September 8, 2011 - FOOTBALL PREVIEW - HERALD COMMUNITY NEWSPAPERS
2011 HERALD High School Football Preview
Rams pack punch at skill positions
By STEVE SINISKI
s Clarke looks to build on last season's 4-4 finish and appearance in the Nassau Conference IV playoffs, there's some shuffling going on in the trenches. The Rams, seeded eighth in the conference for 2011, are rebuilding an offensive line that lost four starters, but have a strong core of returning skill position players and an influx of talent from a junior varsity team that finished 7-0-1 to help make the transition a smooth one. "That's really [the area] we concentrated the most on [the line]," head coach John Boyle said of the focus during camp. "We have a lot of skill position players returning." Senior Mike Martiello enters his third year as the starting quarterback, the first time that's happened in the program since 1987, when current assistant coach Tim O'Malley did it. An outstanding athlete with a strong arm, the dual-threat Martiello keeps defenses off balance, but he brings more than just physical attributes to the huddle. "Definitely his leadership ability [stands out]," Boyle said. "He has a way about him and leads by example. He encourages his teammates. He's seen a lot so the kids respect him. "He's a good runner and passing quarterback and everything's gotten better,” he added. “His accuracy and arm strength are better and he can run." A pair of fleet-footed seniors, Chris Puchalski and Mike Quintela, give Clarke a solid one-two punch in the backfield. Misdirection is key in the Rams Wing-T offense, and the quick-cutting Puchalski and Quintela are tailor-made for a scheme that will rely heavily on their ability. Junior fullback Andrew Eannucci also figures into the run-heavy offense. Senior guard Austin Peraza is the lone returning starter on the offensive line, but he'll be surrounded by plenty of size. Senior tackle Joe Livermore checks in
10 17 24
@ Roosevelt @ V.S. North Island Trees
1:30 p.m. 1:30 p.m. 1:30 p.m.
October 1 6 15 22 29
Seaford @ Friends Academy Oyster Bay @ East Rockaway North Shore
3:00 p.m. 4:30 p.m. 2:00 p.m. 1:30 p.m. 1:30 p.m.
at 6-3, 220 pounds and is back after missing all of last season due to injury, while junior tackle Jimmy Morace stands 6-2, 290. Junior Anthony Yodice is set to step in opposite Peraza at guard, and senior Shane Lauria made a quick adjustment at center after getting some reps late in summer camp. "They're jelling now," said Boyle, noting the improvement during the summer. "The group is starting to play together. We want to give Mike [Martiello] time to do real well with the wide receivers." Martiello has a deep group of wideouts in seniors Anthony Gomes, Nick DiCamillo, Jevon Clarke and Peter Rodriques and juniors John Fogarty and T.J. Clappi. Tight ends Joe Brillatino, a senior, and John Hess, a 6-2, 240-pound junior, give Martiello another two pairs of reliable hands to target in the passing attack. "We're going to do our best to get them the ball," Boyle said. The key to the defense is team speed, particularly in the first two rows of the unit, despite the absence of 6-3, 290-pound lineman David Flores, who's out for the season due to injury. Peraza, a one-time linebacker, ended camp at one of the defensive tackle slots with DeCamillo,
Yodice and senior Vinny Lombardo ardo all eyeing playing time off the edges. Martiello, Eannucci and Brillantino llantino are going to log the lion's share of the time at linebacker, and many of the wide de receivers are going to log double duty in the secondary. Clarke, the team leader in tackles (54), is back at cornerback along ong with Puchalski, with Rodriques and d Gomes lining up at safety. Brillantino ended camp as the placekicker for a special teams ms unit that also features several speedy peedy returners. The Rams kickoff the 2011 campaign at Syracuse University'ss Carrier Dome against Roosevelt on Sept. 11. "It's going to be an experience ence they'll never forget," Boyle said. Clarke's schedule to start the season was set to feature just seven games, as Friends Academy made ade a late decision not field a team, so o all of its opponents receive a forfeit rfeit victory. The Rams’ home openerr is Sept. 24 versus Island Trees.
MIKE MARTIELLO Quarterback
Photos By Janette Pellegrini
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