Football team adjusts to jump to higher division


Jack Lawerence

Quarterback Elliot Avidane drops back into the pocket in a game against Hempstead, whom Port beat 19-0, on Sept. 8.

Dylan Schor, Staff Writer

Last season, the Vikings Football team went undefeated in an amazing season, winning all nine of their games, including the Hudson Valley League Championship. This caused the team to move up a Division in the County. Despite the loss of several valuable senior players, the team’s talent and skill don’t seem to be lacking yet this season.

With many new younger students moving up to Varsity, they won two out of their first three games. In this season, the team claimed victory over Hempstead and Plainview- Old Bethpage JFK. Despite an upsetting loss at Uniondale, the team is on track to have another successful season.

There are many factors that have caused this success, including the incredible chemistry of the team. Maintaining trust and building relationships are necessary in teamwork.

“Our team is like a family. We always lift each other up if we fall and always have each others back,” said senior wide receiver Steven Betsch, “We play at full speed, one hundred and ten percent, and, most importantly, we trust each other, knowing the man next to you will do their job.”  

Such a strong chemistry is not there from the beginning. It takes time to create relationships that help the team win.  The team has been working hard off the field to cultivate these relationships in order to bring it onto the field and be able to work as a unit.

“During our training camp, I’d be lying if I said that we were perfect.  We lacked chemistry and we needed to grow with each other,” said senior Christian DeMeo, the defensive end and offensive tackle.  “About a week before our first game our coach showed us a video which boils down to be the message of being all in.  He expressed how what we are doing is more important than any individual.  He explained that we are trying to change our culture in Port Washington and that we want a football program that can compete.” 

It is true that the Vikings are drastically altering the tragic history of Port Washington football.  Going from losing streaks two years ago to winning streaks this year, their hard work and determination has been getting results. The Head Coach Mr. Kevin Cloghessy, as well as the supporting coaches, were also given a lot of praise by the players.

“He gave the team the motto of ‘all in’.  He said that to get to where we want to be we have to be all in.  And we got poker chips and we wrote our names on them and before every game we put them in a bucket to symbolize being all in,” said DeMeo. “This brought us together. It made us realize that we need to be together as a family to grow as players, as a team, and most importantly, as a program.”

In addition to “all in,” the motto seems to be “focus on the future and not the past.”  Multiple players have testimonials stating that while they performed well last season, it didn’t get to their head and they still go into every game with the intention of giving one hundred percent.

By focusing on the future, the team has been much more successful and are working to rewrite the reputation of football in Port. The coaches help to remind the team to focus on the present before every game.

“The coaches are great this season. They get onto us for everything, but that’s because they want to make a change for the better, and to make us into a great team full of humbled men,” said defensive tackle senior Chan Woo Lee.  “Our games are something we do not mess around with.  We put in time and energy for every play whether we are practicing or playing a game.  Nothing comes easy, so we have to work and work whether we win or lose.”

This also goes true for their recent loss, even though it was tough, it’s just one game.  They aim to come back and fight the rest of the season, and they are looking to make improvements every practice.  Students do not take success for granted nor do they let losses get to their heads.

“Last season was very successful.  We had a lot of fun and won the league championship. But that’s behind us now.  Now we are fully focused on stepping on the field and beating anyone we go against,” said Betsch.  “We are currently two and one on the hunt to be three and one. We are setting the bar high this year and expect to win every time we step on the field.  We are hungry to be the best team we can be.” 

A typical practice consists of offensive, defensive, and tackling drills.  It starts with a warm-up and stretching, followed by individual position drills where they work with their position coach.  Finally, they implement what they learn and practice their plays.

The captains of the team this year are all seniors.  They are DeMeo, Betsch, Elliot Acidane, and Donovan McCurty.  All are dedicated captains who are committed to taking the team back to the league championship.

Even though these young men lead and set an example, a team is only a good one if it is one where everyone contributes and every player is important.  Moreover, each player is interdependent, meaning if one falls, the others have to pick them up.

It is this kind of team mentality that allows for their success.  If the team were divided or if there were internal conflict, every game would be much harder to play.  Anyway you slice it, it is looking as though this team will be going forward with a successful season.

“The varsity team is two and one right now and we are really just starting to come together as a team.  Last year we went nine and zero and won the championship in the Hudson Valley league.  We are now moved up into the division one of Nassau County and we look to win a lot of games.  We lost about 19 seniors last year and we have a ton of new face,” said DeMeo. 

The teamwork contributes to their success, though they did not have a winning score at the Homecoming game Sept. 29. The team lost 34-9 to Baldwin at the home game. Many citizens of Port Washington came to support the team and watch the game. They still saw the players put in their best effort and try to beat Baldwin. Baldwin has a 3-1 winning record, placing them high in the Conference and making them a difficult team to beat. 

“Playing on Port Washington’s football team is an experience like no other. I am surrounded by so many kind, determined, talented, and tough teammates and coaches. Everyone picks up each other whenever anyone is down because we are brothers. Lastly, I wish I had joined the football program a lot sooner, because this is only my third and last year in high school to play ball,” said Lee.

The games are a rush for both the players and the fans at the game. The crowd is packed and excited and the determination of the players can be felt from the stands.

Each player emanated the blood, sweat, tears and grit that went into every practice.  Each pass and throw was like an intricately choreographed dance that had been meticulously rehearsed.  Furthermore, the players were truly partners in the game with every hope not just of winning, but playing the game the best way they can.

“Playing football for this team and representing this team as quarterback is a very good and motivating feeling.  I know I have to be at a certain place every day and every game in order for this team to succeed.  Me along with the other captains and players have to hold each other accountable for things so we can make each other better,” said the quarterback Avidane, the quarterback.  “This year has been very exciting.  It’s great to be back in conference one and the players and coaches are excited to play these teams and show the Island that Port isn’t the way we used to be. Practices are intense with conditioning offense and defense days.  Games are very exciting and fun to watch.  We are now two and one as a varsity team after losing our first game last week to Uniondale. Still, we are determined to win the rest of the season.”

The Junior Varsity team is meeting as much success as the Varsity team.  The first official game was last Saturday, and the team won 19-12 against Uniondale. This was their first time beating Uniondale in years.

The JV team has met equal success. The team is led by freshmen Henry Haberman and Jayson Ramos. Their upcoming game is at East Meadow High School on Saturday, Oct. 6 at 9:30am. The team puts an emphasis on teamwork and the chemistry of the players, similarly to the Varsity team. 

“So far our Schreiber JV team is doing pretty great. Our practices have been running smoothly and well every day, and you can just see how much better we are as a team., and family since day one in August. Unfortunately, our first two games were scrimmage-games as the other teams didn’t have enough players. But we still made the best of it, played well, worked hard, and won both of them,” said sophomore Henry Meyer.

Meyer’s mindset reflects that of the team. Their recent games have met relative success. They have put in hours training at the school and at other schools, such as On Sept. 1 at West Hempstead High School.

“Being on the team isn’t just about showing up and participating; it’s about supporting each other, keeping our composure and drive anytime we’re in a tough situation, and most of all, being a part of the Schreiber football family. One of the best parts of being on our team is seeing and playing with your friends everyday. We all pick on each other, and make jokes; but at the end of the day, we’re here to work hard, win our games, and have fun,” said Meyer.  

Upcoming games include Oct. 6, at East Meadow at 3:00. After that, there is a home game on Oct. 15 at 2:15, Oct. 19 at 7:00, and Oct. 26 6:30. The team is looking forward to a successful season with high hopes for the future of the Vikings.  Make sure to come to a game to witness this historical season as the Port Varsity Football team makes their climb to the top.