By ALEX SPONSELLER For the first time in two years, the Cranston West football team kicked off its preseason in August as it began practicing this week on campus. West had an up-and-down spring season earlier this year, finishing 1-4 and failing to reach
By ALEX SPONSELLER For the first time in two years, the Cranston West football team kicked off its preseason in August as it began practicing this week on campus.
West had an up-and-down spring season earlier this year, finishing 1-4 and failing to reach the postseason. The Falcons return a young core this time around, but they are hungry to get back into the postseason and right the ship.
“It feels normal, it feels good to be back on our normal schedule and to have our training camp back in August. We have some key guys coming back and they have been working hard. We are ready to go,” said West head coach Tom Milewski. “Last spring gave us a chance to give some of the younger guys some reps, a lot of the things are still fresh on their minds which has helped the learning part. They’ve been stepping up.”
“It’s early on, but I think we look pretty good right now we’re just happy to be back out there,” added West senior Rory Perrino. “The younger guys are coming along well, they just need to keep focusing and paying attention. It motivates the hell out of us (coming off a down season), so we just need to keep working and keep grinding.”
Junior Matt Defusco is set to take over as the full-time quarterback after the team used a rotation in the spring season. Defusco feels much more settled in while under center this fall.
“I plan to do whatever I have to do for the team. I’m feeling pretty comfortable with the plays, a lot of the plays felt rushed last year. I’ve been able to practice with my team and feel pretty comfortable with it. I’m just going to do my best this year,” said Defusco.
Milewski added: “Matty worked hard. We did a summer league which gave him a little bit more work, worked on the running game, the passing game. He’s improved leaps and bounds and did everything that he could have done. He’s starting to take over that leadership role, taking command in the huddle. He’s definitely gotten better since April.”
Another important piece is two-way player Marcus Chung, who enjoyed a breakout campaign a few months back.
“Last year I worked really hard and earned my starting spot at slot (receiver) and cornerback. I just want to go crazy this year. I know that there will be a lot of eyes on me so I just need to continue to work hard at practice for my team,” said Chung.
The Falcons are also looking forward to welcoming back some old traditions, as well as a full-capacity crowd.
“It’s been a lot of fun so far, we’re definitely ready to take some wins and get to the playoffs. I’m also excited to get the Thanksgiving game this year since we didn’t get it last year which was my first on varsity,” said senior Anthony Perrotta.
“It’s exciting because last year we didn’t get to have fans in the stands, it was kind of a dead atmosphere, so it will be a lot of fun to have fans back in the crowd for the injury fund game against Coventry,” added Chung. “I’m just really happy and excited to get back out there with my team and with fans in the stands.”
As opening day approaches, Milewski and his staff have been focused on mental preparation as the young squad looks to hit the ground running.
“Persistence (will be key). Persistence and mental toughness which we have been working on. We’ve been trying to get them conditioned right off the bat, trying to practice tired since the later you get into the game the more tired you get, when you start to lose your composure a little bit. Persistence will be important for these guys,” said Milewski.