ARDSLEY, N.Y. – “Consistency” might be the word of the year for the Ardsley High School football team’s season.
The Panthers have a seventh-year head coach in Colin Maier and a bevy of upperclassmen returning for the 2012 season. The group will get a chance to show how far that consistency can take them when the Panthers open their season at home against Kennedy Catholic at 1:30 p.m. Saturday.
The seniors on the team should provide quickness, athleticism and, perhaps most important, experience for the Panthers this season.
The team’s strength is “definitely the amount of athletes we have,” said senior right guard and team captain Eric Diamond. “In the backfield, definitely.”
Ardsley’s opponent, Kennedy Catholic, enters the season in almost the opposite situation. New head coach Severino Sangro has been on the job for less than three months and has had to go back to basics with his players as he installs a new system.
But so far, he says, it is working.
“The kids are real receptive to what we’re doing,” Sangro said. “It’s a lot different from what they did last year. But certain things have to be changed. It’s a new regime, so when you get changes like that, a lot of things are different. They’re not really used to it yet, but they’ve been coming along nicely. And I haven’t gotten any complaints from them yet.”
Ardsley will have to deal with the powerful rushing attack of Kennedy’s senior tailback Robert Yurkowski, who led the Gaels last season with 1,037 of the team’s 1,618 rushing yards. He carried the ball 110 times, averaged 148.1 yards per game and had nine touchdowns.
Kennedy averaged 202.3 yards per game on the ground last season but just 51.8 passing yards per game, so stopping the rushing attack will be crucial if Ardsley hopes to earn the win.