Martin looks to continue Cazenovia football dynasty

first_imgSome coaches, when they take over successful programs, simply look to build on what was accomplished before. In Kyle Martin’s case, that means adding to a Cazenovia football legacy that already towers over the rest of their Central New York peers.Over the course of the last decade, no team in Section III has a better record – 94 victories against just 12 defeats, a .887 win percentage, spanning the tenures of the late Tom Neidl and Jay Steinhort, capped by a 2015 state Class B championship.“The expectations for this program are always high,” said senior running back Ryan Romagnoli.With Steinhorst’s retirement after the 2018 season, Martin was chosen in March as the new head coach. Though just 34 years old, Martin has served as a varsity assistant since 2015, and he retained long-time Cazenovia assistants Mark Evans and Rich Huftalen on his staff.“I wanted to be a head coach at some point,” said Martin. “(Getting the job) was a surprise, but I was prepared for it, and it’s nice in that the foundation (for success) is built for you.”Senior linebacker Vito Borio said that the commitment provided by Martin, Evans and Huftalen, plus all the other Cazenovia coaches at all levels, sets a high standard.“Our coaches are beyond dedicated and consistent,” he said.Whether coaches or players, the Lakers all have the same thing in mind – regain the sectional Class B crown after championship-game defeats to Homer in 2017 and Skaneateles one year ago.That effort will depend a lot on Romagnoli, who returns to anchor Cazenovia’s backfield. Martin said the plan is to have him get the ball in as many situations as possible, whether as a runner or taking snaps as he sometimes did in 2018.Michael Parrella will see most of the time at quarterback after Drew Johnson graduated. At 6-foot-2, Parrella has the ability to see over defenses when throwing the ball, while also capable of taking off to run in the Lakers’ multi-faceted offense, which can run a pro set or spread, or even go no-huddle when it wants.Ty Freyer and Evan Murray are Cazenovia’s top wideouts. Like Romagnoli, they are not big players, but have built up their durability through plenty of off-season work in the weight room.A potentially dominant, imposing offensive line is charged with the task of protection . John Frega and Gordon Wester are returning starters, with 300-pound Carter Polhamus joining the line and Cameron Cunningham taking over at center, with Jake Irwin, Riley Hanson and Cory Fuller also part of a deep rotation.Keegan Baileyand Dylan Anderson anchor Cazenovia’s defensive line, flanked by Wester and Jason Olkowski at end. They work in front of Borio, who along with Frega should prove mainstays at linebacker.Freyer and Murray are both returning starters at safety, joined in the secondary by Jack McDonald, who returned to football this year after already making a name in lacrosse for Cazenovia.Cazenovia has just three home games on its schedule, including key back-to-back Class B East division tests on Sept. 14 and 21 against Oneida and Chittenango, with the portable lights returning to Buckley-Volo Field Oct. 11 when Central Valley Academy visits.The fact that Skaneateles moved back to Class C this fall means, at the very least, there’s guaranteed to be a new sectional champion. Martin said that how his players bond holds the key whether Cazenovia is on top again in November.“Team chemistry is the key,” he said. “It’s what they do as much off the field, building a sense of camaraderie and sacrificing for their teammates.”It all starts again next Friday night when Cazenovia visits New Hartford for a 6 p.m. kickoff.Share this:FacebookTwitterLinkedInRedditComment on this Story Tags: Cazenoviafootballlast_img read more