Warriors Win Counties: This One’s For You, Coach Carter

Kelly Baisley, Sports Editor

Although the coronavirus has affected many sports this year, this past Saturday our football team went to North Shore and won counties!

Head Coach Sachs is very happy about his team’s big win. Sachs said, “To overcome so much on and off the field, then to avenge difficult losses and to have the Carter family in the field to celebrate as just an incredible ending to an unprecedented year. So proud of all the players and the coaches.”

Senior captain Kevin Griffin had a few words to say about the win: “Ever since the second game of the season, when we lost to North Shore at our home field, we didn’t stop talking about how we want another shot at them in the championship; sure enough, we got our shot and got the win this time on their home field in the county championship. To go out on top, especially this year as a senior with all the adversity we faced from COVID to losing Coach Carter and back to COVID, all made this county championship a really special win.” 

Fontana and Casey both are still amazed by this accomplishment. Casey described how “the feeling is surreal…We worked so hard for it and to see us beat 2 teams we lost earlier in the year is amazing.” Fontana also said, “It feels amazing; it’s a once in a lifetime thing and that makes it have so much more of a meaning. It’s a story you can tell for the rest of your life.”

Coach Sachs described how difficult it was with the coronavirus; he said, “We did have to always remember to just stop and appreciate that we are playing the game we love…everyday is a new adventure, and we fix it and move on.”

Senior captain Joe Fontana  and senior linebacker Sean Conigliaro believed throughout their season the biggest competitor had been themselves. Fontana explained, “We’ve had to overcome a bunch of adversity. We didn’t have as much time to prepare as we normally do, and we lost our coach who played a big part of the team.”

This past year, the football team lost their coach Tony Carter due to the coronavirus, which still affects each and every one of them. Sean Conigliaro added, “It’s definitely different especially without Coach this year.”

Both seniors added how COVID had affected their season. Conigliaro believes it made their play and film study better because they are focused and more together as a team than ever before. Conigliaro also thinks this team has perseverance and believes they try their best to make things normal and fun. Fontana even expressed how, “Playing with masks is weird but we all overcame it and worked through it.”.

Senior Captain Adam Kissinger just wanted one thing, and that’s to win the county championship, “no more, no less.” He explained how hard it is to build team bonding without being able to have pasta parties or buffets, but they powered through it. When talking about themselves being their biggest competitors, Kissinger said, “We take ourselves out of [the] games and play constantly and if we can get over that hump we have a good shot at winning this thing.” In addition to their win, Kissinger added, “It feels great we worked so hard all off-season as a team to achieve this goal through thick and thin.”

Junior Captain, Liam Casey had big expectations as well this year: “ [Winning] a county championship. We have such a great program with such a winning tradition and everyone that puts on that jersey I think knows that the goal is always to win a championship.” Griffin, just like Kissinger, had a mindset of winning. He believed, “This weekend is going to be the toughest game and final chance to show what we are made of. I’m confident we will play our best and bring the county championship back where it belongs.” And that’s exactly what they did.

Beyond all the hardships of this season, they also welcomed their new coach John Jansen to the team. These players have worked hard for everything they have accomplished and now it finally pays off. Congratulations to the coaches and all the players on this big win!

Senior Goodbyes: 

Coach Sachs:  “Our senior players did an amazing job overcoming so much adversity on and off the fields to become Nassau Champions. They made us coaches, especially Coach Carter proud.”

Terrence Banschback: “It’s a great organization with great coaches and great teammates.”

Sean Conigliaro: “Thank you to the coaches and my teammates for an incredible final season, it was an experience I will never forget and after 13 years of football, it was the only way to go out. That one’s for you, Coach Carter.”

Jason Cusack: “ Thank you to everyone on the team for making it a season to remember.”

Cole Dexter:“Wantagh football has a bond that can never be broken and will always be with me throughout life. I want to thank my teammates and coaches for this amazing experience.”

Joe Fontana: “Playing on this team for the last three years has granted me a lot of memories I will never forget and also gave me a family to bond with.  Without this experience, I don’t think I would be the man I am today.  Thank you to everyone I played with and my coaches for believing in me all these years.”

Ryan Graham: “ I’m going to miss playing with my boys every week, but we finished on the best note possible, everyone did their jobs and trusted each other and because of that we are now county champs for life.”

Kevin Griffin-:“ It’s been a pleasure to share the field with this special group. To end my senior year of football being county champions is something I’ll never forget. Nine out.”

Adam Kissinger: “ We have dreamt about this win for years now. Coming up together as a team, I wouldn’t have wanted to achieve this goal with anyone else. It was some of the best years of my life”.

James Lucey: “I’d like to thank my coaches and teammates for making my last football season the best one possible. I’ll miss going to war every weekend with my brothers.”

Brendan Martin: “Wantagh football is one of the best cultures in the school and it helped to raise a lot of boys into men. I couldn’t be prouder of the team from top to bottom. It was a fantastic season I’ll never forget.”

Bryan Picirillo: “Officially washed, it’s been real boys, twelve out.”

Mark Russo: “It’s been real. Six out.”

Anthony Scibelli: “I’ve never felt like more of a family than with this group of kids. Since we played JV together, we always said we’d win a county championship. Now that we have it feels surreal, and it’s something that we’ll remember for the rest of our lives.”

Matt Straub: “There’s nothing like Wantagh football. It’s something I’ll carry with me forever.”