Eastport-South Manor has a new head football coach, and he’s looking to turn around a program that went 2-6 last season.
“Improvise, overcome, and adapt has kind of been our motto,” coach Chris Prokesch said during the recent Media Day for Conference III teams.
The Sharks, a ninth seed going into the season, have faced their share of challenges. They lost access to their weight room while the high school is being renovated, and have had to find a place to practice while their practice field is being converted from grass to synthetic turf, said Prokesch, who has been with the program for 11 years, mostly as offensive and defensive line coach.
There are plenty of reasons for optimism, according to Prokesch, who was interim coach in 2018, the last season the Sharks posted a winning record.
The roster is deeper—about 40 players compared to about 25 last season—with more seniors, including more in the starting lineup.
“We’re going to be a lot more experienced and have a lot more manpower on our roster,” Prokesch said.
Talk to the Sharks’ tight-knit core of seniors and you can feel how much they’ve made it their mission to finish their high school careers on a high note.
“For the guys who are seniors, we have a lot of motivation for the season,” said tight end John Izzo. “We don’t want to end on a bad note. We’re leaving. We want to end with a bang. We’re not trying to lose. We’re going to win. We’re going to dedicate ourselves to practice. We’re going to work hard and put everything we have into it.”
The Sharks return four offensive linemen, including senior Matt Pompei. They’ll be called upon to protect sophomore quarterback Max Ferraro and open holes for Daniel Odell, who will be the primary running back.
Pompei said he and the other seniors have been working to motivate the underclassmen.
“We’re very confident in how we’re going to perform this season,” he said.
The Sharks open the season with road games at Amityville on Sept. 1 and Kings Park on Sept. 13. Their home opener is Sept. 23 against Rocky Point.
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