St. Anthony's football coach Rich Reichert has a very capable, very experienced staff of assistants, but just in case the Friars' brain trust needs more input, they can look to quarterback Steven Genova.
"It's almost like he's another coach on the field," Reichert said of Genova, a senior who will be a first-year starter for the Friars, the defending CHSFL champions and this year's No. 1 seed. "He's really smart. He understands the offense and he's put in a tremendous amount of time watching film and on the blackboard with the coaches. He gave up lacrosse as a junior to focus on this. He's going to be a coach someday. That's what he really wants to do."
For the 5-11, 175-pound Genova, being a coach on the field means recognizing his own strengths as well as those of his teammates.
"I like to think I can do both, but I'm really more of a passer than a runner," Genova said. "I'll let Jordan [Gowins] do the running. That's why they call it 'running back.'"
Gowins won Newsday's Hansen Award as Suffolk County's most outstanding player last year as a junior and has already committed to Boston College, one of the nation's top rushing teams. He'll be the focal point of the Friars' two-year-old spread offense, taking a lot of heat off Genova.
"A lot of teams will stack the box for Jordan and that will open up some things," Genova said. "It's really exciting to be a part of this offense. Any one of our plays can go for a touchdown any time."
Genova spent last season paying close attention to what veteran starting quarterback Greg Galligan did in learning the spread after growing up with the Friars' celebrated triple-option.
"I took mental reps in practice and I've been comfortable with the spread since the spring," Genova said. "We've got a lot of good receivers, and of course, there's Jordan. It's a perfect offense for me."
Reichert said Genova "throws the ball really well, especially swing passes. He's got good touch on the ball. We're expecting a lot out of him."