The Patchogue-Medford football team is the middle of a two-year playoff drought and its preseason seeding would make it appear as a third year will be added this fall. But don’t tell that to the players.
“We definitely want to upset a lot of people,” said quarterback John Bullard, taking over the offense this season. “We’re ranked pretty low but we think that’s mostly because of last year and we think we have a lot of talent this year and that we can really upset some teams.”
The Raiders enter the year ranked No. 10 out of 13 Suffolk I schools. After a 3-5 season which coach Gary Marangi said graduated the entirety of their starting skill position players, the offensive line, featuring Matt Hard and Jordan McGinn, will have an added responsibility.
“We’re really excited,” said McGinn, the starting center. “We can’t wait to get on the field after not making the playoffs the last two years. We have a chip on our shoulder. We’re just trying to come out and shock the league.”
James Terribile, the athletic linebacker and fullback entering his third varsity season, leads the Raiders. With his experience, he hopes to pass on what he’s learned from previous years to the rest of the team.
“It was hard the first two years so I’m really looking forward to getting to it,” Terribile said. “Being a senior, I’m one of the leaders so I really get to push this team the direction I want it to go and hopefully it’s a positive way.”
Bullard, who did start one game at quarterback last season, said that experience will help him this fall. He believes the Raiders are much more talented than how others view them.
“I think we are pretty balanced,” Bullard said. “We are strong everywhere. Defensively, offensively, the lines. And we have some good skill kids that can make some plays.”
And the goals for Patchogue-Medford haven’t changed.
“I always want to make the playoffs,” Marangi said. “I want to make the playoffs. We’re a 10th seed, so it’s a little harder to do that so you have to have a pretty good season but that’s what I want to do, I want to make playoffs. The last two years we didn’t make it, it’s not really what we look for here. We want to be a playoff team every year.”
Marangi and Terribile have liked what they’ve been with the team’s commitment level, and the linebacker believes this season may be different.
“I haven’t made the playoffs in the two sports I’ve been in, three seasons each, so I’m really hungry to get there,” Terribile said. “And I think we have the group of kids that can really get there if we play our best.
“I can’t wait. Senior year, it’s going to be a fun one.”