The time is now for Half Hollow Hills West. At the end of every rebuilding process, there are fruits and, this year, the Colts intend to feast. And, should it come, success will taste sweeter than ever. Two seasons ago, the Colts brought up 10 sophomores from the junior varsity with the intention of building a championship-caliber team through seasoned leadership and incredible experience. The championship almost came last year, with the Colts coming one game away from an LIC berth, losing to East Islip in the Suffolk II final.
"It's all we thought about this offseason as we worked out and trained together," said quarterback Anthony Lucarelli, a third-year starter. "It was always in the back of our mind that we didn't quite make it and win the championship. It's definitely motivated us to get back."
Lucarelli played through a torn labrum last season, but the injury limited the Hills West passing game. Now, healthy again after offseason surgery, the senior will look to get back to the form that saw him throw for 1,300 yards as a sophomore.
While the injury did hamper Lucarelli's passing numbers last season, the experience he gained running the offense two years in a row will pay tremendous dividends for the quarterback this season. He described the playbook as being "second-nature."
A completely healthy Lucarelli, along with versatile junior Alexander Filacouris, will make the Colts' offense hard to contain. Filacouris, who can play wide receiver, quarterback and running back, scored 12 touchdowns and had over 1,000 all-purpose yards last season.
"I'm looking to improve upon what I did last year," Filacouris said. "I want to be more of a help. With one year under my belt, I'm more comfortable with our team. We're trying to build trust this year."
While Half Hollow Hills West might be tough, nothing is a done deal.
Riverhead boasts a strong defense, led by 220-pound defensive end Tyrese Kerr. He is "tremendously athletic" and can "learn any position on the field within 20 minutes," coach Leif Shay said. Newfield will also be in the mix, boasting a strong defense led by cornerback Elijah Riley, who made 34 solo tackles last year.
1. HALF HOLLOW HILLS WEST COLTS
2014 Record: 9-2
Coach: Kyle Madden, 16th year
Alexander Filacouris, WR/DB, 6-2, 200, Jr.
Anthony Lucarelli, QB/DB, 6-2, 180, Sr.
Lucas Digiorgi, RB/LB, 5-9, 220, Sr.
Frank Pizzurro, TE/LB, 6-0, 225, Sr.
Trevor Anton, OL/DL, 6-0, 280, Sr.
About the Colts: They return 10 starters from team that reached Suffolk II final. While they've always relied on speed and quickness, Colts now also have good size and strength to confront opponents.
2. RIVERHEAD BLUE WAVES
2014 Record: 6-3
Coach: Leif Shay, 17th year
Tyrese Kerr, TE/DE, 6-2, 220, Sr.
Sharron Trent, QB/FS, 5-11, 175, Sr.
Lewis Eastwood, OG/DT, 6-0, 230, Sr.
Curtis Flippen, WR/DB, 6-1, 170, Sr.
Blake Carrara, TE/OLB, 6-2, 225, Sr.
About the Blue Waves: Will win games on defense, with Kerr and Eastwood anchoring the line. Kerr is tremendously intelligent and can learn any position on the field. Carrara adds speed at linebacker. Offensively, they will move ball by working off play-action.
3. NEWFIELD WOLVERINES
2014 Record: 3-6
Coach: Joe Piccininni, 11th year
Elijah Riley, WR/CB, 6-0, 195, Sr.
Denzel Williams, RB/S, 5-11, 170, Sr.
Joe Saladino, G/DL, 5-11, 260, Sr.
Nick Favaloro, C/DL, 5-11, 220, Sr.
Dylan Ferrari, T/DL, 6-1, 255, Sr.
About the Wolverines: Riley made 34 tackles, had 2 interceptions, and knocked down 4 passes. He also ran for 200 yards, caught 25 passes, and scored nine touchdowns. Newcommer Jelani Greene, a senior wide receiver, will allow for increased creativity on offense.
4. NORTH BABYLON BULLDOGS
2014 Record: 2-6
Coach: Terry Manning, 25th year
Jared Zeigler, RB/DB, 5-10, 170, Jr.
Brandon Sobotker, RB/DB 6-0, 185, Jr.
Nick Grassa, FB/LB, 6-1, 210, Sr.
Sean Horan, OT/DT, 6-3, 295, Sr.
Angelo Scatorchio, OT/DT, 6-2, 290, Sr.
About the Bulldogs: Zeigler and Sobotker will be key in this ground-it-out offense. Nicknamed "the phone booth," it utilizes a power running game to kill clock and move the ball. Joe Cuomo and Wils Lamonge add size to the offensive line.
5. BELLPORT CLIPPERS
2014 Record: 8-2
Coach: Joe Cipp III, fifth year
Michael Veit, QB/DB, 6-1, 165, Sr.
Daquan Clarke, RB/DB, 5-7, 165, Sr.
Rocael Reyes, LB/FB, 5-10, 200, Jr.
Ron Rodriguez, LB/FB, 5-11, 210, Sr.
D'Andre Holmes, DE/OL, 6-1, 205, Jr.
About the Clippers: Veit is a first-year starter at quarterback . He had 48 tackles in the defensive backfied last season and ran for a touchdown. Clarke made 29 tackles and rushed for two touchdowns. Both Reyes and Rodriguez are coming off 35-plus tackle seasons.
6. SMITHTOWN WEST BULLS
2014 Record: 4-4
Coach: Peter Cerullo, 11th year
Austin Baiardi, OL/DL, 6-3, 265, Sr.
Daniel Caroussos, QB, 6-0, 175, Sr.
James Caddigan, RB, 5-10, 165, Jr.
Joseph Punzone, OL/DL, 6-3, 260, Sr.
Joseph Garibaldi, WR/C, 6-0, 165, Sr.
About the Bulls: Caroussos is a dual threat at quarterback. He threw for 749 yards and ran for 653 yards last season. Garibaldi, Michael Alfano, and, Christopher Crespo anchor solid receiver group. After .500 season with a young team, will look to slide into playoffs.
7. WEST ISLIP LIONS
2014 Record: 1-7
Coach: Steve Mileti, seventh year
Conor Smith, QB/DB, 6-0, 185, Sr.
Mike Lombardi, TE/LB, 5-10, 210, Sr.
Sean Burke, WR, 5-9, 205, Sr.
Dan Mottes, WR/DE, 6-0, 185, Sr.
Ray Sgambati, OT/DT, 6-3, 245, Sr.
About the Lions: Smith threw for 814 yards and 5 touchdowns in six games. He ran for 214 yards and a touchdown. Burke is a speedy receiver. Sgambati anchors offensive line and will key the running game.
8. SMITHTOWN EAST BULLS
2014 Record: 6-3
Coach: Chris Denton, first year
Liam Hendricks, RB/LB, 6-1, 215, Sr.
Ricky Orlandi, RB/DB, 5-11, 185, Sr.
Matt Palumbo, TE/DE, 6-4, 215, Sr.
Simon Wahba, WR/DB, 5-11, 200, Sr.
C.J. Perrier, OL/DL, 6-5, 235, Jr.
About the Bulls: A quicker-paced offense and a more mobil defense will define team that is looking for it's fourth consecutive playoff birth. Hendricks rushed for two touchdowns and made 18 tackles. Orlandi rushed for a touchdown and made five tackles.
9. HUNTINGTON BLUE DEVILS
2014 Record: 2-6
Coach: Steve Muller, 20th year
Infinite Tucker, WR/S, 6-5, 195, Sr.
Amaru Jones, OG/LB, 6-1, 225, Sr.
Mike Lonergan, OT/DE, 6-2, 235, Sr.
Exzayvian Crowell, WR/CB, 5-7, 160, Sr.
TaReek Hamilton, RB/LB, 5-9, 160, Sr.
About the Blue Devils: Tucker, Crowell and Lawrence Leake were members of Huntington's state championship winter track 4X400-meter relay team. Sophomore linebacker Sam Bergman is the strongest athlete in the program. William Wright has inside track on QB job.
10. HALF HOLLOW HILLS EAST THUNDERBIRDS
2014 Record: 5-4
Coach: Mike Maratto, second year
Seth Garvin, RB/S, 5-11, 185, Sr.
Kenny Chavez, QB/C, 6-1, 170, Jr.
Eric Davis, WR/OLB, 6-2, 190, Sr.
Anthony Diasparra, OL/LB, 5-10, 215, Sr.
Joe Tesoriero, TE/LB, 5-11, 200, Sr.
About the Thunderbirds: Chavez leads flexbone offense focused on run off the option. Tyler Okomba and Jon Ottomanelli can also carry the ball. Garvin leads defense that is faster, stronger and more aggressive.
11. WEST BABYLON EAGLES
2014 Record: 2-6
Coach: Ron Langella, first year
Rob Torres, OL/DL, 5-11, 230, Sr.
Chris McGraw, WR/DB, 5-11, 165, Sr.
Jonathan Flores, RB/DB, 5-8, 180, Sr.
Davante Penn, QB/DB, 6-5, 230, Sr.
Kevin Wilkinson, OL/DL, 6-2, 225, Sr.
About the Eagles: There will be a rebuilding period, but the ingredients for a return to the playoffs are in place. The coaching staff spent 2014 at Deer Park (6-3). Running back Marc Fabien and lineman Joe Consalazio add to athletic, young core.
12. COPIAGUE EAGLES
2014 Record: 0-8
Coach: Ken Rittenhouse, seventh year
Peter McKenzie, WR/LB, 6-1, 200, Sr.
Ronald James, QB/DB, 6-1, 180, Jr.
Marcus Weeks, WR/DB, 5-9, 170, Sr.
Ed Romero, OL/DL, 6-1, 230, Sr.
J'Quan Brown, RB/LB, 5-8, 180, Jr.
About the Eagles: McKenzie's size will allow for mismatches. He'll be James' main target and be a playmaker on defense. James is athletic under center and will use his speed to keep defenses off balance.
13. DEER PARK FALCONS
2014 Record: 6-3
Coach: Dan Ferguson, first year
Jarett Bonser, QB/DB, 5-11, 205, Jr.
Ayinde Briggs, RB/DB, 5-10, 185, Sr.
Matt Bisono, RB/DB, 5-4, 150, Sr.
Calo Arena, OL/LB, 6-0, 190, Sr.
Nick Rendino, RB/DB, 5-11, 175, Sr.
About the Falcons: New coaching staff will guide team coming off a playoff berth. Bonser is a returning starter who can both run and throw. He'll be helped by experienced skill players. Sam LeGendre and David Batkiewicz add to junior-layden offensive line.
14. CENTEREACH COUGARS
2014 Record: 2-6
Coach: Adam Barrett, second year
Nick Juvelier, QB/DB, 6-1, 190, Sr.
Evan Heyder, OL/LB, 6-0, 250, Sr.
Shawn McFarland, WR/LB, 6-2, 180, Jr.
Junior Pirollo, WR/DB, 5-10, 170, Sr.
Anthony Volpe, RB/LB, 6-1, 210, Sr.
About the Cougars: Juvelier has experience, having thrown 12 touchdown passes in first year of spread offense. He'll target McFarland and Pirollo and hand the ball off to Volpe. Volpe, McFarland, and Heyder make up the linebacking core in 4-4 defense.