Thursday, October 25, 2007

10 Year Reunion

Ahh yes..how quickly time flies. Ten years huh? Goord Lord, ten years ago this fall embarked the beginning of the most over hyped freshman class in LCHS history. This 300 plus class was not only the biggest to step thru the doors, but also had some lofty expectations to live up to. (Holy shit, I can't believe VA Tech just lost this game, how did they lose this? What happened? Rolling left and throws across his body/field for a game winning touchdown? Sweet Jesus)



Ugh....Anyways, the local CYO scene was just stacked with talent. Too bad this team turned out to be full of busts. The highly recruited Jeff out of Madison (where did Soria find this kid?) never lived up...The smashmouth offense football led by the running game of Scholes/Sierleja/ and that other big kid who soon transferred to north never could get the tough yards when we needed them. This team lacked the change of pace 3rd down back to catch the defense off guard and out putrid 4-6 record was one of the biggest disappointments in history.



Amongst the other BUSTS of this class was big John K. Good God was he a monster, 6'8, 320 lbs and couldnt even see a down on the JV level. Coulda had every big 10 school knockin at his door but spurned the NFL to work at a local auto body shop in Willoughby. Another bust I thought was the tough, gritty, and absolutely dirty Mikey T. I projected him as a Big East Strong Safety with his good size and speed. Could have probably moved into a Mike Linebacker if he chose to go D2, but nonetheless had the ability...Too bad he got in the wrong crowd and spent more time behind bars than he did on the field. As mentioned before, the 3 headed monster at RB never produced. Everyone thought this team was gonna grind it out week in and week out but nothing ever happened. Scholes was the only one to make it out of the high school ranks which led him to a disappointing 1AA career. OLB Savelli made the most of his size, nobody even knew this silent asassin was on the field but yet he was all over the ball all the time. My dad always said this kid had the instincts needed, but the 5'11 frame only game him a short lived career at Mount Union.



It was a tough coaching staff that year. Franky S. tried to keep the fun atmosphere alive but was over taken by Caldwell who somehow got confused and thought he was coaching at the Naval Academy and not freshman football. This egotistical coach single handedly was responsible for half of the team quitting folliwng freshman year. Also on the staff was Coach Massey who still to this day has never spoken a word. Our bonding on the B-team game though really brought us together. Then there was crazy Kucsma (more to come on him later) who had to balance his football coaching gig btw is shady insurance company and the demise of the LCHS softball team. And you can't forget the fiery Sammy DeVito (also more to come) who never let anyone sleep without having nightmares.



Practice was brutal this year...you could never really get comforable because every day betweein 4:05 and 4:15 everyone just waited for the lanky Joe Varanase to come stumbling out of detention and give us the opportunitiy to do about 100 "up-downs"..Or maybe if we were lucky, we would get to do about a half hour of dive bombers...(good lord, im going to have nightmares tongiht)...Then there was always the fun blocking drills where I would spend the entire time in line kissing Gruber and Lytles ass in hopes of not getting my ass kicked on the field....this never worked. If I got lucky, I would get to go one on one with the great wall of china, big john Krepenia. It literally was like trying to push a bus over, it was impossible. I hated that...I really did.



The best 2 weeks was when I completely babied a wrist injury (to this date I think I broke it but never got it checked out), and prohibited me from doing up downs, instead I had to do sit ups in which I did with a huge grin on my face. This worked for about 2 weeks until the fiery Devito finally caught onto me and completely punked me out and made me do up downs...damn, that sucked. I was really starting to get abs of steel too. My favorite Devito moment had to be in the midst of a grueling set of up downs when someone under their breath whispered "Ugh this sucks"..(my money was on Hess, who happened to actually go to practie on this day instead of skipping to go work out)..But Devito heard this comment and flipped a lid...I remember it like it happened this morning ..(with viens popping).."YOU THING THIS SUCKS? YOU SPEND ONE DAY IN MY F'N LIFE. ...YOU SPEND ONE DAY AS A CLEVELAND FIRE FIREGHTER AND SEE THE SHIT I SEE...YOU WOULDNT BE ABLE TO HANDLE THAT FOR A SECOND"...(good god, why am I doing this to myself? theres no way I will sleep tonight)...Or the one time during one on one blocking drills where everone was bitching about about how big Big John was and Sammy got so fired up, he got down in a 3 point chance ready to challenge Big John...I still dont think Big John got those shit stains out of his jock from that day...Kucsma blew the whistle and Devito just straight out pancaked the shit out of Big John....I think Soria immediately cancelled practice after that as nobody could function after seeing a human knock over a freight train....Ricchino, does the CFD test for HGH yet? Will your uncle be next to Travis Hafner once this list is published???

Another Big John moment...(do I have a secret love affair with Big John? Why am i writing so much about him..this is weird)....but nonetheless...Kucsma must have had a client who lost their house to a flood or seomthing, bc he came in very fired up...Big John didnt say one word, and suddenly, Pauly flipped a lid, went bezerk and reached up and got his facemask, brought it down eye to eye with him, and completely tore him apart. I still to this day don't know what was wrong with Paul that day. I am shocked that Big John did not pick him up and eat him.

(This is becoming much longer than I thought, I have no life)

On to the only 2 games i remember..the third one was mentioned today in the emails. Opening day, at the beautiful Perry stadium was great. Everyone had their turf shoes on and butterflies going around like crazy for the first game. I was very happy on the bench knowing I wouldnt see a down all year long but I made my parents happy for playing...The fourth play of the game, Ed Oger O got whistled for his 2nd false start penalty and Caldwell lost it. For some reason, and til today I have no idea why he chose me, he must have been going in reverse alphabetical order, but he told me to get in there. I remember a roiding Scholes screaming "LETS GO MAN, STEP IT UP!!"...he would have said my name but he had no idea who I was so he couldnt...I thought to myself as I got in the huddle, this is it..this is my shot to step it up...This is the break i needed to get coachs attention and begin my career as an anchor on the left tackle position...Actually..no, thats not how it was. I was scared shitless and wished more than anything I was up in the stands with my dad crying on his shoulder. I think I lasted about 3 plays before Caldwell came to his senses and realized that I was actually playing....I never saw a down after that.

UNTIL....the grand daddy of them all, the biggest game of the year...the B team game. ..How embarassing wsa that? To have a game for strictly B teamers and no starters were allowed to play? Ugh, what a kick in the balls....Anyways, I started and played both ways. Me and the 5"11, 110 lbs Chet the Jet Hoynes held down the D-Line and I was accounted for 9 tackles, 4 for loss and 3 QB pressures. Coach Massey kept trying to pull me out, but I kept saying "No, I want this, this is MY game, MY chance"....It was a classic defensive battle, the intensity was up on both sides of the ball...Another time I remember like yesterday was the time that Jeran got the nod at tailback. Massey said "Jeran, get in there"...And I remember a silenece went over the sidelines...Everyone had seen JJ's elusiveness in practice but he never got the shot in the game...Everyone got as close as they could to see this kid get in the lineup. We were all waiting for JJ to break a tackle, make a spin move, and pull off a 40 yard scamper to show the coaching stafff that he needs to be in the lineup and he could change this dismal season around....So JJ gets in....and the snap....and the hand off...and here we gooooo....ohhh shit, no, this didnt happen, no way, this cant be happening, please, please say it aint so!!...ohh, yes it did happen...fumble...no way...jeran fumbled...and that was the last carry Jeran saw in his tenure. I think that play took the heart out of the entire team, and to this day that class has never recovered from that fumble.

Fast forward to the 4th quarter...its 0-0 in a battle of who wants it more..No team has shown any signs of life this far but we still had 3 minutes left and 98 yards to go to win this game....I've been pan caking a guy half my size over at RT but the guys in the booth didnt see this. They kept trying to run it to the left behind the gritty Leben but never seemed to get the chains moving...So here we are, 98 yards to go and who do we have for this heroic 2 minute drill in the backfield? None other that Nick "the white Mike Vick" Ricchino. Nick had been dreaming about this chance since the day he was a little boy, just like every other kid tht dreamed about leading him and his scrubby B-teamers to a heroic victory....But alas it all came crashing down...The opposing teams coaches had scouted Nick well. They knew he had a cannon of an arm but once you got him out of the pocket he didnt have what it took. he was very immobile, and the DL had been flushing him out of the pocket all day long and unfortunately Nick wasn't known for his throws on the run across his body...So here we are...I get down in my 3 point stance, ready to maul over this 87 pounder in front of me...About 3 seconds later I look around and theres nobod around me...NOOOOOO, this didnt happen...SAFETY...noooo, ricchino got smacked in the endzone for a safety...How did he not pick up the safety blitz??? Why didnt he audible at the line and make the necessary changes??? Why didnt he call a TO and talk it over???UGHHH Nick, why, why???...After the 9 person pileup, Nick finally got up and limped off the field in defeat...2-0 final score...and a tragic B-team loss...ughhhh what a shame...what a shame...

And here I am...ten years later...a bust in my own sense of the word..Never lived up to the historic Williams football blood and have to sit by myself at all family gatherings as everyone reminicses about their college ball while I am telling my 4 yr old cousin that I once played in a B-team game and lost 2-0 because of the slow footed Ricchino couldnt scramble and get a pass off...thanks Nick.

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