As we head into the autumn sports season, we are looking forward to returning to a full schedule of games for each of our teams that have been working so hard during the off season. Walt Whitman’s Football team is no exception as they are even more ambitious and eager to compete after coming back from last year’s memorable season.
With Whitman’s football team making the Suffolk County finals last year, we’re looking forward to seeing their efforts continue. “Our football team is coming into the season with the great experience from last year's run, and they are excited about the challenge that lies ahead of them,” shared South Huntington’s new Supervisor of Physical Education, Health, Athletics and Recreation, Mr. David Barth.
Varsity quarterback and senior, Nicholas Bottoni, is excited for another shot at making it to the county championships. He’s especially grateful to have restrictions lifted so that the team can receive the support from the stands and sidelines that so often feeds them the energy to make big plays. “I’m definitely looking forward to the fans coming back and home games where everyone can be out of the house and watching football again,” shared the senior.
Despite their loss against William Floyd in the final round of the league championships last season, the team is working hard to catch up their new roster of players. Each year of graduating seniors presents the task of finding new players to fill those positions on the high school field. “Offensively and defensively, we have a lot of work ahead of us,” Head Coach Robin Rosa shared in the midst of preseason training. “We have to replace seven kids on our defense,” he said, also sharing that, “the nucleus of our offense is definitely there, but on the defensive side, we lost some really key players.” This year, we look forward to incoming senior, Tyriek Mays-McKoy, returning to South Huntington as one of the team’s wide receivers and free safety. “He’s a special player no doubt. He actually was to play with all these guys as an eighth grader before leaving the district to play for Huntington.” We are excited to have McKoy back in our district and see his efforts on the field as a Whitman Wildcat. With the addition of McKoy and a number of JV players being moved up to varsity, Coach recognizes the hard work of his players. “The last three years, I can honestly say that these kids put in their time. They do it academically, they do it athletically, and they lay it all on the field. So this is a team that I'm very proud of.”
While he is proud of how far his team has come, he also recognizes some of the challenges ahead. “The problem we are going to face is now it’s an eight game season with an extremely difficult schedule to start,” shared Coach Rosa as he reflected on last year’s unique six week season to coincide with COVID protocols. The team opens their season on the road this Friday against Longwood, followed by another away game at Sachem North who is ranked number two in the County. Coach Rosa knows the importance of getting his players in the right mental state to prepare for such a tough lineup, especially with high expectations coming out of last season. “I told my guys, you have to prepare and remember this. We didn't win, we lost, and we have unfinished business. So now you've got to be a lot more hungry to win.”
Check out our Whitman Wildcats at home and on the road with this season's schedules below: