Jeff Pexton-MHTS/PGI Photo
The 2013 My Hometown Sports High School Football Training Camp Tour rolled into Rome this morning for a visit with head coach Ted Swavely and his RFA Black Knights.
While they may call this a training “camp”, there sure as heck weren’t any smores, no boondoggles in sight and if you think the Black Knights fight song is “This Land is Your Land”, then you’re in for a rude awakening.
“We are really excited about this team, we’ve got a group of 20 very hungry seniors who want to win and we are all in this together” fourth year head coach Ted Swavely told MHTS.
One of those seniors is quarterback Angus Evans, an imposing 6’5″, 235 lb. kid with a cannon for an arm and a very experienced eye for the field.
Evans believes that the chemistry of this year’s Black Knights is what they will rely on as the season unfolds.
“We have such a large group of seniors here that are so hungry to win and that have worked so hard together that I think we can have a good season and get this program headed back in the right direction” Evans, also a team co-captain, said.
Evans will look to get the ball into the hands of another senior wide receiver Josh Reed, who is one of the fastest athletes in all of Section III, having been clocked below 4.6 seconds in the 40 yard dash. Reed is one of twelve Black Knights who run the 40 in under 5 seconds, including four linemen!
Reed, who is also a co-captain as he enters his third year on the Varsity squad, believes strongly in this year’s team.
“We are a family here, players, coaches, all of us, nobody likes losing, we hate it and I think we’ve put in the work in the off season to have a better outcome this fall. The playoffs and a Section III title is what we want at this point” Reed explained.
According to Coach Swavely, between 80 and 90 players from the modified level through varsity attended the optional weight lifting sessions held four days per week during the off season.
“I am very proud to say that these kids are taking ownership of this team this year, they have certainly put in the time, now its time to translate to game time” Swavely said.
The Black Knights offensive and defensive lines will be anchored by 6’2″, 265 lb. Rob Alder and 6′ 210 lb. Zach Thomason. Both are three year veterans and both are ready for a winning season.
“We are working really hard out here this season and I am seeing a much higher lever of unity than I’ve seen in past seasons” said Thomason, who went on to say “We’re not going to get down, we’re going to pick each other up when things get tough and hopefully that will make us a better team and result in wins”.
Rob Alder also likes what he’s seeing with the 2013 Knights, but thinks that the team will need to study up and know the offensive and defensive schemes in order to be successful, explaining “There is a lot to learn in terms of assignments and responsibilities and the younger guys are going to have to get them down before we play for real, but I think we will be fine, everybody wants the same thing, to win”.
The Black Knights are also expecting big things from Eddie “Da-Da” Campos, a slippery tail back on offense and a hard hitting safety on the “D”.
Teams in the Section III, Class “AA” Division One will also see big doses of Julius Berry and Brad Dougherty carrying the ball out of the Black Knights backfield this season.
The Knights open the 2013 campaign on the road at Class “A” Whitesboro on September 6th and will begin league play on September 20th at home against Proctor, in a game that can be heard live on 99.1 FM – ESPN Radio Utica Rome.
In speaking to the four RFA captains: Evans, Reed, Alder and Thomason, one thing was quite evident, all of these kids are gentlemen and are extremely focused.
All four have plans of attending college next fall, and each has set his goals to a lofty level.
The lack of numbers in the win column in the past couple of seasons has done nothing but made these young men more determined to succeed.
Don’t be surprised if they do just that.