A new year for Aquinas
Posted at: 08/23/2012 5:27 PM
| Updated at: 08/23/2012 6:36 PM
By: Robin De Wind | WHEC.com
The high school football season gets underway next weekend. The team that has always has a target on their back, Aquinas.
Aquinas has been the Section V Class A Champions for the past six years, but this year, they jump up to Class AA. They’ve lost key seniors, have a freshman at quarterback and will now face bigger teams with potentially more depth. Players say that’s okay.
Aquinas football and success go hand-in-hand. Head coach Chris Battaglia takes nothing from granted and sees every year as a challenge, but this season may feel a little different.
Chris Battaglia, Aquinas Head Coach, said, “I don't know if there are many teams that have lost a kid that's going to Notre Dame and a kid going to Pitt and West Point, but last year we played a lot of young guys so there are juniors, this is their chance to make a name for themselves and try to carry on the tradition of our football team.”
Calling it a changing of the guard, the youth of this team must now lead. Freshman Jake Zembiec is expected to start under center, but when you have last year’s state player of the year running the ball, you might feel a little better about having such a young quarterback.
Senior Billy Lombardi is ready to take the lead.
Billy Lombardi, senior, said, “The added responsibility isn't just running the ball it comes from leadership as well I know I'm going to get the ball I might get the ball and we'll be running more that's totally fine with me.”
Being a perennial powerhouse forces Aquinas to jump up a class to Class AA. They’ll now face Pittsford, Gates and Rush Henrietta. It’s a challenge the Little Irish looks forward to.
Alec Clanton, guard, defensive end, said, “I don't think it's anything to be concerned about. It just puts more pressure on other guys to fill those jobs which I think we have a lot of depth.
Battaglia said, “We're a pretty young team. Moving up to double A is going to be different experience, tougher competition and hopefully it will work out for us.”
Players say added motivation for this season, avenging last year’s state semifinals loss, falling short of their quest to repeat as state champs.