Written by Vinny Messana Thursday, 12 September 2013 00:00
Coming off a disappointing first-round exit in the playoffs last season, Mineola football is looking to make some serious noise in Conference IV of Nassau County. Many of the team’s impact players from last season are returning, and the added experience could spell trouble for their foes.
“We have a good group of returning players,” said head coach Dan Guido, starting his 27th season at the helm of the Mustangs.
Leading that pack will be All-County quarterback Vinny Bienick, an intimidating 6’2” and 190 lbs. He is a dual threat with his arm and legs, challenging defenses that have difficulty containing the multidimensional signal-caller.
Bienick will have help from a tremendous offensive line, which Guido noted is a strength of the team. Anthony Caruso, Timmy Natale and Christian Martin are all physically gifted athletes that will be protecting the quarterback on offense, and disrupting the opposing QB on defense.
It will be important to have a strong backfield as well, due to Guido’s spread offense. He will be using James Gerstner, Ryan Eccher and Kyle Dunleavy as pass-catching running backs in order to create a balanced attack.
This year’s crop of wide receivers features first-year player Timmy Gill, who is making the switch from lacrosse, as well as Peter McCormack and John Clancy. They must replace the production of recent graduate Bobby Rogers.
The team is exceptionally deep. “It’s not common that there are back-to-back classes as strong as the current group of juniors and seniors,” said Guido. This bodes well not only for 2013 but also next season as well.
The obstacle is, of course, the conference.
“The league is a very difficult one,” said Guido. “Even the teams not in the playoffs are tough.” No. 1 ranked Roosevelt, beaten in last year’s Long Island Championship by Babylon, will be “returning nine players on each side of the ball,” according to Guido. West Hempstead is the No. 2 ranked team, their season was cut short by Roosevelt in the playoffs.
Mineola will be looking to return to the playoffs for the fifth time in six years. Last year they could have made it even further had it not been for two devastating losses, including a 29-28 overtime loss to Island Trees.
Nevertheless, the team will be looking to knock off the top teams. That mission will begin Sept. 12, as they travel to Locust Valley for a 4:30 p.m. match-up.