2015 was another playoff season for the Kent Island Buccaneer football team. Only eight starters are back from last year. Returning to the post season in 2016 will be a challenge for Head Coach Damian Ferragamo. With a 64-24 career record, it’s a challenge he is up for accepting.
Pencek: During our recent Bayside Conference Media Day you referenced that athleticism on defense is a team strength. Can you go into detail about that?
Ferragamo: We’ve never been the biggest team in the world so we rely a lot on our athleticism. In our defensive line we have guys hovering between 200 and 220 pounds. As a result, we have to be able to move and pursue the ball. Athleticism is where it all begins with our defense.
Pencek: How does that factor into your offensive line?
Ferragamo: We have two returning starters, Justin Johnson (6’1″ 235 lb) and Garrett Redden who are coming back. We also have a lot guys who did get on the field and contributed. We are confident they can step in and fill the slots of the guys who left.
Pencek: Does the momentum of last season carry over to 2016?
Ferragamo: I believe it’s a new season and what happen in 2015 is in the past. In high school, there’s always a lot of turnover. Kids graduate and some go off to college. Anything that happened last year we leave it where it was. We have a lot of kids fighting for positions. Even kids who were on the field for us are going to be fighting for spots. Nobody has anything wrapped up this point. We are going to look at Colonel Richardson who is our first game as the thing that has our focus.
Pencek: Who are looking at as leaders of this team?
Ferragamo: Michael Scott is a three year varsity player for us at fullback and linebacker. We are looking for him to be the leader of our defense this year. I think he understands everything that is going on. He can help get guys in the right spot. Justin did a real good job on the both the defensive and offensive lines. We may move him around the offensive line depending on where everybody’s best suited with some newer guys coming into positions on the line. If our offensive line is not getting it done, we are not going to be successful. We are looking at Justin to be a leader of that unit.
Pencek: Are there other areas that will impact the success this team will have?
Ferragamo: Ball security and winning in all three phases of the game. We are lucky to have a kicker, Bert Schrecongost who will be a senior this year. He has a real powerful leg. That will help us in the kickoff game, extra points, and field goals. We anticipate a lot of tight games this year. We have to be sound fundamentally on special teams.
Pencek: Does the fact that you do have players who played in big games during their career help in a tight game?
Ferragamo: If you look back over the last couple of years, we’ve been in regional finals and state semifinals. We’ve been in big games and close games. As a coaching staff and with players, if you have been through that it helps the next time around. Just being able to draw on that experience, not panicking, making sure you are calm, executing our system, and as a player executing fundamentals.