SOMERS, N.Y. – The John F. Kennedy Catholic High School football team will play its first game under new head coach Severino Sangro when it opens its season against ArdsleyHigh School on Saturday at 1:30 p.m.
Sangro joined Kennedy’s staff in June as a defensive coordinator but rose to head coach when Rob Schwartz left to become a guidance counselor in the Mamaroneck school district.
The new coach literally went back to basics during practices in August as he focused on fundamentals, including tackling and blocking. After one of those practices, Sangor said the transition has been smooth.
“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.”
Senior running back Robert Yurkowski will lead the Gaels on the field this season as they look to bounce back from their 1-7 record last season. The tailback led the team in rushing last year with 110 carries for 1,037 yards, an average of 148.1 yards per game, and nine touchdowns.
Yurkowski and the running game were the focus of the offense last season as the Gaels averaged 202.3 rushing yards per game but just 51.8 passing yards per game. Yurkowski did the lion’s share of the running last year with 1,037 of the team’s 1,618 rushing yards and will likely carry the load again this season.
Seventh-year head coach Colin Maier leads Ardsley, which finished 4-5 last season. The team is loaded with speedy, athletic upperclassmen who should provide both experience and quickness.
“(Our strength is) definitely the amount of athletes we have,” said senior right guard and team captain Eric Diamond. “In the backfield, definitely.”