Garnet Valley Football Preview
Last season the Garnet Valley Jaguars finished losing only one game in the regular season and headed into the playoffs with an 8-1 record. In the playoffs, the Jaguars went all the way to Hershey and the State Championship game. Head coach Mike Ricci said “Last year was a great year. We had a lot of fun, loved the community support and the school support. We were really proud of what we accomplished, but we already put that behind us and we’re looking to form our own identity for this year.
From August 17 to August 23 Coach Mike Ricci held a mandatory football camp for everyone on the team. For seven days the Jaguar football players slept at their school (Garnet Valley High School) and were around each other, the coaching staff, and football. Before heading to camp, the Jaguars held a home scrimmage against Great Valley, a scrimmage which helped the coaching staff see what the Jaguars needed to work on. Then hours later, the whole team reported to camp and was ready for a long week ahead.
A day at Coach Ricci’s camp is from 6am to 10pm. Coach Ricci said “We get the kids up at 6am and we’re on the field at 6:30am for a special teams’ skills hour practice. We eat breakfast at 7:45am, we have pre-practice meetings at 9am, we practice from 9:30am to 11:30am, and then we eat lunch at noon. Then we all have a little bit of down time and we lift every other day for a half an hour. We have another practice from 3pm to 5pm. Dinner is at 5:30pm and then we come out again for one more practice at 6:45pm until 8pm. Then the families come up from 8pm to 9pm. We have water ice, pretzels, there may be a meeting at 9pm and then the players go to bed at 10pm. We get up and do it again the next day.”
Coach Ricci said this camp greatly improves players. “The camp does a great job on preparing us on a lot of different levels. Obviously from a football stand point we’re able to prepare our offense, defense, special teams, and we’re able to work on our fundamentals, but from a team bonding stand point, we spend a lot of time together and we’re really able to spend quality time that we wouldn’t be able to do if we weren’t staying at camp.”
This year the Jaguars will have to prepare just that much more because they moved from Class AAA to Classification (AAAA) and will be entering the Central League. Moving to Class AAAA Coach Ricci said “We’re that size school now, and if that’s the size school you are, that’s who you play. So our philosophy is we can’t worry about what other people do, we can only control what Garnet Valley does. We just want to be as good as we can be and whatever challenges we come across we want to do our best to face them and mount them.”
This season the Garnet Valley Jaguars will be lead by Mark McHugh at quarterback. Behind McHugh will be running backs Tim Keyser, Chris Palaio, and Jared Bonacquisti. Catching for the Jaguars is Paul Dunn and Jim Gray. On defense the opposing quarterback will be heavily rushed by Nick Garcia, Ryan Canzanese, Joe Avellino, Sean Breen, Sean Kershaw and Jeff Martin. Also on defense Regis Whittington should play a big part along with Matt McGraw and Justin Culp. Protecting the Jaguars’ quarterback is John Albany, Mike Fecile, Tim Putman, and Connor Price. The captains of the Jaguars are Jared Bonacquisti, Mike Fecile, Connor Price, and John Skinner.
Every game the Jaguars will play this year will be a league game. The Jaguars will play Harriton, Penncrest, Marple Newtown, Strath Haven, Conestoga, Haverford, Springfield, Radnor, Lower Merion, Ridley (on Halloween night) and Upper Darby (if necessary). This year’s schedule consists of much tougher teams than last year. The Jaguars have worked hard on and off the field to prepare to battle for the first time in Class AAAA and in the Central League. Their goal….get back to Hershey.
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