It’s possible to imagine that Beach Channel could let the events of last October’s Hurricane Sandy cast a shadow on its football season.
While there are a number of obstacles in the way of the Dolphins, head Coach Victor Nazario has seen an optimistic attitude throughout preseason practices despite the hardships his squad will have to overcome
“We still haven’t completely recovered,” he said. “We have no home field. No locker room. No equipment room. To our credit the kids are upbeat just like the coaching staff.”
Nazario has stored a lot of the football equipment in the basement at his home. That equipment is driven to a field steps away from the Rockaway boardwalk shared with the local Rockaway Ravens youth team. Beach Channel has to play league games at Far Rockaway High School while its home field undergoes repairs in the fall.
The new location has given Nazario ideas to make practice more interesting by holding running exercises on the Rockaway boardwalk or the hard sand on the beach. It has helped the team begin the bonding process, according to senior running back Chris Reed.
“We just got to get everyone mentally focused and everyone get on the same page,” Reed said. “Everyone has to get the mindset to play on any field.”
Beach Channel had a good debut in the PSAL Championship division with a 5-4 record and a first round loss to Port Richmond in the playoffs. It was a team that overachieved with limited experience, yet received top performances by former lineman Foley Fatukasi, now a freshman playing at the University of Connecticut, quarterback Breland Archbold (C.W. Post) and other seniors that have departed.
Nazario is stressing an open competition in key starting positions, but he sees team speed being one of the biggest strengths. Beach Channel is counting on a number of returning players like Reed, a senior running back, to not just rush for 1,000-plus yards on the ground, but lead as one of the team captains.
“I have to set my goals to a high standard to what I want to achieve this season,” Reed said. “Everyone on this team has to push each other.”
Junior transfer Darren Koomson arrives from Grand Street Campus to take over at quarterback. He will have experience besides him with Michael Stanley starting his senior season at wide receiver. Kyzer Louis features out of the backfield alongside fullback Michael Manroup.
The Dolphins believe their defense will play a big role. Kajeen Lucas returns to start on the defensive line, Clyde Tiimmer and sophomore Lawrence Binger are emerging as possible starters at linebacker. Reed and Stanley anchor the cornerback positions.
Beach Channel has to bring that competitive attitude established in practice toward a regular season that features more logistical challenge than in the past.
“We work as hard as we possibly can,” Nazario said. “Hopefully, we can carry that over to a successful season.”
©2013 Community News Group
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