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Sachempatch.com-- Sachem Football Preview

Posted Saturday, September 04, 2010 by SachemPatch.com

Not since the 1995 season, when Sachem made its first and only appearance in the Long Island Championship, have members of the Black & Gold faithful been so giddy about the start of a season.

Pegged as the top team in Suffolk County's Division I in pre-season rankings, Sachem has the bulls eye mark on its back as arguably the best team in the county.

Last year's unsettling defeat to William Floyd in the county title game capped the end of a momentous season in which Sachem won more games (10-1) and rushed for more yards (3,915) that any other team in the program's 48-year history.

With the core of last year's team back, the Flaming Arrows will take 2010 in stride and hope to bring home the schools first county title since 1995 and that elusive first Long Island crown.

RELATED: Check out the new Inside the Arrows football blog

Record last year: 10-1

Head coach: Dave Falco (eighth season)

Venue: Fred Fusaro Alumni Stadium

Division pre-season ranking: 1 out of 14 in Division I

Top players

  • Michael Andreassi, Senior FB/LB
  • Angelo Armine, Senior QB/LB
  • Dalton Crossan, Junior HB/LB
  • Trent Crossan, Freshman HB/LB
  • Tim Lang, Senior C/HB
  • Mike McCarthy, Senior QB/FS
  • Jesse Scanna, Senior HB/LB
  • James Thompson, Senior T/DT

Position breakdown

Offense

Quarterback: Armine, who has committed to play lacrosse at Molloy next year, started all 11 games last year and was hurt playing lacrosse last spring when he tore a ligament in his shoulder. McCarthy has worked extremely hard to take the job from him and both will see plenty of action this year. "It's an excellent competition that can only make us better," Falco said. Last year, Armine was 21-for-41 passing with just 296 yards and four touchdowns to his credit. The team ran the ball 90 percent of the time though. That will change this year, as Falco said they are moving from a 90-10 (run/pass) philosophy to more of a 60-40 rotation. McCarthy did complete two of six passes last season.

Running back/half back: This is the money position for Sachem. From full back, to half back and everything behind the quarterback, Sachem has plenty of options this year. Andreassi will play full back. Dalton Crossan, Trent Crossan, Jesse Scanna, Davon Christopher and Alex Katos will all see time in the wing spots.

Andreassi, who verbally committed to play lacrosse at the University of Massachusetts next year, had 879 yards on 146 carries and nine touchdowns last season. He also averaged six yards per carry. Christopher ran the ball 27 times for 177 yards and scored twice.

The Crossan brothers are Sachem's new gems. The children of former Sachem quarterback Michael Crossan (Class of '83), they transferred from Division IV Shoreham-Wading River. Michael ranks seventh all-time in Sachem history with 1,240 career passing yards. At last year's Suffolk County Football Coaches Association Showcase, Dalton recorded the fastest time in the short shuttle (4.11 seconds). Trent, who played JV as an eighth grader at Shorem, will be just the third player in Sachem history behind Jesse Brush (Class of '99) and Scanna to start as freshmen. He played in the Under Armour eighth grade All-Star game last year in San Antonio as one of the youngest top prospects in the nation for his age.

Jack Cabble was injured during the first week of training camp and tore ligaments in his knee, nixing his chances of playing this year. He underwent surgery with Dr. Anthony Cappellino (Doc, a quarterback at New Hyde Park, won the 1983 Thorp Award as Nassau County's top football player) and is expected to play lacrosse this spring. Cabble has already committed to play college lacrosse at Robert Morris University. 

Wide Receiver: Junior Vincent Provenzano, senior Bonifacio Aguila and senior Fred Golini will all see time at the receiver position. Look for senior Alex Bennett and junior Ryan Calabrese to be used as core depth receivers as well. Aguila has been favoring his hamstring this pre-season and has not played in the last two scrimmages. The coaching staff is being cautious, but he'll be operating at a high level on opening night. "Our goal is to throw it more and we're headed in that direction," Falco said.

Tight end: Sophomore Tyler Andreassi, the younger brother of Michael, and senior Nicholas Simoniello will figure in at the end position on offense.

Offensive line: The leader on the o-line is Lang, who has committed to play lacrosse at the University of Maryland-Baltimore County, at center. James Thompson, a returning All-County selection, will play tackle again. Junior Jacob Starling, who Falco said looks very good, will play the other tackle position. Senior Tom Mignano and and Nick Teta along with  junior Vincent Juliano will play the guard positions.

Defense

Defensive line: Lang is the nose guard. Tyler Andreassi and Simoniello will play defensive end. Mignano, Starling, Thompson  and Teta will play the inside lineman spots.

Linebackers: Scanna and Michael Andreassi will combine as one of, if not the best, middle linebacker duos in Suffolk County this year. Andreassi a three-year starter and Scanna a four year starter. Scanna (76) and Andreassi (65) led the team in tackles last season.

Defensive back: McCarthy and Provenzano are slotted as free safeties. Alex Katos and Dalton Crossan will play cornerback. Armine and Trent Crossan will play outside backer positions and Provenzano is also pushing on the outside.

Special teams

Kicker: Trent Crossan will kick, but Falco said baseball player Brendan Garry, who recently signed to play ball at Manhattan College, has expressed interest in kicking, as well as Brendan Chetuck, the younger brother of Stephen, who kicked the game-winning field goal against William Floyd in Week 1 last year to cap off one of the greatest games in Sachem history.

Long snapper: Provenzano will long snap with Fred Golini holding as he did last season.

Key Losses: Losing Davon Lawrence and Joe Kirchner would be devastating to any team. Lawrence is one of the best players in Sachem history and Kirchner is easily one of the most dominant and aggressive linemen Sachem has ever had. They can not be replaced by sole individuals on the roster, instead, Sachem will fill the gaps with multiple threats. Lawrence (Stony Brook) and Kirchner (Cortland) are both playing college football this season.

Expectations: Falco has not been afraid to say his team is the best in the land. Why should he? With the No. 1 rank over their heads, the rest of the Division is gunning for them. "The expectations here have definitely risen and that's something we've been trying to do," said Falco at the beginning of training camp. "That's not something we're going to shy away from. Our kids know we have a target on our back, but if we weren't good we wouldn't have a target on our back. We anticipate teams are going to come here and play their best and were going to play our best and see what happens."

Key games: For a championship caliber team, all games are "key games," so here's a look at the schedule with some analysis on each opponent...

  • Week 1: Friday September 11 vs. Patchogue-Medford ... The Raiders enter the season as the seventh-ranked team in Division I. Pat-Med-Sachem games on the football field have been rivalries since the 1970's when Sachem beat them to win the 1977 Suffolk County title, its first in school history. Pat-Med runs a two tight end wishbone offense similar to North Babylon, which Sachem saw in its final scrimmage, a 21-7 Flaming Arrows win.
  • Week 2: Thursday September 16 vs. Lindenhurst ... For years Fred Fusaro and Ralph Biancaniello squared off on the gridiron, going toe-to-toe on opposite sidelines. With both coaching legends retired (Fusaro is an assistant at John Glenn under former Sachem player Dave Shanahan), the battles still forge every year. Lindenhurst is always a formidable opponent and will be Sachem's first true test.
  • Week 3: Saturday September 25 @ Brentwood ... Last year Brentwood had some talent, but Sachem still managed to beat the Indians twice. As the ninth ranked team, they'll have loads of trouble containing the Arrows.
  • Week 4: Saturday October 2 @ Connetquot ... Two years ago Connetquot won the Class I Long Island Championship and last year they battled Sachem tough at home. It will be the same case this season.
  • Week 5: Saturday October 9 @ Northport ... This game against the No. 4 ranked squad will be under the lights, which is difficult for Northport to pull off since they have to roll in special fixtures for the occasion. They have not appeared in a Suffolk County title game since 1991 and it probably won't happen again this year.
  • Week 6: Saturday October 16 vs. William Floyd ... No. 2 Floyd presents an interesting battle. It's quickly become the best rivalry game in town with both teams threatening to go far at season's end. Sachem beat Floyd last year in Week 1 thanks to late-game dramatics. Floyd junior quarterback Stacey Bedell has gotten faster in the off-season and coach Paul Longo, a Sachem resident, said his team is young (10 sophomores), yet faster than its ever been. That's saying something considering the days of Brock Jackolski and Joe Sidaras aren't too long gone.
  • Week 7: Friday October 22 vs. Longwood ... Though ranked sixth, you can never count out the Lions, who have presented Sachem with a handful of memorable wins and losses in the last 20 years. It'll be a key game heading down the stretch and both teams will have forged an identity by then.
  • Week 8: Saturday October 30 @ Bay Shore ... Playing the 8th ranked team in the final week of the season couldn't have come at a better time for Sachem. It'll be a chance to rest potentially injured players and to tune up on anything necessary before the playoffs start the following week.

News & Notes: Remember, eight teams in each division make the playoffs, so North and Sachem East can potentially square off for the fourth time in history if the clouds aline. That would mean East has to break the mold from its 11th spot in pre-season rankings.

...

Here's an interesting stat: In Fred Fusaro's first seven seasons as head coach his record was 28-31-1. Falco's record in his first seven seasons is 33-29. While Fusaro won a county title and Rutger's Trophy in year seven (1977), Falco won't be upset if he does it in year eight. ... It's likely that the voice of Sachem will return for pre-game introductions this year. Spider Westervelt, who has since passes away, but was a teacher, coach and team announcer at Sachem since the 1960's, will be remembered in the likes of Bob Sheppard when his voice rains down on Fred Fusaro Alumni Stadium again.

Predictions: Hold your horses, we're not predicting anything yet. Let's just say if you're a frequent visitor to the site, you know where Sachem Patch's loyalty lies. We also echo the senitments of Falco, who is confident with this group.

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