The Absegami High School football team faced adversity even before the season began.
Standout quarterback and defensive back Rashad Kinlaw, who has verbally committed to the University of Notre Dame, broke his right fibula on June 30 while playing for the United States at the U-19 World Championships in Austin, Texas.
Kinlaw is expected to return three to five weeks after the season starts, according to Scuderi.
Scuderi said Kinlaw, who also missed five games when he broke the same leg last season, will see time at quarterback, wide receiver and defensive back when he returns. Kinlaw will even return punts.
Mike Nolan steps in at quarterback for the injured Kinlaw. Nolan went 3-2 as a starter last season.
“Mike’s a great leader,” Scuderi said. “He’s very, very savvy. He’s grown into the role.
Absegami returns several experienced players from last season’s 5-5 team.
“We have a lot of seniors who have been playing for three years,” Scuderi said. “It seems like they really enjoy being together. A lot of them have grown up playing together. It’s been a fun team to coach. You feel good going into the season that they’re going to play hard for each other.”
Absegami returns several standouts at the skill positions.
Running back Tyler Bing rushed for 623 yards and eight touchdowns. He also caught three touchdown passes and has the speed to score every time he touches the ball.
Junior David Hood (92 carries for 540 yards) emerged as one of the Cape-Atlantic League’s top runners.
“David really grew substantially over the summer,” Scuderi said. “He’s matured and gotten much faster.”
The Braves also have experience on the offensive and defensive lines. Colin Lynch and Adrian Kaminski return on the offensive line. Kevin Lynch leads the defensive line.
Tiger Kirvay and Darryl Loveland are quick hard-hitting linebackers.
Absegami has struggled the past two seasons with injuries and some close early-season defeats.
Scuderi and the Braves are hoping for some better luck this season.
“We just have to catch a break,” Scuderi said. “I sound like a whining, cry baby, but in the past couple of years we’ve had some bad luck. We have to find a way for our program to win (the close) games.”
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