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Hardy2
August 30, 2006

Hampton Bays Football Preview Tough Tests Ahead for Inexperienced Baymen


"We're going to be a young, inexperienced team and we will have a lot of players that had no playing experience last season," said Hampton Bays head coach Mike Oestreicher. "A lot of kids are going to be thrown into the fire, but that's what happens when you don't have a junior varsity."

Oestreicher was referring to the budgetary constraints that eliminated Hampton Bays' junior varsity football team in 2005 and conceivably pushed a respected, successful and often overachieving program significantly back to the bare bones drawing board.

"We're reestablishing the program now and we now have 33 players on our junior varsity, although only 11 of them played football last season," Oestreicher said. "When you lose a junior varsity it really sets the program back."

The Baymen (3-5 last season) have six seniors returning including starting quarterback/safety Andrew Raimo, a three-year varsity starter and two-time All-Division selection. "We're expecting him to have a very good season," said Oestreicher.

Garret Altenkirch, an offensive/defensive tackle and Zack Sanders, Hampton Bays' starting center/middle linebacker, along with Raimo are three players to watch this season. Lineman Marc Titus, tight end/defensive end TJ Besch and wide receiver/defensive back Christian Castro round out the senior class. Junior Nick Lynch, a three-year starter, returns to plays wide receiver/defensive end.

"We have a lot of players that are looking to be impact players this season," said Oestreicher. Those players include lineman George Perez, running back/defensive back Luis Gracia, tailback/linebacker Marco Gonzales, utility player Mike Lloyd, lineman Miroslav Mitev and linebacker/running back Richie Pecoraro.

"The mentality here is that we're going to work our tails off," Oestreicher said. "We pride ourselves on outworking our opponents and in being in every football game with a chance to win them. We don't have any superstars and we don't have any egos here. We'll continue to improve with each game."

Hampton Bays is seeded eighth out of the 12 teams in Suffolk's Division IV. "We've taken two teams that were seeded ninth and reached the playoffs two of the last three years," he said.

The Baymen will run a balanced offense this season, spreading the ball around with Raimo, a polished quarterback that can make plays on the fly and help put points on the scoreboard. In other words . . . the ball is in Raimo's hands. Either Gracia, Gonzales or Pecoraro will emerge as the starting ball carrier with the other two providing much-needed depth for Hampton Bays' rushing attack. Lloyd's offensive versatility will also be beneficial.

An aggressive defensive unit, the Baymen are likely to have their problems defensively, largely due to returning only two starters. "We're going to have some challenges," said Oestreicher. "We've got some hurdles to overcome. If we're able to go 4-4 this year, that's a great season, because next year we really have to make a push."

Hampton Bays opens its season at home on September 16, hosting a tough Shoreham-Wading River team at 1:30 p.m.

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