WARRENSBURG - Six years ago, the Warrensburg football team soared past expectations and fought all the way to the state championship semifinals, a first-ever for the school.
Since then, the football program has endured some frustrating seasons, despite a lot of talented athletes on their roster. Last year's record was a disappointing 2-7 tally for a team that had a lot of potential.
During the past two years, the team was notorious for its brilliant plays and drives, stymied by some unexpected turnover and shortfall. The team's actions routinely whipsawed Burgher fans' emotions from ecstasy to agony in a matter of seconds.
"Our prior teams had a lot of good stuff, but they'd blow games, and they made a ton of mistakes - they'd fall apart when things started going bad," coach Mike Leonbruno said. "This year, we're trying to toughen up mentally - We'll be pushing the players to their limits, past where they think can't go any farther."
Indeed, the 2010 year might usher in a comeback for the Burghers, considering the players' varied talents and the enthusiasm among the players, WCS coaches said.
"This season's players are positive, committed, and they want to work," Leonbruno said. "But everybody's new, and we're waiting to see what we've got."
Among the likely standouts will be junior Jeremy Barber, a fullback/linebacker who's the Burghers' main attacker and has been named a team captain, Leonbruno said.
"Jeremy's a strong kid, a mood-setter," he said.
There's Ike Curtis, an experienced senior quarterback and defensive back; junior Lucas Nelson, a running back, receiver and safety; and junior Hunter Werner, a talented receiver and outside linebacker.
Whether this talented offense will have time to make their plays is a concern, however, as the offensive line is all new, except one returning player, Adam Langworthy. Leonbruno said he'd be looking to Langworthy for leadership - to mentor the rookies that will be blocking and protecting the backfield.
Apparently part of the strategy in toughening up the defense is the move of Mark Trapasso from Special Teams coach to Defensive Coach. Trapasso's known for setting high standards for the hard-working, successful Burgher wrestling team.
Leonbruno said they'd be rebuilding the team's defense around the Burgher linebackers: Jeremy Barber, Calvin Duell, Zack Baer, Hunter Werner, Nolan Maltbie and Charlie Giknis. Baer, Barber, and Giknis are experienced wrestlers, the coach said, noting his confidence in them.
"This is the best attitude team since I've been here," said three-year coach Leonbruno, who is a star player for the semi-pro Glens Falls Greenjackets, and is considered one of the top quarterbacks in the NAFL.
Warrensburg Central 2010 Football schedule
Sept. 4 Fort Edward Home 1:00 p.m.
Sept. 11 Salem Away 1:00 p.m.
Sept. 18 Rensselaer Home 1:00 p.m.
Sept. 25 Bishop Gibbons Home 1:00 p.m.
Oct. 1 Spa Catholic Away 7:00 p.m.
Oct. 9 Whitehall Away 1:00 p.m.
Oct. 16 Cambridge Away 1:00 p.m.
Oct. 23 Playoffs TBA TBA
Oct. 30 Playoffs TBA TBA
Nov. 6 Sectional Finals TBA TBA