As is the case for many schools at the start of a new season, the Blind Brook Football Team is in the process of rebuilding. After losing star players Ryan Schaenman and Justin Palmieri to graduation, the team had major gaps to fill heading into competition.
The overwhelmingly young team has been making surprising strides and is turning the heads of teams and coaches throughout the section. Although they are not a significant threat to most teams in the section this year, the team is building major talent for the years to come.
Many believe that in two years, this talent will bring the Blind Brook Football team to victory.
“I do think that they are going to make the playoffs for the second time in Blind Brook history. I think that they’re going to win the section,” said co-captain Freddy Heller, speaking of the team’s future.
Led by senior captains Justin DiCanio, Brandon Hamlet, Freddy Heller, and Dean Oppizzi, the Trojans are sitting one game away from a .500 record, with only one game left in the regular season.
Senior running back Dean Oppizzi believes that it has been a group effort that has helped the team exceed expectations and put up respectable numbers.
“Although Ryan and Justin left us big shoes to fill, we haven’t really changed much. Some of the underclassmen and kids who didn’t get a lot of time last year have really stepped up and made it much easier for the rest of us,” he said.
One underclassmen taking on a much larger role than last year is Oppizzi’s sophomore brother, Daniel, who is starting at quarterback. Replacing three-year starter and All-State Honorable Mention star Ryan Schaenman, who now plays at the collegiate level on the Union College Football Team, is a tall task.
“I definitely felt a good amount of pressure in the beginning of the season because I had big shoes to fill, and everyone is counting on me to lead our team to victory,” said Oppizzi.
Daniel Oppizzi credits the leadership of his captains and those around him for helping him to develop and improve as the season progressed.
“The captains are a hug part of why I’m starting to grow into the role of quarterback. When I mess up, they never yell at me or put me down, instead they always help me get through it,” he said.
“We are all confident in Daniel and know he can play the position well. We are with him one hundred percent of the way,” senior Justin DiCanio said.
After opening the season with a tough home loss at the hands of Putnam Valley, the Trojans rode a two game winning streak, outscoring foes Briarcliff and Palisade Prep 50-7.
Despite the team’s 20-12 loss to Valhalla during Homecoming weekend, Dean Oppizzi still has his mind set on making a deep run into the postseason.
“We understand that our competition is tough and making playoffs in a 15 team league is hard, but our goal throughout the season has been to make it to the postseason and try to get on a run,” he said.