MHS football: talent greater, despite fewer players, coach says
By Martha Marteney - Staff Writer
Manchester - posted Sat., Aug. 27, 2011
Manchester High School football is gearing up for a completely different season. “It's a smaller group than last year,” said head coach Marco Pizzoferrato, “but much more talented.” The team of just 35 athletes is dominated by juniors, with only four seniors returning.
Speaking about last year, Pizzoferrato said, “To be honest, it was a little disappointing – not in the kids, but the record of 7-3.” He attributed the losses to injuries and a lack of focus.
“This year, everything feels really loose and free for me,” said the coach, now entering into his second season with the team. Also, last year, Pizzoferrato and his wife had twins in September.
“With the talent we have, we can do things differently,” explained Pizzoferrato. With this year's backfield, linemen and quarterback, he is installing different plays, which he said the athletes are picking up well.
As for the coaching team, Clayton Hillary of South Windsor, the former head coach in Newington, will be working with the offensive linemen. Earnest Jones will return as defensive linemen coach, now full-time rather than part-time.
“We look unbelievable in shorts and t-shirts,” remarked Pizzoferrato, “but when the pads go on, we'll see who likes the contact and who doesn't.”
Junior Marquis Little will lead the team as quarterback. He has been with the team since freshmen year and was the back-up varsity quarterback last year. He sees the position as a leadership role. “I keep everybody positive the whole time,” said Little. “If they get down on themselves, it will bring everything down.” He describes his style as “versatile throw and run.”
Andrew Isaacs, also a junior, has played many positions, settling into the tight end/linebacker role. He feels this year's juniors would have played more last season if it were not for the talented pool of seniors. As with most of the team members, Isaacs used the summer for conditioning, doing footwork and running drills, catching and lifting weights. According to Pizzoferrato, Isaacs is already being recruited by several colleges.
All of the team's preseason scrimmages are scheduled away. The varsity team will take on Simsbury for its first game of the season on Sept. 30 beginning at 6 p.m. on the Memorial Field at MHS. For a complete schedule, visit www.casciac.org.