Newsday goes deep with Long Island high school football.
Tufano catches on quick at Glenn
The pressure is on at Glenn, but as senior wide receiver Mike Tufano observed, it’s a good kind of pressure. It’s the kind that comes with winning two consecutive Long Island Class IV championships and being the team everyone circles on their schedule.
“It’s definitely great to be part of such a winning program,” said Tufano, who is expected to be the Knights’ go-to receiver in 2012, when they are once again the top seed in Division IV. “As seniors, we know we have to step up and work hard. We don’t want to be the team to let everyone down.”
Glenn has to replace a lot of talent, starting with wide receiver, where Nick Wagner who was an All-Long Island first-team selection last year. “We had Wagner. We had [Jon] Mannix. Now it’s my turn,” said Tufano, who caught 10 passes for 210 yards and a touchdown in 2011. “I can’t wait.”
“We need him to be a major factor for us,” Glenn coach Dave Shanahan said during Friday’s morning practice session at John Glenn High School. “We need him to catch the ball and run after the catch.”
In the last four seasons, the Knights have featured an explosive, big-play offense. Tufano is just one of several players who will have to raise their games to continue that trend. Another is quarterback Matt Shanerman, who takes over for Rich Czeczotka, a second-team All-Long Island choice. He ran for 210 yards and two touchdowns in spot duty last season.
No one wants Shanerman to succeed more than Tufano. “He’s my best friend,” Tufano said. “We’ve been friends since the first grade. People may not know about us, but we’re confident we can do the job.”
Shanahan called Tufano “one of our fastest players” and that’s saying something because team speed is one of Glenn’s strong points entering the 2012 season. “He’s a leader and an excellent athlete. We’re a ‘no-back’ team,” Shanahan said of the Knights’ spread formation that often features no other backs lined up next to the quarterback. “The receivers are a huge part of what we do.”
There’s a little more of that good pressure for Tufaro to deal with.