Mountaineers take advantage of extra time as opener approaches
With the option now available for state high school football coaches to forego spring practice in favor of five extra days of practice in the summer, the decision was an easy one for Deron Bayer.
No spring practice it was, decided the head coach of the Housatonic/Wamogo program.
"For a small school, it's hard to get a good number of players on the field in the spring," said Bayer, who is entering his 14th season on the coaching staff and fourth as head coach. "With the seniors gone, it typically left only about 20 kids to practice since the freshmen were still in middle school. Then you also had kids playing other sports such as baseball, track and lacrosse, not to mention exams are right around that time."
The Mountaineers, after only playing one scrimmage last year, were able to compete in four this summer thanks to the extra time available.
"Playing in only one scrimmage last year didn't help," Bayer said. "The experience of playing someone else and getting the chance to hit and run your plays is extremely valuable. I feel that has really helped us. My best guess is that we're ahead of where we were at this time last year."
Housatonic will once again run its single-wing offense of Sports Illustrated fame this season, with Tanner Brissett, Donyell Williams, Will Perotti and Jake Sutterland expected to see plenty of carries. According to Bayer, Marc Wildman, a sophomore from Wamogo, will anchor the offensive and defensive lines.
Michael Kenney and Aaron Csehak will also see extended time on the field.
Overall, Bayer said player turnout is around 30, with seven players coming from Wamogo.
"Obviously, we would like a higher number, but I'm excited for this group to take the field," Bayer said.
The Mountaineers open their season Saturday night against the Sports Science Medical Academy at Dillon Stadium in Hartford (6:30 p.m.). Their home opener will be a rare home game under the lights next Friday night against Canton in Falls Village.