Central Islip football doesn’t want to hear about its preseason ranking.
Coming off a 3-5 season and with quarterback Livingstone Harriott Jr. graduating and now playing wide receiver at Brown, the Musketeers enter 2016 seeded last -- No. 14 -- in Suffolk Division I.
But that hasn’t dampened their expectations.
“We’ll probably use it as a lot of motivation, but to me, it doesn’t really matter,” said running back and linebacker Ishmael Wade. “It matters what you do on the field. It doesn’t really matter how you do rankings wise.”
Wade rushed for 270 yards and two touchdowns last season and will see an increased role this year. Ryan Reteguiz will see time at quarterback, running back and wide receiver. Reteguiz understands his role as a leader.
“Me and Ishmael have been trying to guide the younger guys to keep practicing and getting in the weight room,” Reteguiz said. “Keep coming and don’t let anything stop them from coming. Make this a priority.”
Reteguiz has built chemistry this offseason with Michael Hennie, who has the daunting task of replacing the decorated Harriott. Hennie said he’s focusing on not trying to do too much with the football, limit turnovers and play within himself. Most importantly, keep composure.
“It’s going to be just more pressure really,” said Hennie, a junior, about the move from JV to varsity. “There’s going to be a lot more people watching. Besides that, nothing. Maybe the people get taller and faster, but nothing really.”
Hennie’s enjoyed leaning on the experienced varsity players to ease his learning curve.
“They just know more stuff so it’s kind of easier because you don’t need to explain to them everything,” he said. “They are explaining things to me and helping me so it’s better this way.”
Central Islip also will receive contributions from Devin Bradshaw, who didn’t play last season, at wide receiver and defensive back along with Christopher Plummer at offensive and defensive line. William Nixon will help create running lanes for the offense at fullback.
Coach Rob Gadsden listed speed as the team’s main strength. Hennie can move around in the pocket with a good football IQ and will be surrounded by quick, agile players.
Reteguiz said he’s been playing with Hennie since they were kids, which has helped the chemistry leading into the season.
“We’ve known each other since we were young so it helps everything,” Reteguiz said. “No arguments. Just whatever we ask for and whatever we need, we get it done.”