2005-09-09 / Sports

Let The PSAL Football Season Begin

By Elio Velez


Far Rockaway’s Jeremy Pruitt, catching a ball in last year’s win over Beach Channel, should be one of the key players on the offensive side of the ball this season.Far Rockaway’s Jeremy Pruitt, catching a ball in last year’s win over Beach Channel, should be one of the key players on the offensive side of the ball this season. The summer is over. The temperature is dipping slowly and the lifeguards have vacated the beaches.

School has its opened their doors for a new season and with it the start of the fall high school football campaign.

It’s a season of change for different reasons at both Rockaway schools this fall. Beach Channel’s Marty Senall will return as head coach of the varsity football program after a three year absence.

Quarterback Marcel Guilliod hands the ball off to RB Anton Johnson. Photo by Pete BorrielloQuarterback Marcel Guilliod hands the ball off to RB Anton Johnson. Photo by Pete Borriello Anthony Miele will return for his second season at Far Rockaway. He returns but the school is undergoing a massive redevelopment. Five different learning academies will inside the walls of the school this fall.

On the football field, both teams will prepare for the first week of the 2005 football season, which starts on Saturday afternoon at 12 p.m. Staten Island will be the location for both games as Beach Channel goes to Mckee/Staten Island Tech and Far Rockaway takes on New Dorp.

Beach Channel head coach Marty Senall gives instruction to his offensive line during practice. Photo by Pete BorrielloBeach Channel head coach Marty Senall gives instruction to his offensive line during practice. Photo by Pete Borriello Senall takes the rein of a team in transition. Coming off a 1-7 season in 2004, he will need to find the tools to build a competitive football team together.

It hasn’t been easy at first mixing returning starters and newcomers, mainly from the junior varsity team. Also learning a new system takes enough time and in a few practices and scrimmages, there have been some bright and not so bright spots.

“In one scrimmage, we played Lafayette and scored 50 points. Against other teams who played us, we gave up 50 points,” Senall says.

Overall, Senall says there have been some good players that have emerged from camp.

David Castillo returns this year and will assume the duties of being one of the team captains. At 5 foot 9 and 207 pounds, will start at linebacker and see some time at fullback.

“Right away I saw him as a team leader,” Senall said.

Che Martin will also be one of the team captains and will start on the offensive line. The line should be bigger with Guy Zephir and Vincent Sanchez also returning.

Anton Johnson at strong safety and wide receiver Elliott Olivero are two young players who will get time to shine.

“The kids have been nice and they’re good players,” Senall says. “They are a lot of pleasure to coach.”

The Dolphins will need some of those names to play well on Saturday against Mckee/S.I. Tech. The Seagulls are come off a 5-3 season but lost some key players from last year and have a new coaching staff.

Far Rockaway

Jeremy Pruitt is the first player that Head Coach Anthony Miele speaks about as an impact player for his team.

“We (coaching staff) think he’ll be one of the top players in the city,” Miele said.

The senior will be featured at many offensive and defensive positions and could be this year’s version of James Romain. Miele highly praised Romain last year for his talents and got the rest of the city to notice his superb play.

At the Outback Empire All Star Football Game, Romain received MVP honors. So when Miele says that coaches and college scouts should look out for a player, he could be right. At 6 foot 1 and a chiseled 220 pounds, Pruitt is on target to receive a lot of action.

“He’s a bigger version of Romain. He can be deceiving and could get 28-30 touches a game,” Miele said. He got the best hands and he can be the catalyst for the offense.”

The Seahorses will have to find new players to replace last year’s performers in QB Chris Howard, Romain, DT Ricardo Remy and LB Lawrence Whitehead.

To return to the playoffs, a young team will import a new offensive and defensive line from the junior varsity level that showed a lot of promise. Shaun Wheeler and Ednut Egberongbe should be instant starters on both sides of the ball.

They will battle New Dorp, a high scoring team who feature RB Andre Smith, one of the fastest players in the city. The 5 foot 9, 180 pound player scored 23 touchdowns with 10 of them coming on receptions.

Playoff Changes

The PSAL has enacted a new playoff system which will crown three new football champions this season. In a one year trial, 43 city football teams will compete for the PSAL Championship, PSAL Bowl and PSAL Cup.

The PSAL Championship will consist of 16 teams that will compete in a single elimination playoff. Strength of schedule and the quality of the opponents will determine the rating of a team. It’s all calculated into a system called power points which rank teams from 1 to 43.

The rating determines the level of opponent that a team faces. Beach Channel and Far Rockaway will play a #3 rated schedule, which means they will face only two teams with a higher level ranking in Bayside and August Martin. Their chances of making the PSAL Championship playoffs could be lessened if they do not have a good enough record to qualify.

At the end of the season, teams who finish 17-24 in power points will compete in a single elimination tournament and be crowned the PSAL Bowl winner. That game will be played on November 27.

Teams who have a 1 rating will only face each other and compete in the PSAL Cup championship also on November 27.

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