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Sports Archives — The Altamont Enterprise, August 19, 2010

Guilderland football preview
Dutchmen hoping to turn tough conditioning program into winning games

By Jordan J. Michael

GUILDERLAND –– With one look at Guilderland’s pre-season football practice on Tuesday, it was easy to see a winning attitude.

Dutchmen players broke up into groups and attacked six different conditioning stations at will. Each station was a different workout from the next, and Head Coach Dan Penna was walking back and forth, talking up his team.

Senior lineman Dustin Maguire said that Guilderland’s numbers for 2010 are looking better than ever. “Most of us have been busting our butts since December,” he said. “We had 30 or 40 guys going strong this summer.”

Some players might be prone to sucking wind in the first few days of practice, but the Dutchmen showed no indication of that. Players pushed Prowlers back and forth, and tossed heavy medicine balls in the hot sun.

“They’re in some of the best shape right now,” Penna said. “All the kids are buying into the system and investing time –– from varsity all the way down. Conditioning is the greatest indicator of where the team is at.”

“You have to prepare if you want wins,” said senior Ryan Smith, who returns as starting quarterback after leading Section II in total passing yards last year. “We’re fired up. All this conditioning feeds our motivation.”

The Dutchmen finished 2009 with a 4-5 record and a 42-to-9 loss to Ballston Spa in the Class AA quarterfinals, but did have one of the biggest upsets in Section II playoff history by beating top-ranked LaSalle. Guilderland wants that same intensity and spirit to start 2010.

“That win over LaSalle gave us so much confidence,” said Mcguire, who is one of many players still on the team who got time in that game. “We still talk about it, but we don’t dwell on it, either. Everyone believed in our team after that.”

“The ending to last season was a great springboard,” said Penna. “Now, we have to take the next step. The seniors (Matt Ward, Peter Quinn, Alex Verrelli, and Luke Stark) last year showed the current guys how to be a powerful force and a true team. It was really inspirational and will have a great effect.”

Penna seemed excited about the whole team, especially Smith at quarterback. “He’s physically better and he religiously attended workouts,” Penna said. “He will be a running threat, too, and that will open up the running game.”

Smith will have four solid receivers to target while Tony Stanish, Connor Hurley, and Mike Garcelon take up running duties in back. Penna mentioned Nate Boehm and Mcguire as other key returnees.

“We have a host of other players that will provide depth, too,” Penna added.

“I like the competitiveness of our team,” Smith said. “We’re very hungry and together. There are no clicks.”

Guilderland will have a scrimmage day at home on Aug. 28 against Burnt Hills, Queensbury, and Kingston. The Dutchmen’s season opener is at Saratoga on Sept. 3 and it will be a true test of character.

“No roll overs,” said Maguire. “We’re not looking for mediocrity; we’re looking for a title like everyone else.”

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