DOBBS FERRY, N.Y. – The euphoria of last year's New York State Class C football title lingers, but the Dobbs Ferry Eagles were out working hard Friday on the first day of summer training camp to defend their title.
Head coach Jim Moran had a nearly perfect season in his first year last fall, losing just once to 2010 state champion Bronxville. The Eagles lost to the Broncos 15-14 on opening day of the 2011 season, then ripped through Class C with an 11-1 record all the way through to the championship victory at the Carrier Dome at Syracuse university.
"We lost eight starters on offense and nine on defense, but we have a good group of kids who know the system, and many of them had reps last year," Moran said. "I have a strong coaching staff back with me and the kids are working very hard."
Moran had 28 players on opening day of practice, with several more returning next week. He expects a roster of 30 players led by his power running back Tim Soave, defensive standout and running back Brian Gardner, and quarterback Grant Giglio.
Last year's championship quarterback, Spencer Avalos, has been working with his former teammates and the new crop of young Eagles before heading off to school at the University of Delaware.
"These kids are working even harder than we did, and that shows me something," Avalos said. "I think they have some spots to fill and everyone has to become familiar with each other. That will happen through the summer and into the season."
Moran had his players out early on the turf practice field on the school's campus, and drills were moving smoothly.
"There are always expectations after a team wins (the state title)," Moran said. "The guys have been conditioning and they know what it takes to win after playing behind last year's team. And we have a lot of talent here."
The Eagles open their season at home against Section 1 Class D champion Haldane at at 1:30 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 8.