MAMARONECK, N.Y. — Mamaroneck varsity football coach Anthony Vitti subscribes to a time-honored football tradition.
“I believe that defense wins championships,” said Vitti, a former Mamaroneck football and wrestling standout. “Our first practice every year we work on defense. We stress tackling and pursuit to the ball.”
Through two games, Mamaroneck’s defense has established itself as a force, limiting Suffern and Mount Vernon to 15 points. In the 29-8 victory over Mount Vernon, Mamaroneck registered five quarterback sacks.
The Tigers replaced nine graduated starters from the 2011 defense. The only returning starters were defensive back Matt Marino and outside linebacker John Shudy.
“The players who left set high standards on defense,” Vitti said. “Coming back this year, not knowing what we had on defense, the players want to continue the high standards.”
Mamaroneck’s depth allows the team to rotate in players on the defensive line, Vitti said.
“We want to keep them fresh,” he said. “The players practice hard, so we want to give them their opportunities. We like to bring kids in and see what they can do on the field. Everyone understands they have a role on the team, and we put them in positions where they can succeed.”
Senior offensive lineman Peter Harris is one of the starters on the defensive line. Sophomore Marquez Jackson-Allen, a first-year varsity player, is excelling at linebacker.
Even though Mamaroneck is only plus-2 in takeaways, Vitti is pleased because his defense is playing solid.
“Against Suffern, they had a fourth-and-1 and we came in, held the ball carrier up and stripped the ball,” Vitti said. “We are hunting the football and we are also limiting what I call the splash plays, 15-yard-or-more runs and pass plays longer than 20 yards.”