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Sachem North undaunted by second-to-last seed

Chris Fasano, a Sachem North senior.

Chris Fasano, a Sachem North senior. Credit: Dave Falco

Sachem North football is looking to turn No. 13 into a lucky number.

After finishing 2-6 and missing the playoffs last season, the Flaming Arrows left the coaches meeting ranked second-to-last in Suffolk Division I.

But the players don’t care about that.

“Everybody wants to prove everybody wrong,” said linebacker and fullback John Mandola. “Everybody doubts us so it’s so much easier for people to expect nothing from us. So when we get out there playing hard, we’ll shock them.”

Sachem North is led by the 6-2, 250-pound Chris Fasano, a Bryant University commit, at offensive and defensive line. As one of the best linemen in the league, Fasano’s play and leadership will be called upon if the Flaming Arrows are to have a winning season.

“We’re a close-knit team,” said defensive end Donnie Newland. “We know we have the talent. We’ve proved it at camp and practice and [will] prove it in games.”

Sachem North is just three years removed from a Long Island championship victory. Newland was on the team that season and hopes this year’s team can emulate some of the same characteristics.

“I learned that it’s not just about how you play the game, it’s about the relationships you have with your teammates,” Newland said. “It really depends on how you bond, how you play with them because if you don’t bond your team, you pretty much can’t do anything.”

Sachem North also returns Austin McCormick at tight end and linebacker along with Tom Vaughan at running back and defensive back. Mike Phelan, along with Fasano, anchor the offensive line.

“There’s football keys that you learn from coaches and just in-game experiences, but you really realize that when we’re down and need a big stop, you can’t have a negative attitude,” Mandola said. “You got to be hyping everybody up because when you’re hyped and going crazy, the energy feeds. The energy is so attractive to everybody.”

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