Senior-less Vincentian vows to continue building in Year 2
How far Vincentian football progresses in Year 2 won't necessarily be measured in wins and losses. It more likely will be judged by other numbers — such as how many players are on the roster.
One thing the Royals won't be counting this summer that they were as the program was born last season? Blank looks.
“This time last year, everyone was staring at each other not knowing what to expect,” coach Tim Storino said.
“We're still growing, and we're still a year or two away from really making strides to be where I'd like us to be. But it's a great group of great kids who are enjoying this process right now.”
Vincentian went 1-8 last season while playing as an independent team, although the Royals played a Tri-County South Conference schedule with all games on the road.
This season, the Royals still won't be eligible for the WPIAL playoffs, and they almost certainly won't have their coach either — Storino was suspended for the season by the WPIAL for recruiting grade school players.
His appeal was denied by the PIAA, and although Storino was exploring other legal options, he indicated that former Deer Lakes coach Todd Hazlett would coach the team on an interim basis this season. Hazlett was hired as an assistant in February.
But even without their coach and without any hope for the playoffs, the Royals are eager to continue the ascension of the program from scratch into what they hope someday soon is a competitive, perennially postseason-caliber team.
The difference between last year's offseason workouts and the current one's appear to be stark.
“Especially when we're running some drills, everything is going so much smoother, and everyone knows what we're supposed to be doing,” junior quarterback Michael Tappe said. “It just seems like we've gotten a lot better. We're so far ahead of where we were last year.”
Storino said the relatively tiny school in McCandless produced a team with 18 players for its inaugural season.
Twenty-six were on the preseason roster this year.
All of this without seniors. Like everyone else on the roster, the Royals' projected best players — Tappe, linebacker/tight end Paul Adams, two-way lineman Chris Henderson, fullback/linebacker Anthony Della Valle and linebacker Anthony Tommarello — are underclassmen.
“We'll try to get through this season and fight this year just like we did last year,” Storino said.