Switching conferences can create some challenges, but when you’re bringing along a versatile and experienced quarterback who can change the game with either his arm or legs, the unknown can work to your advantage.
Senior Ryan Aughavin is set for his second season leading North Shore as the team moves from Nassau Conference III to Conference IV.
The 6-foot, 175-pounder is capable of unleashing passes and runs with equal tenacity and frequency, and his new opponents will need to study quickly.
“He’s something else,” senior running back/linebacker John Magliocco said. “The kid’s probably one of the most athletic kids I’ve known for a long time.”
Aughavin threw for 1,233 yards and 13 touchdowns on 72 completions last season, but his rushing numbers should catch just as much attention. He ran 86 times for 866 yards and nine touchdowns as North Shore went 5-4.
“Last year we had a lot of senior receivers. They laid the ropes down,” Aughavin said. “They taught me about the speed of the game from JV to varsity. Now it’s time to teach the younger guys the same thing they taught me.”
Aughavin’s ability at playmaking can help keep defenses off-balance when they’re not familiar with his style. Advantage: conference newcomers.
“They really don’t expect what he’s going to do.” Magliocco said.
Coach Dan Agovino said Aughavin genuinely enjoys playing and the team feeds off his energy. A can-do attitude helps quell any doubts ahead of big plays.
“Ryan is a very relaxed young man,” Agovino said. “Third-and-15, he’s one of those ‘I got it coach’ types.”
The quickness and athleticism that Aughavin built while playing lacrosse is a big part of his success on the football field, but a tough offensive line can make all the difference. Senior Kyle Daley and junior Roman Iuvara will be big factors there this year.
“They’re really the most essential part,” Aughavin said. “They create the gaps. They do the dirty work. You need them to step it up and play great.”
Magliocco and fellow senior running back Sal Caccavale will be two other impact players benefitting from the line.
“I let them know ‘let’s keep doing this together. I need you guys and you need me,’” Magliocco said.
After two years in Conference III, the switch will pit the Vikings against different opponents including Locust Valley, which made it to the Long Island Championship before losing to Shoreham-Wading River, and Seaford, which lost to Locust Valley in the county championship.
Third-seeded North Shore, which lost to Bethpage in the Nassau III quarterfinals, opens the season against top-seeded Seaford in the first game. There’s not a lot of time to get comfortable.
“It helps that we run the spread,” Aughavin said. “Conference IV doesn’t have a lot of the spread.”
That’s where the shroud of mystery helps again.
“They won’t have much film on us for that first game,” he said, “and it’ll help us.”