By Caleigh O’Toole
This past football season was quite a whirl wind for the Oyster Bay Baymen. Without a JV team, the school focused all of its energy on the varsity team. Led by Coach Joe Knoll and senior captains Steven LoRusso, Jack Weiboldt, Patrick Wygand and Chris Colvin, the boys pulled through with a 2 and 6 record, but the numbers do not accurately represent their season.
The year commenced with a pretty rough start, including homecoming. It was a tight game all the way through. Whenever OB scored, the Baymen could not come through with extra points. The game eventually came down to a field goal, and just as fans were about to go wild, the kick went a little too far right and missed the goal post by only inches. The OB football team lost with a devastating score of 16-14, East Rockaway. However, as the season progressed, it became evident to all that the team had come a very long way since that game.
Throughout the season, many of the boys stood out in stats. On defense, Dom Vigliotti led with 34 tackles, 17 assists, 1 interception, and 4 fumble recoveries. Chris Colvin followed with 29 tackles. This year’s defense was phenomenal; everyone who was on the field helped out in a major way.
The offense did a fantastic job with rushing yards and completions. Our quarterback, Sean O’Toole, had over 400 passing yards with multiple touchdown passes. Yahve Jean-Baptiste had over 600 rushing yards and received 211 yards in one game alone. Sam Kodaparast had over 300 yards this season, even with an injury. Elia DeBlasio proved to be an amazing receiver. From one-handed steals to over 216 yards, he was a huge benefit to the team. Kicking for our team this season was freshman Moises Maldanado; he gained extra point kicks and field goals.
A proud moment for the Baymen occured in the beginning of the last game. When playing Friends Academy, the National Anthem was not played. The team thought this was unacceptable and decided to start singing on their sideline before the game started. This was brought up at the last football dinner when Coach Knoll said how proud he was. The moment was symbolic of the bond that exists among the boys, and it was a sign of strength and progress from the start of the season to the end.
When did you feel like the team was at its best?
“When Yahve and Sam had good runs, it brought up the momentum of the team. Also, when the line had really good blocks and coverage for the quarterback, it gave him enough time for a good pass.”- Mike Salvato
You led the team in rushing yards. How did you feel in those moments on big runs, and how did your team help?
“Even though the line got beat sometimes, they always tried their best to get down and help as fast as they could. I wanted to get the yards for all my teammates. I didn’t want to let them down.”- Yahve Jean-Baptiste
Does being a sophomore make you more proud of your playing?
“Yes, mainly because I was one of the smaller kids on the team and one of the few sophomores who started. I had a lot to live up to, and I didn’t want to let anyone down.”- Eddie Clark
Despite your success, do you feel like your injury impacted your playing?
“I felt like it weighed me down…It made it harder to carry the ball.”- Sam Khodaparast
As the starting quarterback and only a sophomore, did you feel a lot of pressure? Did that pressure lessen throughout the season?
“Of course there was a certain amount of pressure going into the season, but as the games progressed, I felt that the team and I calmed down and settled into our offense and really began to click. The team gave me a lot of confidence; I felt like they believed in me, and that helped a lot. I also feel like we can carry over this chemistry into next year’s team.”- Sean O’Toole
As captains and as seniors, what is one thing you are going to miss? How did playing football affect you and your high school career ?
“I will miss the practices with the team the most. I loved playing on the team and even though we didn’t have the best record, we did the best with the numbers we had.”- Jack Weiboldt
“I will miss being a part of a team and being able to go out there and play with the guys. Being on the football team gave me a leadership role and taught me responsibility.”- Steven LoRusso
“I’m going to miss playing in the games. And football has taught me to work with others.”- Patrick Wygand
“I will definitely miss my teammates and coaches. Football has taught me a lot of things, like responsibility and to work with others.”- Chris Colvin
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