The clock was ticking in the fourth quarter when Webster Schroeder’s football team drove deep into Victor’s territory, 35 points behind.
A field goal at this point wouldn’t make much of a difference in the score, but the potential for a moment of magic was enormous. Perhaps that is why the disappointment was so real when Abigail Neill’s 32-yard attempt sailed far to the left, despite having a lot of distance.
This disappointment was short-lived, however, as Neill and the Warriors got another shot at 1:01 in the game.
And this time Neill was not absent, although she certainly got close.
“I was like, ‘oh no, not again!” Neill said of her 26-yard field goal, which ricocheted left-up for three points. “It was a big sigh of relief.”
It was also one of many feel-good moments that emerged from Section V football this spring. Neill, who scored two goals for the Schroeder girls’ soccer team last fall, not only has a season after soccer was interrupted last fall due to the coronavirus pandemic, but also soccer comrades from across Section V who are playing soccer for the first time because the season has no conflict with football.
It’s one of the bright spots emerging from a pandemic that is more discouraging and heartbreaking than a smile. And it goes beyond soccer players who sign up as table footballers for their teams.
From Neill kicking girls everywhere, to Shane McMillan, the first All-Greater Rochester footballer, scoring the only field goal for Penfield’s only win of the season in extra time. From authoritative consistency on extra points to playful defenders and run-stop linebackers and defenders, Section V football has a certain football vibe and is universally loved this spring.
The seeds are planted
Oliver Harvieux is a senior at Canandaigua Academy, playing soccer, hockey, and golf for the Braves. And now football.
“During the football season, when the football season wasn’t going to happen, I thought if it was postponed I might as well try,” he said of his first footballing thoughts. “It’s fun. I’ve never done any sports with some of these guys and it’s fun.”
Harvieux is 27 vs 29 on extra points and has field goals of 26 and 22 yards for the Braves while averaging 46 yards per kickoff.
At Victor, Max Fiorica led the Blue Devils soccer with seven goals last fall and was an All-Greater Rochester second-team election. This spring, Fiorica has a 36-yard field goal 29:29 in extra points and receives two solo tackles.
Like Harvieux, Fiorica began thinking about the possibilities of football last fall.
“I just kept thinking to myself that I could definitely do it,” he said. “I know a lot of guys on the team and we always had fun and said you should join in … So I started practicing.”
In Palmyra-Macedon, first year coach Jason Minnamon was approached on the first day of training by junior Brenden Moquin, who had one goal and four assists for the soccer team. Minnamon admits there was a bit of skepticism.
“I told him to knock it off and that first kick was about 60 yards and I said, ‘You’re hired,'” said Minnamon. “He has done a great job since then and has been a huge asset.”
These are just a handful of Section V teams that have added soccer players to the roster this spring.
In Monroe County, three of the eight best footballers will be playing football this fall this spring. McMillan scored 17 goals for Penfield, Zach Wolfe 12 for Webster Thomas and Caleb Bailey nine for Churchville-Chili. All three are competing for their schools, and it even went the other way when Liam Podszebka, a Churchville-Chili soccer player, took advantage of downtime last fall to play third goalkeeper for the Saints soccer.
The teams from Midlakes to Le Roy, from Gates Chili to Bath-Haverling and from Batavia to UPrep, Geneva, East High, Brockport, Attika and Pittsford all have athletes who bring their football skills to the table.
Avon Senior Carson Williams led the Soccer Braves last fall with 15 goals and 11 assists. This spring he’s 17:19 in extra points and scored a 37-yard field goal in week 3 in a win against Batavia Notre Dame.
“It was surprisingly easy,” said Honeoye Falls-Lima junior Cole Chiapperino, a Cougars football midfielder. “My teammates are watching and helping. If you are athletic, you can do anything. It is great. I would never have imagined it and the coaches were great and really fun. “
The big adjustment
Kick is kick, right? In many ways, yes. But kicking a larger ball that is round is one thing compared to the soccer shape of a soccer ball.
Accuracy and distance vary with the situation, of course, but the basics are different and more than one player relied heavily on YouTube videos for instructions.
“In football you want to kick it with a lot of force and you want it to curl up mostly,” said Fiorica. “And in football it’s the opposite. You want to take it as high and as far as possible. “
What’s the approach?
“Wind is a big deal, hitting is a big deal and bends over the ball as you kick,” said Moquin. “They always hit the same spot so it’s a lot easier to get consistency that way, but it’s harder because there’s less room for error.”
Indeed, in soccer the goal posts do not move which increases accuracy, unlike soccer where a teammate can run to hit the ball sent in that direction.
UPrep Senior Davyeone Whitcomb is very familiar with the differences. He’s been kicking for the school’s soccer team for the past three seasons and playing soccer at the same time the school fielded a team.
I’ve heard of these soccer players who play soccer. As myself, I am both a soccer player and a soccer player. Playing soccer has contributed to foot dynamics, speed, and agility. Since I’m a kicker, it also helped me get under the placement and height of the ball. pic.twitter.com/xVTnFmSnKt
– Davyeone Whitcomb (@ Dwhitcomb022) April 13, 2021
“Field goals in football are like free kicks in football,” he said. “You have to notice the wind pattern and in football you have to lift the ball with length and distance.”
Additionally, there is other people around trying to block your kick, and full contact is perfectly legal. However, this pressure multiplies in field goal attempts where the game is suspended and all eyes are on the kicker as the game develops.
“It’s a world of difference,” said Whitcomb, adding that he accepts these situations. “It proves to the coaches and to yourself that you can handle the challenge.”
Whitcomb said he has heard from some college coaches to step out of high school, so is considering options that best suit his desire to study nursing after graduation. But he is also an advocate of young athletes who eventually try both soccer and football.
“It’s not just for kicking,” he said. “Running backs cut cuts while running and football helps. When you’re a broad receiver, you have your hands on the ball as a goalkeeper. And soccer can help you stay in shape. “
Don’t just kick
Bill Donegan, coach at Caledonia-Mumford / Byron-Bergen, has five players with a football background on his team, three from Cal-Mum and two from Byron-Bergen.
To say their posts came as a surprise is an understatement. It’s at the point where he has specialists.
Cal-Mum’s senior, Sebastian Kresge, takes care of extra points and field goals, and Byron-Bergen in his second year, Kendan Dressler, takes care of the kickoffs. But it is the story of Byron Bergen senior Ben Capostagno, who scored four goals for BB last fall, that captivates Donegan.
The Red Raiders played Clyde-Savannah in Week 3 and had some linebacker injury issues. So they turned to Capostagno.
“He did great,” said Donegan. “It just shows that all children need is an opportunity. Ben is fearless and has grown into a legitimate linebacker. It was part of our answer. “
Junior Evan Raniewicz led the Cal Mum soccer team with 12 goals last fall and classmate Alex Carnes scored six. Today they’re starters for the soccer team and Carnes has a 50 yard touchdown on the books as a receiver and Raniewicz has an interception as a defender.
“It’s a pleasant surprise,” said Donegan. “Much of the praise goes to our coaches. We have three employees teaching the game. “
That is not to say that it all started without challenges. It took some time to teach the newbies soccer basics like line-up, gap assignments, and quick counts, but the rewards have been good.
“They had to learn the basics but then it was time to give them a chance and let them go,” said Donegan.
At Marcus Whitman, Senior Zack Lovejoy led the Wildcats with eight goals and was Finger Lakes West Player of the Year last fall. On April 13, he had a 54 yard punt return for his team’s only score in a loss to Penn Yan / Dundee.
“There have been some adjustments,” said Lovejoy. “And it was a bit awkward at first, but that’s a great group of people.”
What about the contact?
“I play lacrosse, but the contact is a little different here,” he said.
Teammate Jordan Lahue is like Lovejoy as a soccer player and lacrosse player and both played youth soccer as second and third graders. But when the college season was postponed to spring, he didn’t hesitate to get back into the football groove before graduating from high school.
“Why not benefit from it?” said Lahue, who had two goals and five assists for the soccer team and sees regular time on the defensive and is the kicker / punter. “It’s cool. The first time I got run over, I kind of wondered … But that’s why I’m here. I want to help the team and it’s really a great opportunity. I’m just enjoying the ride.”
It doesn’t have to be over
The spring football season is coming to an end, and section tournaments begin this weekend. And Section V football is slated to return this fall, but that doesn’t necessarily mean football players face a choice.
As a rule, they can play soccer as well as soccer. Section V chairman Scott Barker said the double attendance rule has been in place in New York for some time, and Section V approved the rule last year.
That means athletes can play soccer for their school and then join the soccer team for weekend games. It’s not just football either. Students / athletes can participate in all sports twice, e.g. B. on a basketball player who fights in the high jump for athletics in the hall.
No priority sport needs to be set, but guidelines and rules are set by the league and written notification is required in Section V.