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HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL Camp excitement

August 18, 2018

GREENWICH — Anticipation and excitement was in the air when the Greenwich High School football team held its annual spring Red-White scrimmage in June, but Friday, the enthusiasm was even greater.

The first day of practice is a momentous occasion for players and coaches, who always mark such a day on their respective calendars. The eagerness to begin the upcoming season was evident among the more than 100 Cardinals players, who went through each drill during the team’s opening day of training camp.

“The expression that everyone uses about the first day of practice is, ‘it’s Christmas in August,’” Greenwich coach John Marinelli said. “Spring football was the first opportunity we had to build up our roster. The summer was an opportunity for each player to make an impression in the weight room and now preseason is the last opportunity to make impressions for our September 8th game. Three weeks until we start game week, so it’s fun, it’s exciting, but it comes up quickly and we have a lot of work to do.”

Greenwich is especially determined to build upon its successful 2017 campaign — a season in which it advanced to the championship game of the Class LL Tournament, where it lost to rival Darien.

“Last year I didn’t know how good we could be,” Marinelli said. “I just felt like it was a step-by-step process, but as the season went on, our player’s confidence grew. To get to the championship game was huge for these guys. It showed their hard work in the off-season paid off. It was good to bring the championship culture back to Greenwich.”

Here are some questions Marinelli answered about the Cardinals and some noteworthy items about the team, which opens its season at home against Trumbull on Sept. 8.

What aspect does the team need to improve upon the most from last season?

“Discipline, we need to be more productive with our discipline,” Marinelli said. “We were the best team in terms of penalties all season long until the playoffs. We have to coach the finer details and we can’t give up yards, due to penalties. This year, discipline has to be one of our strengths. In last year’s playoffs, even the games we won handily, we made too many mistakes, so that’s one of the issues we need to focus on the most.”

At what position does the team possess the most depth?

“Running back might be our strongest position,” Marinelli said. “We have four running backs who can start and that’s a credit to coach (Wayne) Gioffre and what he does with that group. Tysen Comizio (1,379 yards rushing, 20 touchdowns in 2017), Jack Warren (166 yards, 5.4 yards per carry), Spencer Hartley and Hunter Clark — those four guys have stepped up and I think, they’re going to do a tremendous job.”

What are the the squad’s main strengths and what will it take to maintain them?

“We have experienced players like (starting quarterback) Gavin Muir, who have been in big-game situations before,” Marinelli said. “Our team speed is tremendous. We have guys who are really quick and one of our goals is to get them in open space. Defensively, we have players who have the ability to swarm to the ball. That’s one of the great things about us — so many of our players are fast.”

After last season’s success, do you believe the team must have a different mentality, since opponents will be extra motivated to play Greenwich?

“Coach (Dac) Newton (offensive coordinator) and I came from New Canaan, where we started out as the hunted every year and we had that target on our back,” Marinelli said. “That’s how it’s going to be with us this year and we have to relish that role. Teams are going to give us their best and they are going to play us like it’s the Super Bowl, so we have to be prepared for that approach.”

The Cardinals captains : Muir, Comizio, linebacker Jack Feda, linebacker Mozi Bici and wide receiver/defensive back Charlie Ducret will captain the squad.

2017 statistical leaders : Muir passed for 2,902 yards with 33 touchdowns. Comizio rushed for 1,379 yards and 20 touchdowns and receiver Lance Large had a team-high 42 receptions as a junior last season for 411 yards and five scores.

Preseason : Greenwich scrimmages Brunswick School at Brunswick on Aug. 27 at 4 p.m. The Cardinals will host Cardinal Hayes on Aug. 29.

Season opener: The Cards host Trumbull on Sept. 8 at 4 p.m.

dfierro@greenwichtime.com

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