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 who has assumed some ownership of this team as a senior leader, broke a 22-yard touchdown prior to that, capping a 14-0 surge.

Though a potentially Section-shocking upset of Jay whittled away into the wind, 'Pac emerged with a new understanding of their capabilities.

Channeling their lingering 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.

Though the words "moral victory" are never ever to be uttered in any locker room coach Donahoe's troops find themselves in, that loss did plant a new seed of confidence. It's starting to take root, as Mahopac is convinced they can hang with those residing in Section 1's high-rent district.

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 must 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.'"