New faces, same expectations.
MacArthur football graduated many of its impact players from last season’s Long Island Championship berth, but coach Bobby Fehrenbach is already showing confidence in the team’s newcomers.
While the first-team offense ran plays on Saturday morning at MacArthur High School, Fehrenbach was clear with his expectations for the upcoming season.
“We’re always competitive,” he said. “It’s just a matter of getting these kids experience.”
The Generals scored 386 points last season but return players who accounted for only 24 of them. There are first-time receivers, running backs and linemen along the offense. Kyle Acquavella will take the reigns as the starting quarterback after playing junior varsity last season.
Acquavella throws a crisp ball and moves well in the pocket — though he and Fehrenbach have been working on improving the junior’s footwork. Acquavella stands out for his poise under center, but also for the fact that he wears gloves on both hands, regardless of the weather conditions.
“I just feel better with gloves than without,” he said. “I used to play receiver before I started playing quarterback last year.”
His receivers said they don’t mind, especially if Acquavella can make all the throws the offense asks. He looked strong during most sets in practice, unleashing strong throws off his back foot and making accurate passes on the run.
Senior Mike Manfredo is expected to be his most trusted weapon. A wide receiver on the depth chart, Manfredo isn’t limited to catching passes. He also lines up in the backfield as a runner and under center as a change-of-pace quarterback.
He’s also one of the team’s leaders. After all, he’s one of the most experienced players the Generals have.
“We lost a lot of seniors,” he said. “There are a bunch of juniors coming up who have to learn the offense and become familiar with everybody so we can build chemistry back up. It’s still a process, but we’re going to get it.”