WOOD-RIDGE, NJ - Wood-Ridge head football coach Charlie Trentacosti is anxious for football season to get started. He has one of the NJIC’s top returning quarterbacks in Michael Giancaspro, and a defense that returns nine of 11 starters from a year ago.
“Our kids have been working hard,” Trentacosti said. “I thought we looked good in our scrimmages. We saw what we needed to see. Not to say we were perfect, but kids are doing what they need to do to get better.”
If Wood-Ridge is to improve off last year’s 5-4 record, a lot of the weight will fall upon senior Michael Giancaspro, the team’s starting quarterback, and free safety. He leads the team from both positions.
The team, according to Trentacosti, is admittedly a bit undersized but feels his team’s quickness will make up for it. That and their effort and will.
“At this level, it is all about effort and desire,“ Trentacosti said.
Quarterback: The story starts and ends with senior quarterback Michael Giancaspro.
“Michael, he is our guy,” said coach Charlie Tentacosti. “He is a three-year starter at quarterback. He runs our offense. He knows it, he runs it, it was built around him. We are really confident in his ability to run the offense. He is a leader and coach on the field. He is the whole product.”
Running back: Three juniors have stood out so far at the running back position, and figure to be the main guys running the ball. Trentacosti plans on utilizing different sets and keeping fresh legs on the field to maximize production.
“We will use one back sets, two back sets, we will be running guys in and out of there.”
Eric Drotos is built like a fullback at 5-11,190. Samuel Halloman, at 6-0,170, is built like your traditional halfback. Dylan Pachon, at 5-6,140, is sized like a scat back.
“They each have different skill sets, each brings something different to the table, and each game we will go with the hot hand. Plus the depth allows us to keep fresh legs in the game."
Wide receivers: Utilizing a four-receiver set, the Blue Devils receiving corps is made up of juniors Jake Colon, Johnoi Martin, Drew Packen and Amir Lopez. Colon was a second-team All-NJIC Patriot selection as a sophomore.
“They all have great speed, unbelievable hands, yet they all bring something different to the table” Trentacosti stated.
Both Martin and Colon are two-year starters. Behind them is Evan West and Lamont Hogan. Trentacosti is comfortable that he has depth at an important position in his offense.
“We have guys who can get on the field and contribute," the coach stated. "All these guys I mentioned are juniors. We want fresh legs out there and they all have the ability to contribute.”
Tight End: Senior captain Stephen Drotos will handle the position when the Blue Devils use a tight end. He will bring a physical presence to the offense when in the game.
Offensive Line: The leader of the line is senior captain Ryan Kriegel, a three-year starter at center for the Blue Devils. A second team All-NJIC Patriot selection a year ago, at 6-1, 225, he is the large anchor for the Wood-Ridge line.
“He is a big guy, he understands the offense, he gets what he has to do, “ Trentacosti said.
Junior Drew Tomat, 5-10, 210 will anchor down one of the tackle spots, with junior Enmanuel Vasquez (5-10, 190) stepping in at the other side. St. Mary transfer Stephen Rykola will join the line after sitting out four games to start the season due to the NJSIAA transfer rule.
“This is his (Tomat) second year at tackle, and he did everything he needed to do. He’s got it.” Tentacosti stated. “Rykola will be a huge addition when he is eligible after sitting out four games due to the transfer rule.”
The guard spot is more open, with junior Daniel Lescher who is expected to start. Junior Jael Hudson (5-10, 200), Sophomore Paul Schnackenberg (6-1,195) and freshman Tommy Gherghetta will also be in the mix at the other guard spot.
“We are just going to play the best player each week. Trentacosti stated. " We have guys. We are not just going to play guys because that is all we have, We have guys that want to play, so you better be the best you can be every week.”
TOMORROW: PART II - The Defense and Schedule
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