When you lose three scholarship players and return a young roster there is reason for outside expectations to be tempered.
But Brooklyn Tech is fine with all of it, using it as motivation to prove people wrong and make a push for a playoff spot in the Public School Athletic League’s City Conference. The doubts will only make the accomplishments that much sweeter.
“It’s always nice to be the underdogs, because you can always shock people,” said junior two-way lineman Peter Henderson. “If someone says you can’t do it, and you do it, it feels great.”
Henderson, a tackle and defensive end, will be one of the leaders on a veteran offensive line that is the team’s biggest strength out of the gate. He will be joined by defensive end and guard Henry Kamornik, tight end Paul Cordova and 6-foot-3, 260-pound junior defensive lineman Mammoud Shabana. Shabana is already getting interest from Division-I schools.
“He has good feet for somebody that is his size, and he uses his hands well, and has the agility of a smaller guy in a big frame,” said Brooklyn Tech coach Kyle McKenna. “He’s got long arms and he is able to stay in front of people.”
While Brooklyn Tech is solid up front, it will rely on talented newcomers behind the line after the graduation of quarterback Elijah Rueda, and receivers Alpha Gamby and Lawrence Menyah.
Last year’s backup quarterback, Minju Kim, who started the final two games of last season, is competing against Michael Marcovici for the job. Marcovici would move to receiver and safety if Kim wins out.
McKenna and the team’s veterans think they could get a big year out of running back Paul Pianan. Amani Muphy and Lucus Christie will also see carries. Maxim Nelich and Anthony Villegas will be the team’s other receivers. McKenna doesn’t see the attack being as pass-heavy as it was in past few seasons because of the current personnel.
“I think we will be more balanced than they were last year,” the coach said.
Many of the starting offensive linemen will play both ways, and Pianan will also play defensive back. Sophomores Shafia Langford and Davian Clayton will be on both lines.
Injuries last year forced many of the returning players into starting roles late in the season, including a playoff loss against Grand Street. McKenna and his staff see that as a plus for this season’s group.
The experience should help them get out of the gate stronger than most young teams. Brooklyn Tech opens at home against Canarsie on Sept. 4.
“Everyone had a chance to play in game situations against Grand Street,” Kamornik said. “Everyone got a chance to see what the speed was like and what the tempo was like on the field. It’s a different level.”