family defining them after laborious double and triple sessions this summer.

You'd be hard-pressed find any prognosticator and self-proclaimed guru comparing this current Mahopac team to that memorable, senior-laden 2010 squad.

 Those comparisons would essentially be gun-jumped warning shots, way too much way to soon. That would be unrealistic to these kids, who have a tough act to follow as it is.

Plenty of football remains to be played. Still, the upstart Indians' camaraderie and full display of mental savvy, stemming from the Jay game, are promising factors.

Like that '10 team, the '14 Indians have been a sublime force inside the trenches in three games. The O-line has routinely provided a significant push, helping pave open pathways and adhering to the "astound through the ground" philosophy.

We caught up with Mahopac's Christian Donahoe, canvassing the landscape of the upcoming schedule while getting the detail of the 44-13 drubbing of Suffern.

Donahoe On The Suffern Win

"It was just a great team effort. Everyone contributed and that's what we need. Even though we went up early, 21-0, we remembered that against John Jay we were down 21-0 (before staging a furious rally). We always know that whatever lead you have, it can disappear in the blink of an eye.

On The Early Start 

"We were obviously disappointed early on. You always want to come out and start the game on a high. Obviously, the disappointment was because we didn't score on that first opening drive."

"Nick (Mondello) got us jump-started (with an interception). Nick just came up with a really great play. Our D-line pressured (Suffern's) quarterback and Nick's almost always in the right place at the right time. He's just a great cover corner. That pick was a big momentum swing. Once we start to get going, our O-line obviously keeps playing great. Once you feel that momentum going, things just start to take off for us. That's been proven in Week 1 (in a 30-8 win over ) Fox Lane."

On Week 4's Matchup At Mamaroneck And Bullish Running Back Marquez Jackson-Allen 

"We've been keeping up with their stats and the media coverage of them (Mamaroneck). The teams we have played in three games are all good teams. We love a challenge and we love to play good, athletic teams. This should be a really fun week."

"Reflecting on that Jay game, that does give us confidence. It was a really tough one to swallow. But, at the end of the day, it does show us that we can play with some of the best teams in the Section. Hopefully, our O-line can keep doing what they've been doing against 'Mamo.'"

Friday, September 19, 2014

Munoz Earns Recognition, Huskers Fall In Thriller

As a coach, there are countless buttons you must press to extract a certain response.

 There are buttons to press to instill confidence.

Buttons to press to hike up motivation.

Buttons to press to snap one out of an individual free-fall or funk.


Working in Katy Sherwood's favor is the fact that these buttons are virtually nonexistent with junior hitter Catalina Munoz.

Consistent and cerebral, Munoz possesses the innate coach-ability and multi-layered versatility to assimilate to any role asked of her. Buttons and motivational tactics are ultimately unnecessary.

Oozing with the intensity that Yorktown's core is defined by, driven by a sheer passion for volleyball that mirrors Yorktown's fervent fan following, Munoz has emerged into a steady source of upfront strength for the Huskers.

She bagged tournament MVP honors during Yorktown's own tournament Saturday. After erupting for 17 kills in the team's initial win over John Jay last week, Munoz earned LOHUD Player of the Week.

There is no championship hangover. Returning veterans Sarah Seger (seven kills), Taryn Horgan (six kills) Kelly Donnellan (five service aces, 14 assists, five digs) keyed a 25-11, 25-8, 25-11 victory over Fox Lane.

Yesterday, the Huskers came roaring back from several deficits before falling in a topsy-turvy marathon match.

 Defeated on a controversial call against a familiar and formidable foe, the Huskers absorbed the first loss of the season.

The Huskers were backboned by a star-spangled senior class featuring All-Section selections Kristin Sweeney, Daniele Delulio, Michelle Ruffino, and Angelea McPartlin in 2013.

Dispelling the notion that they lost considerable luster from 2014 graduation, the Huskers have come out the gate with balance and sustained relentlessness.

"Catalina is just an all-around great player," said Sherwood.

"She's consistent. I can rely on her. When I know she's serving, I trust her decisions. She's a smart player."

DOWN TO THE WIRE: In a game rife with lead changes and a playoff environment, John Jay gutted out a wild 16-25, 25-23, 24-26, 30-28 win on the aforementioned controversial end call on Thursday.

The Huskers clawed back from a seven-point deficit, but ultimately lost to a finely-tuned John Jay team hell-bent on avenging last week's loss.

"I think we needed this," Sherwood said. "Sometimes you win and sometimes you learn. So we're going to take this and hopefully learn from it and keep moving."

The final call was an accurate depiction of a give or take call. Some believe the ball skimmed the pole, though the video could open up multiple interpretations.

Both crowds have a propensity for bringing the ruckus, as last year's Sectional final would indicate.

You could feel both teams' pulse as well as the suspense flowing from the crowd throughout.

The Indians used last week's loss as major device for refining crucial aspects of After buckling under Yorktown's blocking game, Jay made sure their hands were in the right place and their eye work was on point.

A thorough read of the video helped rectify mistakes.

"This team, they didn't want to lose to Yorktown again," said Indians coach Tim Rizzoti.

"We really used the video in practice. They were going to make the changes they needed to make. They were going to focus on the things they needed to focus on, because they just didn't want (a loss) to happen again."

Rizzoti called last week's loss a "reality check" and cited tentative lapses as primary deficiencies.

On Thursday, the Indians answered a hostile crowd that took no mercy on Rizzoti throughout.

" When we were aggressive, good things happened," he said.

"It has been tremendous fun playing this team the past few years. The crowds on both teams are really positive, really energetic. This wasn't quite sectional finals last year, that was incredible. But you could feel the energy in the gym today."

Taylor McCarthy was the engine that propelled the Indians. McCarthy gave an efficient account of herself, racking up 10 kills, 17 assists and 20 digs. Amanda Flayhan had 10 kills, 36 assists, and a game-best 27 digs. Julia Mines added 20 kills.

Donellan paced Yorktown with 38 assists. Horgan had four blocks and Munoz chimed in a pair of aces.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Bedford, Brooklyn Teams Tune Up With Scrimmage Wars

For the Bedford Academy boys basketball team, the recurring them of unity has not fallen on blind eyes this fall.

Though the squad is two months from the regular season, Bedford's fluid ball movement and a motivational brand of all-inclusive, Ziplock-tight defense has them looking in mid-season form.

Not exactly an advocate of AAU, head coach Rob Phelps has planted the seeds for a 12-month program to grow and prosper in the 'A' division.

And though they'll never be confused with the true Division-I launchpads of New York, Bedford traditionally comes out with a flair for hazardous pressure, canvassing all 94 feet of hardwood. That's what renders them a perennial contender.

"We still have a lot of work to do, but we look very together thus far," said Phelps, who helps orchestrate Scrimmage Wars, one of Brooklyn's primary basketball barometers of the fall.

"We want to make sure that we're very much on the same page. We're getting to know each other's timing and where guys like to get the ball. We implemented the idea for Scrimmage Wars because we wanted our guys to get more work. We wanted the area's top teams to come out. It's well organized and everyone is saying the competition is good. It's turned out to be a great idea."

This basketball environment is rife with the teaching aspects, with extra attention on detail. Coaches and assistants work hand-in-hand with players, occasionally halting the action for a demonstration or to illustrate vital points. The teams play every hour, with 20-minute halves and an open clock.

"The whole objective is just to get better," Phelps said.

Will Bedford be better in the 2014-15 campaign?

Such an answer will envelope Anthony Munson, one the league's elite on-the-ball defenders.

With hyper-aggressive defense the innate calling card for Bedford, it's only fitting that the program's poster boy is a ball-hawk. Constantly swiping at an unprotected Spalding and creating his shot off the bounce, Munson will now assume some ownership of the program.

 Bedford won't jack the score up to the 90s. The likely won't bury you with a 3-point hailstorm. They won't float up alley-oops at an Isaiah Whitehead-to-Desi Rodriguez rate. They will, however, fracture ball movement and render it an uncharacteristically ugly game for foes.

"The great thing about Anthony is that he's handling the ball more, he's concentrating on distributing and developing a consistent jump shot," said Phelps of Munson, the team's most acclaimed returning starter. .

"I'd be doing him a disservice if I don't get the ball in his hands."

Bedford will feature a knockdown shooter in Ian Roach. Tuning his game up and becoming more active in hunting for his shot, Roach enters the season as a catch-and-stick weapon.

Sequestered in the gym with his team all summer, Roach has become more adept at his shot creation.

 More polished with his handle, Roach has evolved into a dependable 1-2 dribble-and-pop threat. Phelps has also implored Roach to attack to the rim more, assuring he's not leaning too heavily on his shot.

"He'll be groomed as a specialist at the next level," said Phelps of Roach.

 "His identity is that of a shooter, but he's added on in all facets. He spent the summer working on his strength, conditioning, and rebounding."

Augmenting the back court is a pair of guards in Anthony Gibbs and Romello Ford.

Gibbs, who has added bulk onto a spindly frame while shedding the tag of diminutive, is flushed into a leadership role. He'll be operating offense, creating for Munson and feeding Roach on kickouts.

Ford, another fundamentally sound guard, will be another source to engineer the run-and-gun attack and lock up at all times.

Phelps has a supplementary scoring piece in Trevis Wigfall, a 6-foot-2 senior with length and the potential to become a sturdy on-the-ball locksmith.

Though minutes were inconsistent for Wigfall last season, his shooting and ability to finish through traffic has prepared him for a scorer's role. The trio of Gibbs, Munson and Wigfall have played together since they were eight-year-olds grasping the niceties of the game with the Staten Island Ironmen.

CHANGE OF LAW: Few teams in the season absorbed as rough an off-season blow as Brooklyn Law & Tech.

The Jets lost arguably the New York's most perilous buckets-in-clusters scoring threats at the Class A tier in 6-foot-3 guard Matt Scott. Scott is now at Niagara, leaving behind a legacy which witnessed him vault Law and Tech into relevance following years of obscurity.

Then, as the head coaching vacancy surfaced at Lincoln, the perennial Division-I launchpad that's churned out the likes of Whitehead, Sebastian Telfair, and Stephon Marbury, NYC mainstay Kenny Pretlow took the Shore Parkway up to Coney Island. Pretlow replaces close friend Dwayne "Tiny" Morton, under whom he served as an assistant the past few years.

Scott stuffed the stat sheet to the tune of 28 points, 11 rebounds, and six dimes in 2013-2014. His game exploded during the season's stretch run.

 Three-point marksman Juan Ramos, also claimed by 2014 graduation, caught flames during a late-season shooting spree.

Scott emerged into a marked man extracting a double and triple teams while ascending the upper crust of the city's top scorers.

Dispelling the notion that Law and Tech feasts on the dregs of meager competition, Scott proved his worth with a 30-point game against Christ The King and a 22-point game against Lincoln and the aforementioned Whitehead-Rodriguez tandem.

While no individual player will replace the stats of Scott or the stroke of Ramos, both losses that must be filled by committee, Law & Tech features one of the city's most unheralded little guards in sophomore Mikko Johnson.

After seeing meaningful burn as a freshman, Johnson's shooting and play-making defies any concerns regarding his 5-foot-6 height.

Johnson dropped 14 points and doled out six assists during a recent 64-39 trouncing of Newtown at The Beacon.

While the Jets are without a single senior, Johnson has help with plenty-tough freshman Larry Moreno.

 A lefty with a knack for going to the rack amid bigger bodies, expect immediate contributions from the 5-foot-7 Moreno.

Law and Tech also returns a cerebral 6-foot-4 junior in Zephrinus "Z" Hippolyte, who scored 14 points to go with 10 boards in the Newtown drubbing.

Conventional wisdom tells us that head coach Michael Levy will run the program in similar format as Pretlow,  as full throttle a sideline coach as there is in NYC. .

"I'm excited for the challenge," Levy said.

"People are doubting both myself and the program. I'm determined to prove them wrong. I couldn't have asked for a better mentor. To be around the best coach in the city is truly a blessing."

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Santavicca Shines In Huskers' Upset Of Somers

Twenty minutes before dosing off to sleep, a necessity before arguably the most pivotal game of his young varsity career, Nick Santavicca fielded a well-wishing phone call.

It wasn't a Yorktown affiliate or an ardent program supporter.

Nothing of the sort.

The night before Yorktown's titanic border town rivalry game against Somers, Santavicca's late encouragement came from former Somers alpha dog Matt Deiana.

Deiana culminated an illustrious five-year career at Somers with a roster spot in the prestigious Emfinger All-American Bowl in January 2010.

He also trained Santavicca throughout this summer, refining everything from ball skills to running style to the art of trucking through traffic.

Though you can bet your bottom buck Deiana was counting on a Somers win, he still hoped for an offensive outburst from the Huskers' go-to junior back.

"Matt just told me to go out there and crush it," Santavicca said.

"He said, 'I hope you have the game you've been waiting for. I hope you rush for 200 yards.' I just said 'I will Matt, I will. I got you."

Built strikingly similar to running back/defensive end Deiana at 5-foot-8 and 175 pounds, Santavicca bulldozed Somers for 155 yards on 18 carries, piloting Yorktown to a 21-7 resume win.

 Ducking his shoulder, mashing through gang tackles and keeping his cleats moving forward amid contact, Santavicca played possessed.

"They are a great team and extremely well-coached," Santavicca said of the perennially potent and reigning champion Tuskers.

 "For us to come out and hit them in the face and prove ourselves, it's an awesome feeling."

Football euphoria emerged when Santavicca got loose for a 5-yard TD scamper with 2:31 remaining. That drive propelled the revved-up CROP fan base into eardrum-shattering crescendo.

This was for bragging rights. This was before a jam-packed crowd, perhaps the largest witnessed at Murphy Field since the marquee and memorable Yorktown/Ossining game of 1990.

All week, Yorktown talked about being the unsung and under appreciated.

Equated with nary a shred of similar Section-wide recognition, the Huskers were eager to deliver a message.

"It's a statement win," said quarterback Ryan Baker, who orchestrated the Huskers' ground assault with 44 yards.

"This is what we expected. We expected to come out here and win. Everyone believed. It's only week II. We're not satisfied. We can't be satisfied. We won't be satisfied until we win the Sectional title."

Baker bolstered the momentum when he evaded tacklers and scooted in for a touchdown with 7:54 remaining in the second quarter, providing the Huskers with a 14-7 edge.

Setting the table for Baker was Santavicca, who broke an electric 59-yard run.

Timmy Forbes, who catalyzed the Huskers on both sides of the ball during Week I's thorough thrashing of Eastchester, rolled up 67 yards on 13 carries.

Somers was not without a fair share of opportunities.

Blurring free safety Chris Abetacola emerged with an interception. Sean Wagner came up with a fumble recovery. Somers' stout defense sullied Yorktown's offensive rythm early, but faltered during the second half.

Following Baker's second touchdown, the Tuskers were never able to slice the deficit.

A 55-yard field goal sailed short. Yorktown stymied the Tuskers' drive when Dom Cioffi deflected a Lombardo pass on fourth down in the third quarter.

Somers fed every down mountain-man in Tim Fazzinga, who rambled for 65 yards on 14 touches. The Tuskers were ultimately derailed by imbalance and stagnancy, leaning too heavily on the senior fullback/linebacker.

Yorktown's offensive line kept Somers' at bay in the trenches.

Logan Peters, Steven Veteri, Joe Blume, Joey Costella and Richie Campanaro each paved open pathways, allowing Santavicca's blend of shiftiness, power, and agility to erupt. Out-dueling the Tuskers by a 298-128 count, Yorktown won the battle on the carpet handily.

"We spread the ball out so that it opened up the middle," said linebacker Mike Dedvukaj.

"When you do that, you just leave it to the linemen to do their job. All five of them did very well tonight, I couldn't be more proud of them."

A 28-yard touchdown strike from Nick Lombardo to Casey Lox knotted matters at 7-all. Prior to that, Baker capped an effective opening drive with a 17-yard touchdown scamper.

Junior Scott Weaver came up with a dazzling one-handed interception while spiraling to the turf, pumping adrenaline into an already vivacious CROP crowd.

"You can't put this into words, you really can't," Weaver said.

"House (head coach Mike Rescigno) always talks about "family," about staying together and playing for each other. I think we're the closest, most tight-knit team in the Section."

Santavicca had his own family matters heading into the game. Somers iconic head coach Tony DeMatteo, who coached Santavicca's father and Huskers assistant coach Roger Santavicca at Roosevelt in the 1970s, has been a major influence on his career.

Santavicca's uncle, Ron Santavicca, also played for DeMatteo at Roosevelt.

DeMatteo lifted the Yonkers-based school into national prominence during the 1990s. To Nick Santavicca he is still "Uncle Tony." Santavicca regards DeMatteo as surrogate family without flinching.

Annually, the Somers matchup contains some extra juice for the bullish little back.

"Nick is just a freak of nature," said Baker. "He wanted to win. He willed us to win."

All day, word hung around town about the coaching duel between Rescigno and DeMatteo. It was an accurate depiction of the latest v.s. the Greatest.

Yorktown is cognizant that this is still just Week II. The commissioner won't be dealing out any trophies tonight. The rankings systems and prognosticators take on where they fall in the Class A landscape is irrelevant.

 There's plenty of football to be played. They know, as sure as Santavicca knows he'll be hearing from Deiana throughout the season, plenty of work lies ahead.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Bedford, PSAL Schools To Compete In 'Scrimmage Wars'

Bedford Academy is an academic school which happens to carry a torch proudly for its basketball team.

Report Card Day is as pivotal as tournament championships. It's as anticipated as marquee matchups against cross-city rivals.

You won't be launching a jumper or dicing anyone off the dribble or raining a 3-pointer if you don't sustain at least an 80 average. Anything less is considered sub-par.

It doesn't matter if a Division-I prospect walks into the door, dripping with the potential to drop 25 and tear down 11 boards every night. It will never work unless that GPA is hiked up.

Crack a 78 or a 79 grade point average, you won't even smell the court or find a roster spot. The respect must be earned through high-character actions, accountability on and off the floor.

That's been the objective since the inception of the program. It's a special brand of STUDENT-athlete Bedford tends to breed, with Ivy and Patriot schools often on the prowl.

 That's the identity of this program. They understand they aren't in the same arena or league as the city's upper-tier squads.

Bedford will never float into the same rarified air as perennial breeding grounds such as Lincoln, Bishop Loughlin, Christ The King.

 Yet as recent history would indicate, Bedford always winds up with a berth in the PSAL 'A' title game. The team concept is burned inside their brains, with open gyms and skill development camps alive and well throughout the summer.

Under Rob Phelps, the 6-foot-5 guard who shattered many a scoring records at Nazareth during NYC's unrivaled early 90s golden ages, a 12-month program has been installed.

While a roster spot on the Michael Finley and Shawn Bradley-led Mavericks of the mid-1990s didn't pan out, Phelps refused to let the ball deflate on him.

Following a career at Providence, Phelps would prolong his career and lifetime status as a 3-point marksmen over the waters.

Now, he's helped created a team-over-everything style atmosphere that emphasizes staying together over the summer. AAU isn't exactly encouraged.

Applying fierce, blanketing defense that folds up the passing lanes and renders it an ugly game for the opponent is.

Hitting the boards, boxing out and scrapping for 50-50 balls is about as instrumental as breathing.

 Of course, Bedford Academy's glasswork mirrors their classwork.

While his shooting hand helped lead Providence to a berth in the 1994 NCAA tournament, where the Friars suffered a tight 76-70 loss to Alabama, Phelps is now Bedford's dean.

Outspoken about how much he detests AAU, Phelps cites selfishness and the lack of structure of the circuit as his primary beefs. He implores his players to stay together. He speaks fervently about near-exploitation in AAU, which he fears is becoming more of a business with less purified basketball. He often tells his team that the best way to get noticed is during the season.

The pre-season runs will take place each weekend, a prelude to the season. Bedford will encounter familiar foes, including top local blood rival Brooklyn Law & Tech.

 Team camps, weight room workouts, and events of this type have helped Phelps defy the AAU scene. Ultimately, the goal is to get better and familiarize everyone. The environment won't be cutthroat, albeit the competitive juices will certainly be renewed.

Now, he'll open Bedford's gym doors to a once-a-week slate of scrimmages.

September 13

 12pm Bedford Academy vs Queens HS of Teaching
 1pm  Boys & Girls vs Evander
 2pm Benjamin Banneker vs Summit HS
 3pm Robeson vs BK Law&Tech

September 20

12pm Bedford Academy vs Boys & Girls
 1pm  Metro BDA vs Queens HS of Teaching
 2pm Robeson vs Summit HS
 3pm Banneker vs BK Law & Tech

September 27

12pm Bedford Academy vs Metro BDA
 1pm Queens HS of Teaching vs Robeson
 2pm  Summit vs Law&Tech
 3pm  Banneker vs Metro BDA

Boardy Barn's Lorenzo Expands Legend To BTUSA

Infiltrating the mindset of the imitable JIMMY SOUL's may take a little time.

Once it's done, however, you comprehend the unrefined swagger that defines Lorenzo's sand-soaked life. You gain an idea of the mental fortitude and fearlessness, which Lorenzo executes with nary a morsel of limitation and a megawatt smile at the day's conclusion.

JIMMY SOUL can chop it up with anyone, he's bound to make his name known on all territories in all walks of life.

He can share a table with the millionaire from Chappaqua just as easily as he can arrange a short-term deal with fabled Harlem gangsters such as NICKY BARNES or Guy Fisher. He's multi-layered as far as assimilating to people and places, a rare art so many in business now lack.

Through Lorenzo's unique and consistent gift of gab, an uncanny willingness to shed his own ego and assimilate he's gone from the Deejay booth to the annual Long Beach BTUSA tourney to various scenic beaches all across the planet.

Lorenzo's years in event planning, blended in with a Long Island-bred affinity for sand sports, brought him to Beach Tennis. The volleyball/tennis hybrid continues to grow, with an international following.

The innate draw of Lorenzo is he's never out of his comfort zone, never one to masquerade his true feelings and his intent on spreading the rhythm.

He's been spinning for significant percentage of his time on this planet, turning professional at age 17. By 23, he had become the unrivaled poster boy of the Boardy Barn. Thumbing through stockpiles of classic records, prior to the day of mix tapes and IPods, Lorenzo helped franchise the Hamptons party pad.

Lorenzo first discovered the Boardy Barn during a summer vacation with several childhood pals. He was dream chasing and looking for a journey that would escape the norm. He and the clique all copped mattresses and bed springs and rented out vacant rooms above a used hardware store.

Entering his senior year of high school, Lorenzo took a sojourn into the popping pad that would make his career.

Happy Hours and legendary nights at Boardy paved the path for his life as a party planning aficionado. An Italian Van Wilder, with an affinity for diversified genres of music and innovative methods of luring in scalding young females, Lorenzo expanded his business as the myriad requests for his services began piling up.

When Lorenzo was a teenager, he sold italian ices all summer just to gain enough money to purchase some of his favorite records. Keeping his collection intact over a 20-year span, he now has a library-load of all-time classics jam-packed inside the basement of DJ Productions.

There was no ceiling, zero mental blocks on the potential Boardy once oozed of. This was before some of the current day trash permeated the door and altered the landscape a degree or two.

Picture the giddiness of a little kid, when the idea of constructing a giant tree-house permeates his brain. That's the level of sheer excitement that coursed through his veins when his grand plans of building up the Boardy Barn surfaced.

Of course, it hasn't all been peaches and cream.

Plenty have warred with Lorenzo. 

Plenty have barked at him. 

Plenty have demanded he adjust his hard-hitting yet fun-loving style, his method of appeasing droves and droves since his early Boardy days.  

Yet you can't change the spots on a zebra without effective reasoning. You can't pinpoint too many flaws on a product that ultimately works.

A coach on a winning program can always be chastised and berated, his every move thoroughly analyzed and dissected and spit right back at him. Yet if the end result amounts to wins, with more supporters than haters and there is a happy balance.

The Soul man's luster is still vibrant His appeal to Beach Tennis' foreigners, who travel myriad miles to compete at all levels intact.

Lorenzo is a straight-laced cat, lacking the bullshit and extravagant over-the-top promises of a manipulative used car salesman. 

The phoniness that comes to define so many in the business world is invisible. 

There is no jekyll and Hyde with Soul. Considering he works at his house at the same maniacal rate he does his workaday job, it's fair to say he's always giving orders. That's his style, dating back for 25 years now. He's always embodying a vocal point guard, providing alignment for his team and making sure his bigs box out as effectively as his shooters spot up and get open and fall back on defense. 

There is no deceit in Soul's actions, whether you are a doubter or a believer.

There is no smile faked or preferential treatment to any.

Sure, a mood swing here and there will emerge during tense moments. The cut-throat, crush-or-be crushed mentality parallels his work ethic. 

He is destined to get the job done, even if a few mishaps here and there trigger group laughter. There's a workmanlike spin and even a few sprinkles of bluster and bravado in there, a competitive edge and that simple desire to one-up the competition.

 He may harken back on one of his childhood football games on the Island, when he blurred through tacklers and maneuvered his 5-foot-7 frame out of trouble. He still gets goosebumps recalling those childhood days as a beach boy, the world comfortably at his fingertips.

Thickskin is required in Lorenzo's line of work, knowing that appeasing everyone simply is not realistic.

Lorenzo describes himself as a man of beaming confidence, yet his realism allows his commentary to toe the line without hearing backlash.
Sometimes it has to be said, Lorenzo has no issue spilling out his real thoughts, without catering to you or force-feeding you the words you simply want to hear. 
The likelihood is "UNCLE JIMMY" will always have more advocates than adversaries, more scalding young females who love to plant a kiss on him upon first acquaintance.
It will always be known that his career was sparked at the Boardy Barn, during easier and care-free times.

Next Stop, Boardy Barn Hall of Fame.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Defensive Grit Lifts Huskers in Thrashing

Yorktown's Andrew Wasila located an open slab of pigskin and seized full advantage.

He emerged with a vital strip of Eastchester's quarterback.

Wasila and Dan Delbene then applied a massive double block.

Logan Peters picked up the loose ball, darting 40 yards back to the house as Yorktown gained a full jolt of momentum and a 13-0 second quarter lead.

On the ensuing possession,  senior Timmy Forbes converted the second consecutive rip-and-run into a wild 61-yard touchdown scamper.

In that quick fashion, Yorktown's stout defense sparked a wire-to-wire 33-6 drubbing of the undermanned Eagles at Eastchester Friday night.

"Wasila beat me on a race to the quarterback and got a good clean strip," Peters said.

"Then he made a huge block on that same play. I kept running. Everything clicked. We got a good push off the line. Justin Vega, he's there on every tackle. Our fullbacks, they love to go in and crush people. It never works if we're not working together."

Prior to the season, Yorktown head coach Mike Rescigno emphasized inflicting early damage.

Yorktown's mindset is to club the opponent in the mouth from the jump, keeping the lead intact.

On Friday night, Rescigno's words proved prophetic.

"That was a huge statement play, it gave us an edge and we just didn't look back," said tight end/defensive end Delbene, referring to Wasila's strip and Peters' touchdown jaunt.

"I'd say that our focus during the week really helped us react to (Eastchester's) style of offense and adapt to it quickly.

Eastchester, which suspended multiple starters for an undisclosed violation of team rules. It occurred at the 11th hour, forcing the Eagles to adjust on the fly.

Junior quarterback Jacob Risi inherited the starting job. He immediately developed a rapport with wide receiver Andrew Schultz and junior Wayne Hoffman.

 And while the neophyte lefty displayed flashes, connecting on well-aired balls and featuring the 6-foot-5 Schultz, Eastchester struggled mightily to finish.

The Huskers' veteran-laden line, featuring a troika of Richie Campanaro, Justin Vega, and Peters, helped enable Yorktown's trademark running game. Nick Santavicca, back from an injury-depleted 2013, scampered for 73 yards on nine touches.

Forbes, who played second fiddle to between-the-tackles fullback Connor Vercruysse last season, was exceptional.

He rolled up 83 yards, inflicting turbulence on both sides of the ball. Forbes converted the takeaway into a touchdown, Yorktown's second straight defensive score in a six-minute span.

Those back-to-back game-altering sequences allowed the Huskers to seize a commanding 20-0 lead before halftime.

"(Coach Mike Rescigno) always says, 'scoop it and run, that's what linebackers are for,'" Forbes said.

Eastchester finally quelled the drought when Peter Dellilis got loose for a touchdown scamper with 3:10 remaining in the fourth quarter.

Santavicca pumped Yorktown's lead to 33-0 when he broke off a 10-yard run up the middle, jolting into the end zone untouched.

While the Huskers took an off-season hit with the graduation of All-Section halfback Eric Meyreles (now at Wesleyan) and a blurring backfield featuring Nicky Bonitatibus and Kris Alvarado, the Huskers' stout defense and smooth running game was promising.

What does Yorktown attribute the season-opening bang to?

"Family over everything," said Peters, replenishing the mindset that Rescigno has ingrained in them without the over-killed cliches.

"We stay together. We prepared for Eastchester all summer. We wanted to come out and make a statement to the Section and show them we're for real."

Peters will be receiving his Yorktown lacrosse state championship ring in October.

Before he can savor the glistening hardware, his Huskers are slated for a barometer against reigning Section 1 champion and staunch border town rival Somers.

The 1-0 Tuskers sledgehammered Tappan Zee in a 34-7 mauling Friday night.

How much extra juice does Yorktown have for this familiar and formidable foe?

"It would be a statement win," said Yorktown's shifty and evasive quarterback Ryan Baker, who hit the ground for 62 yards Friday.

"We get no recognition and if we come to play on Friday, then maybe people will realize that Yorktown's legit and no doubt a contender for the title. Friday's a major opportunity that we won't let slip away."

Extra Yardage:

-Eastchester has a promising young gun in gargantuan sophomore Antonio Rogliano. The 6-foot-2, 235-pound sophomore defensive end showed flashes with an early sack. Keep tabs on the big fella throughout the season.

-Enforcing a mash-happy brand, Yorktown has a deceptive hard-hitter in 5-foot-10, 160-pound Shivam Gupta. Gupta looked as if he was channeling unbridled inner rage, laying down ferocious hits. Yorktown's defense was catalyzed by Wasila (four tackles, three sacks), Dom Cioffi and Peters.

-Eastchester's line is beefed up with Sergie Aponte (6-1, 250), Paul Michels (6-1, 225), Rogliano (6-2, 235), Chris Gorman (6-2, 275), Andrew Carpriglione (5-10, 270), and Delillis (5-9, 225). Fred DiCarlo's squad was short a few soldiers in Friday's home-opener, but the Eagles are certainly not deficient with size and depth.