Camp files: Hackley
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Coach: Phil Treglia (second season)
Conference: Ivy Preparatory School League
2011 record: 1-6
Five observations from camp
1. New force: Hackley's football program has struggled to get numbers the past few years. In 2010, the team only had 17 players. Last fall, the numbers weren’t much better. In 2012, however, coach Treglia and his staff have over 30 kids on the squad. This should not only help the team in game situations, but in the crucial weeks leading up to the season, too.
2. The big fella: The first thing you notice at a Hackley practice is Ben Jurcic. Jurcic is listed at 6-foot-3, 280 pounds, but even that may be underselling his size. Even more impressive, Juric's got some quickness and speed to go with the beef. Based on today's practice, he's poised for a big year. In every drill that Hackley ran, Jurcic didn’t just play well, he dominated. Look for him to be a terror on both sides of the ball.
3. Running the show: Junior Joe McDermott will start at quarterback this year for the Hornets and could be in position to have a great year. He has a strong arm, good footwork and it looks like he is grasping the offense well. It will be interesting to see how it transfers over to game situations, but every few plays he unleashes a throw that makes you say “whoa.”
4. The leader: Luke Sweeney has established himself as a leader for the team with both his play and his attitude. Sweeney is a gifted athlete and will see time at both wide receiver and running back. He is also clearly respected by his teammates. When big plays are made this year, Sweeney will most certainly be involved.
5. Familiarity: Last year, coach Treglia took over the team, replacing legendary coach Rob Pickert. While Treglia was respected and appreciated by his players, the change didn’t lead to a whole lot of success on the field. With a season under their belts, Treglia and the players feel they are past transitioning and ready to focus solely on winning football games.
Players to watch: Ben Jurcic, Sr., DL/OT; Luke Sweeney, Sr., WR/LB; Joe McDermott, Jr., QB
Names to learn: Ilan Gressel, So., RB/LB; Elijah Ngbokoli, Fr., DB
Season outlook: Hackley's football program is back on the rise again. After two down years and a coaching change, the team is back on schedule, practicing with a full squad and looking forward to the 2012 season.
In fact, they have big plans for it.
“I’d like to go undefeated; that’s my personal expectation,” Jurcic said. “A really good goal for us would be to win our first five games. If we can do that, it would definitely show that we’ve turned the tides from last season. My freshman year was our last winning season, so we want to leave our underclassmen with something to hold on to.”
Behind Jurcic, Sweeney and McDermott, Hackley will look to start a new tradition for the football program. The three players will all contribute in their own ways and the team has a good number of weapons around them to not just compete, but win games.
“I expect to win a lot of games,” Sweeney said. “We’re a mostly senior team, so I expect to do really well. We’ve been sitting on the bench and we’ve been playing — now it’s our turn to come and win.”
Treglia agreed with Jurcic and Sweeney’s enthusiasm but was hesitant on setting any lofty goals.
“We’re seeing a huge growth with both the number of kids participating and how quickly they are learning,” Treglia said. “Our goal is just to continue to get better every day, but I’d also like for us to finish a little stronger. A lot of games last year, we were tied or winning going into the second half and we couldn’t finish. So that’s what we’re working on — finishing drills, finishing practices and finishing games.”
9/15 at Peekskill
9/22 at Kingswood Oxford
10/6 at Riverdale Country
10/13 at Hamden Hall
11/3 at St. Luke’s
11/10 at Rye Country Day
* Follow Jordan Griffith on Twitter @MSGV_JGriffith *