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Rye Neck Football Ready For Turnaround In 2012

MAMARONECK, N.Y. – The Rye Neck varsity football mantra for the 2012 season was established on the first day of practice.

“Coach talked about it and told us we had to play as a team and work together as a team, right down to every detail,” senior Matthew Brennan said of Rye Neck varsity coach Nick Ianello. “He has also told us that we are accountable for our own actions.”

Ianello’s point has gotten through to Brennan and his teammates as Rye Neck aims for a return to the Section 1 Class C playoffs. The Panthers qualified in 2009, when Brennan was a freshman.

Brennan said Rye Neck has had a good first week of practice and it will only get better.

“I feel that this year there is more synergy on the team than in years past,” said Brennan, who will start at center and defensive tackle. “Everybody has listened and believes in what coach is saying about being a team. People are more dedicated, and we‘re more cohesive than last year.”

Rye Neck is in good shape heading into the season, returning a large number of starters, led by the captains – seniors Alex Anderson, Nick Cannon, Mike Spiegel and Brennan – and the two junior captains – Jacob Calvini and Thomas Pipolo. Seniors Rafael Mastanza and Mike Kopy also return as two-way starters.

Brennan, Mastanza and Spiegel anchor the offensive line, providing the holes for the running backs and Pipolo, who engineered the offense last year.

“We have a lot of returnees, including our entire offensive line,” Brennan said. “Everyone has the experience, so we know what we have to do.

“We are definitely ahead of where we were at this point last year. We’ve been having good, hard practices and we are ready to come out of preseason all together.”

Rye Neck will go to Hendrick Hudson for a group of scrimmages on Thursday and also scrimmage Valhalla on Saturday. The Panthers will host Blind Brook to open the season on Saturday, Sept. 8.

“We think we have a chance to do good things on the football field this season,” Brennan said.

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