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Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Middletown football sets sights on big season

 Middletown football sets sights on big season 

By Jimmy Zanor, The Middletown Press

MIDDLETOWN --- Middletown’s 21-14 loss to Masuk in last year’s Class L quarterfinals was the elephant in the Blue Dragon’s weight room this offseason.

The defeat, one in which Middletown squandered a two touchdown lead in the second half, still seemed to linger Tuesday at the Keigwin Middle School where head coach Sal Morello pushed his team through some practice drills on a patch of grass that was starved for water.

The Blue Dragons are also hungry. And poised for a big season.

“(Masuk) was a tough loss,” said Morello, “but I tell you what, it’s led into a pretty good offseason in the weight room. We’ve got to learn from that experience. The kids seem to be hungry to get back there but at the same time it’s my job and the coach’s job to understand that there is a process and we’ve got to take it one step at a time.”

Middletown went 8-3 a year ago, losing to Class L finalists Windsor and Class LL champion Xavier before their playoff defeat.

“The big thing we learned from last year too is there has been a real big emphasis on taking care of the ball and on defense going to get the ball,” Morello said. “So we shot ourselves a little bit with that last year and that’s one area we definitely have to get better at.”

The Blue Dragons, who lost Isiah Swain, Otto Marcello, and Akeino Chamberlain to graduation, still possess enough speed to drive defensive coordinators crazy. But they’ve also added some size into the mix.

“We’re bigger than year’s past,” said Morello. “When people see Middletown or hear Middletown they think speed. I think we’re a little bigger and more physical. The weight room has really paid off. We’ve got three running backs over 200 pounds so we’re going to come downhill as well. And we think we’ve got some speed on the outside as well to really put some stress on a defense.”

Leading the way will be junior quarterback Dario Highsmith (5-11, 180), junior running back/linebacker Isiah Thompkins (6-1, 200), senior center Jeff Woodcock (5-11, 215), senior defensive end RaJahn Johnson (6-0, 211), senior receiver Jacob Homar (5-10), senior defensive tackle Sam Rivera (6-1, 280), senior linebacker Cody Carrillo (6-1, 185) and the Bednarz twins, senior linemen David (6-7, 275) and Anthony (6-7, 250).


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