Written by Nick Palma Friday, 04 December 2009 00:00
The 2009 varsity football season began with great expectations. With several returning seniors and an athletic group of players, the Mustangs looked to take their season deep into November playoffs. Coach Dan Guido infused a new offense to fully utilize the talents of several skilled position players and after a summer where the team conditioned and prepared for the season there was reason for optimism. This early optimism gave way to a disappointing season for the Mineola Mustang football team as they finished the year with a 3-5 record, missing the playoffs.
There were high expectations from both coach Guido and the Mineola fans, but the team just couldn’t find any consistency throughout the year. Illness and injuries seemed to slow down the Mustangs as they were missing key players for many of the games and practices.
The Mustangs had a tough schedule along the way, as they played the top four projected teams in Conference IV — Seaford, Roosevelt, Malverne, and Locust Valley. Their three wins came against Floral Park, Valley Stream North, and Friends Academy. A loss to Carle Place proved to be tough to overcome as the Mustangs were left needing a win to gain a playoff spot against conference powerhouses Roosevelt and Seaford.
The Mustangs night homecoming game against Malverne High School was a microcosm of the season. Mineola played tough and made some great plays on both sides of the ball in front of a large crowd at Hampton Stadium. Malverne held a slim lead going into the half. The game turned on two key turnovers in the third quarter that proved to be insurmountable and the Mustangs fell 27-20.
The Mustangs recorded impressive wins over Floral Park High School (County Semifinalist) by a score of 22-15 and Valley Stream North High School by a score of 34-21.
The team was led in tackles by senior Juan Lopez as he battled with a knee injury throughout the year. Both senior captains Joe Hill and Mike Escobar were granted All-County honors as they will look forward to playing in the Nassau County All-Star game. Hill played great on both offense and defense. Joe is planning on attending and playing football at Hamline College in St. Paul, Minnesota.
At the quarterback position, Escobar had 352 rushing yards, 575 passing yards and had a total of eight touchdowns. He not only played offense, but played excellent defense as well, totaling 28 tackles and 22 assists, along with an interception and two sacks. Mike holds an academic average of 98 and Columbia University and Swarthmore College are among the schools he is applying to.
The team will shoot for success and playoffs next year again, as they have many young players coming up from the junior varsity team that exhibited toughness and skill in their 4-4 season. The coaches and players appreciate the support from all of the parents and spectators throughout the season.