HASTINGS-ON-HUDSON, N.Y. -- The Hastings High School football team was all business early Friday as first-year coach Chris Wagner, who coached rival Dobbs Ferry High to several Section 1 Class C titles and a state title in 2006, put the Yellow Jackets through their paces.
"We're working on instilling our philosophy and getting the players in the right mindset and i have a great staff of coaches who are on the same page," Wagner said at Friday's morning workout. "There are steps we take to improve with each session, including as coaches. We aren't looking to long range future. We're preparing to be a winning program this year."
Hastings struggled with injuries last season, but showed flashes of talent and Wagner will depend on four returning seniors; two-way linemen Mike Inciofane, Jesse Greenwald and Chris Minozzi and running back Alex Brizer. Junior quarterback Rob Hevia played well in the last three games last fall as a sophomore and returns to lead the offense with running back Devin Nunez in the backfield.
The Yellow Jackets, who were waiting for several more players to begin practicing with the team, went through early drills and listened attentively to Wager and his assistants as they stressed placement, correct technique, blocking assignments and other fundamentals.
"I was pretty calm this morning but it gets crazy at times," Wagner said. "We're waiting on a few kids who we expect to make a commitment to the team. It's important for each of the players to buy in to what we're doing and to focus on each step of the program. That means being at every practice and approaching the game the right way."
With that said, Wagner whistled the midday break and let his Yellow Jackets absorb the morning's work with an afternoon session still ahead.
Hastings, which had a 3-6 record last fall after enjoying winning seasons of 6-3 and 6-2 in 2009 and 2010, will host Valhalla on September 8 at 1:30 p.m. in the season opener.