Work Hard, Play Hard

Varsity football team begins their off-season workouts

Junior+Steven+Daugherty+runs+a+drill+before+the+start+of+a+varsity+game+in+October+2020.++Daugherty+and+his+teammates+have+already+started+training+for+next+year%27s+football+season.

Megan Kocsis

Junior Steven Daugherty runs a drill before the start of a varsity game in October 2020. Daugherty and his teammates have already started training for next year’s football season.

Manu Dhillon, Guest Writer

The varsity football team is preparing for the upcoming fall season under head coach Ross Bandiera.

Coach Bandiera aims to make players bigger, faster, stronger and more athletic but his main goal for this upcoming season is to make sure each player enjoys their experience in the program even if they don’t get playing time on Friday nights. He said, “When they look back on football in 5-10 years, I would like them to think of it as a fair, enjoyable, learning experience that they can refer back to when times get tough in their adult lives.”

Currently, the football team works out and trains in the weight room and field house on Sunday mornings at 8 AM, and on Tuesday and Thursday mornings at 6:15AM. Due to the COVID pandemic, Bandiera has been splitting the football team into two groups.

Junior Tyler Nungesser plays cornerback and wide receiver on the varsity team and is assigned to the group that works out in the weight room. He said, “I do compound and explosive lifts to get ready for the season.”

Due to social distancing guidelines passed by the CDC, the players cannot interact with each other outside of practices as much as they used to. However, Nungesser says that the team plans to move past that and keep working. He said, “It’s hard not seeing my teammates at football, but I know they’re getting the work in and [getting] the job done.”

According to Nungesser, the football team has lost a lot of key players from last year, but the team continues to work hard and look up to its team leaders. He said, “In order for us to have a good season, those teammates including myself have to step up to the plate for any challenge coming our way, and I want to see myself prepared to help lead the team.”

Similarly, sophomore Austin Ziance is a varsity kicker who also plans to be a leader for the special teams unit. He said, “As a kicker, I have an opportunity to put points on the board for the team, so my goal is to mainly focus on my kicking and put up as many points possible for the team.”

To prepare himself for the upcoming season, Ziance has been kicking on the football field lately and lifting either in his basement or at the Health 360 gym.

If everything goes as planned with their off-season training, Coach Bandiera sees his team ready to compete in a “grueling” 10-game schedule and his football team making the playoffs. Their first game is away against Shaker Heights on August 7, 2021.