New football coach to build Rockville program

By Steve Smith - Staff Writer
Vernon - posted Fri., Aug. 16, 2013
Players go through rigorous agility drills in the first day of football practice at Rockville High School on Aug. 14. Photos by Steve Smith.
Players go through rigorous agility drills in the first day of football practice at Rockville High School on Aug. 14. Photos by Steve Smith.

Steve Schortman is taking the reins of the Rockville High School football team. After the team has seen three head coaches over the last two seasons, Schortman said he didn't want to see the team in the hands of anyone else, so he stepped up and wants to be the leader that takes the team to good things.

“I'd been assistant coaching here for five years,” he said. “I just wasn't willing to give it up to someone else. I've put in a lot of hard work and dedication with these kids. These kids have had different coaches every other year. It's a lack of consistency. How are they going to trust someone if they are here one year and then they are gone?”

The Rams will have about 60 players on the squad this year, which Schortman, a 2005 graduate of RHS, said is twice that of when he played, and the most he's seen. “It's to the point where I actually need to get more equipment,” he said. “It's a problem, but a good problem to have.”

“Full commitment” is what Schortman said he asks of his players, and they have been giving him that. But in order to make the good things happen that he hopes, he said he needs that commitment from literally everyone.

“In the past, it's been a lot of talk,” he said. “I need full commitment from players, parents, teachers and the rest of the coaches in the school. I care about Rockville and the future of Rockville. I live here, and my wife works here. I want to see good things happen here in this community.”

“I would like to be here, maybe not 26 years like [Rockville Athletic Hall of Fame coach] Tom Dunn, but for a good portion of my career.” Schortman said. “Coaching in general is something I want to pursue.”

The Rams will have a lot of senior starters, but mostly sophomores as backups. “It's going to take a lot from these seniors, if we are going to be turning this program around,” Schortman said, adding that his sophomores are large in size and have been working hard in the off-season weight room.

Dan Wheeler will be the team's starting quarterback. AJ Spencer, Tom Bartol and Shawn Golding will share the backfield, with fullback Bishop Owens throwing the blocks. Linemen will include Anthony Tyson and Vito Marciano. On defense, corner Ricky Virouette will help anchor a mostly younger squad.

The on-field game plan, Schortman was secretive about, except to say that it is multi-dimensional, and something that opponents will not easily prepare for. “We're going to deviate from what Rockville has done in the past,” he said. “I thought we were very predictable last year, and that it didn't take much for teams to prepare for their week against us. Teams are going to find it difficult to see what kind of game plan we're coming with.”

Schortman said the work ethic of the players looks strong so far, and he hopes to instill a “never give up” attitude. “[Last year] they quit early if it wasn't given to them,” he said. “I'm going to push them hard to believe that there is nothing they can't accomplish.”  Given that, the coach said, there is no limit to what this season will hold.

“We're going to the playoffs,” he said. “We're in a tough conference, but what I'm counting on is them thinking of us as the underdog, and thinking it's going to be an easy game, but then we go take it from them right from the beginning.”

Rockville opens the season vs. E. O. Smith on Sept. 13, For a complete schedule, visit www.casciac.org.


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