MOUNT PLEASANT, N.Y. – Westlake High School quarterback Michael Ragusa has high expectations.
The junior will start at the varsity level for the first time this season, but he has already set the bar high with regard to his mission for the team.
“I expect to bring them to a section title,” Ragusa said. “And I expect to step up because they’re expecting a lot of me, because there’s a lot of seniors. So I’m expecting to do my best.”
But accomplishing that goal will be no easy task. The Wildcats finished 3-6 last year and lost a three-year starter at quarterback.
Still, Westlake has 18 returning seniors this season. Seventh-year head coach Rich Hennessy hopes the group can provide some veteran leadership.
“We have a very experienced team, six guys who were on the 2010 section final team,” Hennessy said. “So we have a lot of experience. We’re hoping that that kind of gets us over the top this year.”
Westlake held practice Tuesday afternoon, and Hennessy said the team focused on consistency and cutting down on “dumb mental mistakes.”
The coach also said the Wildcats should be strong in the trenches this season because many of the linemen have been playing together since sophomore year.
Ragusa may be one of the less experienced players on the roster, but he already has received a taste of playing quarterback at the varsity level.
“It’s a big transition from JV to varsity,” Ragusa said. “More expectations from the coaches. But I think I’m ready for it.”
Ragusa worked with his receivers in the offseason to help him prepare for the start of practice and, eventually, the season. And when he does strap on a helmet and start his first varsity game as quarterback, he expects to get down to business.
“I’ll be a little nervous,” Ragusa said. “But once it starts, I’ll be fine.”