CROSS RIVER, N.Y. -- The John Jay-Cross River varsity football team has every right to be optimistic going into the 2011 season.
The Indians won six of seven games during the 2010 regular season and qualified for sectionals.
Even though they lost to Harrison in the first round, John Jay bounced back to beat Nyack in a bowl game.
That gave us a very good feeling about this year, said senior Danny Caiola of the victory over Nyack.
John Jay carried the momentum of that win into the offseason. Caiola and his classmates made sure their underclassmen teammates became frequent visitors to the weight room.
We did a lot more weight training this year than we did last year, said Caiola, prior to the teams afternoon practice Thursday. The guys were crazy about getting in the weight room and getting a lot stronger.
Caiola, who will start at running back and outside linebacker, is one of five seniors who will provide the leadership for John Jay. Ryan Sanders (tackle/defensive lineman), Jimmy OReilly (slot back/outside linebacker), Tyler Robertson (guard/defensive lineman) and Declan Myer (split end/strong safety) comprise this group.
John Jay has had a busy spring and summer. Caiola said the team participated in the Carmel football camp earlier this summer. John Jay also competed in the week-long New Rochelle football camp last month.
At Carmel, we scrimmaged against Carmel and Brewster, Caiola said. It went well because we felt we improved every day. New Rochelle went very well. New Rochelle is always one of the top teams in the state so going against them we knew we had to be at our best. We have great respect for New Rochelle. We really wanted to prove ourselves against New Rochelle and prove that we can do it this season.
John Jay used its afternoon practice Thursday in preparation for a scrimmage Friday with Roy C. Ketcham. Even though a couple of players are sidelined for the scrimmage, Caiola is confident the juniors, who are replacing the injured starters, will play well.
Its important because they are getting the reps in practice and it will give them game experience, Caiola said. John Jay is ready to start the season.
We believe we have a very good group of guys who are skilled and fast, Caiola said. We have high hopes this season.
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