VALHALLA, N.Y. - Valhalla High School football coach Kevin Martins fielded a raw group of underclassmen last fall with a look toward the future and that future begins when the Vikings open their season at Hastings High School.
"We have between 25 and 30 players -- several back from last year -- and we're hoping to get into a winning attitude early in the season," Martins said during Monday's morning practice at the high school. "This group has worked hard in the off season, through captains practices and in our summer training. We have a little bit more experience tan last year."
Valhalla struggled through a 3-6 record in the 2011 season, but return several capable leaders on the field, including quarterback Miro Ronac-Gionne and running backs Christian Alvarado, last year's leading ground gainer, and Michael Linanne. The defense will be keyed by linebackers Jared Mason, Richard Lezcano and Tyquan Raines.
Martins has a good support group of assistant coaches in Brian Foley, Peter Keating, Lou Angiolillo and Scott Cirigliano. With the team in good physical condition after summer training, Martin and the coaching staff are focused on repetition, limiting mistakes and preparing for the season opener.
"With a small school like Valhalla you always have concerns about numbers and injuries at this time of the year," Martins said. "We have a couple of kids out this week, but we're hoping to get everyone healthy and out here practicing. Winning helps build confidence, so we'd like to get off to a good start."
The Vikings will host several teams from the area Saturday in a full scrimmage on the school's all-purpose turf field beginning at 9:30 a.m.
"This scrimmage will help to get us prepared because we'll have some good teams here," Martins said. "The season is less than two weeks away."Valhalla will look for a new beginning and that early win Martins seeks when it visits Hastings on September 8 at 1:30 p.m.
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