Jason Shlonsky is used to playing a pivotal spot on the field. As the last line of defense at free safety, Shlonsky has played a critical role as a starter the last two seasons, showing the ability to scan the entire field as plays develop around him.

This season he’ll take those skills to the other side of the ball as Mount Sinai’s starting quarterback.

An injury pushed Shlonsky into the starting quarterback spot two years ago as a sophomore but he spent last season as a running back. He said he’s ready to take on the responsibility full time.

“My sophomore year was a little tough because I didn’t play football in ninth grade and jumped right into the starting quarterback role and it wasn’t an easy transition,” he said. “I feel like I’ve paid my dues — I’ve taken my fair share of sacks and hits and made some good plays and some bad plays — so all that experience is really going to help me this year.”

Shlonsky will be joined in both the offensive and defensive backfield by fellow senior Michael Carneiro. As a halfback, Carneiro ran for 1,240 yards and 11 touchdowns, according to coach Vin Ammirato. Carneiro adds speed and experience to a secondary that will also return starter Andrew Fiore.

“We’ve been playing together since before middle school and our communication is off the chart,” Carneiro said. “We’re constantly talking and communicating. Everyone back there has great feet and great hitting and tackling ability so I’m really confident.”

“We can play a lot of man coverage because of the athletes we have back there and our chemistry is awesome,” Shlonsky said.

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Bobby Christ will be a big part of a young offensive line that he said is showing progress. “We started out a little shaky but we’re making a lot of progress and doing even better than I expected.”

It all adds up to a Mustang team that is eager to get back on the field after a tough postseason loss last year.

“We may not all be 6-1 but we’ll hit like a bigger guy,” Carneiro said. “You can’t underestimate anyone even if they’re not the biggest guy on the field.”