Poly Prep looks to complete another undefeated season
A loss in the final game of the season kept Poly Prep’s football team from a coveted undefeated season, but with so much talent returning this year, including its patented huge offensive line, a perfect season could be within the Blue Devils’ reach this time around.
“We have a young group, but we only lost five seniors so most of us have been here since last year,” said running back Brenden Femiano, who has an offer on the table from Boston College and interest from at least four other Division-I schools. “We’re missing Notre Dame Jay [Hayes] and Denzel Monroe, but the team we have has a lot of potential. There should be nothing to stop us. If we do everything we’ve practiced and trained, we can’t go wrong.”
Femiano, one of Brooklyn’s elite running backs last season, returns along with speedy quarterback Chris Parker. They will be joined by sophomore Tegha Egbiri in the backfield and don’t be surprised if freshman Fara’ad McCombs makes some noise as well.
Keeping that group of running backs protected will be a huge and powerful front line that consists of 6-foot-5, 270-pound senior Jacob Small; 6-foot-3, 275-pound senior Edel Nicholas; 6-foot-6, 360-pound junior Justin Morgan; and 6-foot-5, 300-pound sophomore Isaiah Wilson. The size of that line puts brick walls to shame.
“We’re pretty big up front this year,” Poly Prep head coach Dino Mangiero said. “We have two 6-5 kids up there at tackle [who] are both over 300-pounds and can lean on people.”
“It’s not too bad running when you go eight yards without getting touched,” Femiano added. “You are going to be pretty good doing that.”
Mangiero would also like to see his quarterback Parker throw a little more this year and he should have success doing that with talented senior Devin Rose to throw to. Sophomore Nick Storz and junior Ray Marten, both tight ends, will help block and provide decent options should Parker look to pass.
“Those two are probably the most important, the tight ends,” Parker said of Storz and Marten. “They have heart and without them we can’t do more than half of the things that we can.”
Poly Prep is set on defense with many of the same offensive stars playing defense as well. Mangiero said he expects big contributions from defensive back Torres Brown and linebacker Joseph Elci.
Mangiero added that having so many two-way players can work against them, though.
“It’s so fragile here at Poly because we have eight or nine guys going both ways,” said Mangiero, who only has 29 players on his entire roster. “Last year we were winning the game [against Friendship High School] and our quarterback gets hurt. So then you have to play a kid that didn’t play all year, he throws a couple of interceptions and we lose the last game of the season.
“Four years ago, we had five two-way starters, and we went 2-7,” Mangiero continued. “So we can be 2-7 this year if the right two or three guys get hurt or we can go undefeated.”
Poly Prep starts off against Cardinal Hayes in the Bronx on Saturday.
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