Along with a new head coach and some new assistant coaches, namely Coach Melo and Coach Staubly, two new defensive coaches, the football team is welcoming back a strong core from last year, including their quarterback and wide receivers.
The KO football team started off the season strong with a win in a scrimmage at St. Luke’s on Saturday, Sept. 7. This was the team’s first live scrimmage since getting a new coach this past year. Head Coach James Wells was very proud of how his team performed. “The goal of that, right, being our first time in pads hitting other people was to get acclimated to hitting, work on the basics, and to come out of it healthy. Based on that criteria, it was a huge success,” Coach Wells said.
Coach Wells mentioned a couple of standouts in the scrimmage. “Elijah Infante had a really good game, he made a lot of tackles. A new junior, Rasheed Patterson, also had a good game; he looked like the best linemen on the field in my opinion,” Coach Wells said.
Starting junior safety Michael DeMio described the change in atmosphere this year. “Coach Wells wants the atmosphere in our practices to be 100% positive, and we can really see that our bond is growing practice by practice,” DeMio said.
This change in energy is probably a direct cause of the new coaching staff. Coach Wells said that they have an emphasis on certain things in practice: “Our emphasis in practice is trying to teach the fundamentals of the game. We try to focus on basic things like tackling, passing, running, and blocking,” Coach Wells said. He also talked about how the team doesn’t think too far in advance about games and just tries to go 1-0 and to get better each week.
Starting varsity quarterback Samuel Capodice also had words about the team’s chemistry. “We have good team chemistry and enjoy being together outside of school just as much as we do in school,” Capodice said. “It really helps to strengthen our team bonds.”
Director of Football Operations junior Chris Morris explained what it looks like from the sidelines. “This year, the practices are so exciting and high energy. You can tell the guys are working their butts off and giving it everything they have,” Morris said. “They somehow keep it competitive on the field but friendly on the sidelines.”
Despite all of the team’s success, Coach Wells still thinks there’s plenty of things to work on. “We have to work on everything. It’s early on in the season, so it really is everything,” Coach Wells said. The football team has a motto this year: “Focus, fight, fire, finish.” They hope to continue to follow this motto this season as they grow stronger as a team.
The team followed up their first win with a win at home in another scrimmage against Canterbury. Junior Justin Edwards ran for a lot of yardage and scored a touchdown, and junior wide receiver Jeff Davis caught two touchdown passes as well.
The team’s next game was on Saturday, Sept. 21 at Pingree. Unfortunately, the team couldn’t stay undefeated and lost 44-21 to Pingree. Junior wide receiver Nate Capodice led the offense with two touchdowns, and Davis added one more. The team looks to bounce back on Saturday Sept. 28 against the New Hampton School at home.