Don’t let Bay Shore football’s 2-6 record last season fool you.
At first glance, sure, it doesn’t look good. But with four of six losses coming in one-score games, Bay Shore’s offseason has been focused on closing games the right way.
“The key will be to finish and that’s weight room stuff, too” said senior quarterback and defensive back Matt Ilchuk. “A lot of times we were in games in the fourth quarter, and at least half time, and we didn’t finish.”
“We always come out strong in the first quarter,” said senior wide receiver and defensive back Christopher Charles-Pierre. “Second quarter, third quarter we kind of die out, fourth quarter we die out. We just need to keep it going.”
Coach Craig Blatter considers Ilchuk one of the most athletic players in Suffolk Division I. Ilchuk, a Lehigh lacrosse commit, passed for 856 yards and eight touchdowns last season. The dual-threat quarterback also ran for 710 yards with 13 touchdowns. Before last year, he was a wide receiver but played quarterback growing up.
“I was still kind of getting used to everything, like my reads and stuff at full-game speed,” Ilchuk said. “So this year, even at 7-on-7 and stuff, I’m more comfortable with reads and everything so my experience from last year should help.”
Bay Shore will rely on its big offensive and defensive line, which includes Nasai Mimms, Marvin St. Juste, Dan Mejia, Josh Vargas, Matt Mirabito (a junior at 6-7, 325 pounds which Blatter called a Division I prospect) and Nassiah Wilson. Wilson, a linebacker, had 62 tackles and four sacks last season and has spent this offseason in the weight room and working on pass coverages to be even better this year.
“I didn’t have a good year, in my opinion,” Wilson said. “I know I can do better so I’ve just worked hard in the offseason and I’m going to try to be dominant.”
This could be the season Bay Shore breaks through for a playoff spot for the first time since 2012. The Marauders enter this season as the No. 8 seed in their 14-team division. Kevin Sammis, a 6-6 junior wide receiver, is another player Blatter believes could be a difference maker and potential Division I player.
“We have a really athletic team and a lot of experienced kids,” Ilchuk said, “so just putting everything together in the offseason and getting stronger in the weight room, it’s been good.”