Roxbury Road to the Gridiron: Season expectations
The high school football season is quickly getting closer, and one big question still remains for the Roxbury Gaels and their fans. That question is, “Can the blue and gold take home a state championship?” Head coach Cosmo Lorusso certainly thinks so.
Coach Lorusso feels that his team has the talent to take a championship back to Roxbury. He compares his team to the 2009 Gaels team that took home a state title. The Gaels started a lot of juniors back in 2011, and those players, who are now seniors, have greatly grown in experience and skill.
“We definitely have a great amount of talent,” Lorusso said. “Our goal is to take home a state championship,” he added.
The Gaels finished last season with a 5-5 record. In a defeat to the Union City Soaring Eagles in a non-league playoff game the Gaels were held to only a field goal, but this year, the Gaels are much different, and much more experienced. This year, against strong defenses such as Union City, the Gaels expect to put up much more than field goals.
With that experience, the Gaels’ Wing-T offense, led by senior halfbacks Chris Colucci and Donald Panciello in the backfield, will have a great combination of power and speed to throw at their opponents. At the same time, senior quarterback Kyle Young will make defenses look at the Gaels in a whole other perspective. Young often sneaks the ball behind center, but when he does drop into the pocket, he is a threat to pass, and to run.
All-county linesmen Kyle Adams and the offensive line will be the key for Roxbury to succeed. Central to the Gaels offense is a heavy ground attack, and in order for the attack to be successful, the offensive line will have to open up holes in the trenches for their backs to run through. The Gaels’ big men up front have the ability to jumpstart this talented offense.
Defense will also be a huge factor for the Gaels. They have a physical defense that is very good at tracking the ball carrier and taking him to the turf. One key to the Gaels’ defense is their linebacker crew, and junior linebacker Peter Sutton will make sure that no opposing halfback gets up the middle of the field. At the same time, senior defensive back Matt Sivertsen will keep opposing pass attacks at bay. Sivertsen can stretch the field in a matter of seconds, and that speed can shut down receivers, and if needed, running backs.
If the Gaels make a playoff run, they will be facing some of the best teams in the state, and they will have to be ready. Coach Lorusso and his assistants are going to make sure that the Gaels are ready to compete.
The Gaels’ toughest game will probably come against rival Delbarton. On October 6, the Gaels will travel to Morristown to take on the Delbarton Green Wave, a team who has shown that they are a real threat to take home a title. Delbarton ran through the Gaels last year at home. In order for the Gaels to make a playoff run, they will have to show that they can compete with powerhouses like Delbarton, and one way to do that, is to establish themselves as a powerhouse, on the offensive and defensive side of the ball.
The varsity team is currently practicing four times a week, three hours at a time during the summer, working hard to ready themselves for the season. A common practice routine for the Gaels includes a lot of running, time in the film room, along with 7-7 and 11-11 full pad scrimmages. They run through their complicated playbook very often as well. The squad is often seen playing games of basketball in the gym, to improve hand eye coordination, footwork, and agility. The Roxbury coaching staff is doing everything they can to prepare the Gaels, physically and mentally, for the season ahead.
“We can be a real threat,” Lorusso said. “I feel we’re going to have a great season.”