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After year off, Ryan Sandberg returns for West Hempstead football

West Hempstead quarterback Ryan Sandberg throws a pass

West Hempstead quarterback Ryan Sandberg throws a pass during practice on Tuesday, Aug. 18, 2015. Photo Credit: Newsday / Peter Cappiello

Ryan Sandberg's play Tuesday at practice didn't make it obvious.

But, the last time he played football for West Hempstead, he was as a sophomore on the junior varsity team.

Sandberg, now a senior, is the new starting quarterback for varsity. He joins a West Hempstead team ranked as the No. 4 seed in Nassau Conference IV.

Sandberg said he took a break from the gridiron last year to play ice hockey - a sport he since has quit - and varsity baseball, where he was a pitcher and shortstop.

But football was something he said he needed to play during his final year.

Asked what's different at the varsity level, Sandberg joked, "We're all bigger now."

At 5-11, 155 pounds, he said he feeds off the responsibility of being quarterback and believes it's "going to be a fun year."

Sandberg said he is comfortable with West Hempstead's double-wing offense since he ran the same one as a JV player.

"We get the chance to pass and they're not ready for it so we can come out with a big play and surprise them with a pass," Sandberg said.

West Hempstead coach Dominic Carre said Sandberg put in extra work this summer to prepare for the season.

"He threw once a week as a team and he came to 7-on-7," Carre said. "He's an athlete, he's tough. He plays baseball, he's got a good arm and he's smart. He'll be fine."

Brendan Sheeler, a senior tight end, said the team is comfortable with Sandberg as the quarterback. He said Sandberg doesn't have a favorite target, but the two have good chemistry.

"He's really good on the boot," Sheeler said. "He's fast and when he runs down the line to throw the ball, he can throw 50 yards. He just bombs it.

"He has a good mindset. He's always focused and he's a good leader. He keeps the whole team going."


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