The Pleasantville High School football team will rely on a core of experienced sophomores this season.
“Normally, you don’t get a chance to say you have experienced sophomores,” Pleasantville’s second-year coach David Dudley said.
A number of the Greyhounds started as freshmen last year. Pleasantville has not won a game since 2009. But the program seems to be headed in the right direction now.
“Last year is in the past,” Dudley said. “This is a new year, a new opportunity.”
The Greyhounds have 35 players on the roster and only two are seniors — running backs and defensive backs Hassan Calloway and Reese Pearson. The Greyhounds have speed at the skill positions.
Both Calloway and Pearson run the 40-yard dash in 4.5 seconds. Sophomore quarterback Che’quan Hargrose also returns after starting as a freshman.
Opponents overmatched Pleasantville up front last season. The Greyhounds started four freshmen on the offensive line.
But now those freshmen are sophomores. Dudley said sophomore lineman Maurice Wilks (6-foot-3, 281 pounds) could emerge as one of the area’s best this season.
“We can run behind him, and he allows us to throw the ball because he can protect the quarterback’s backside,” Dudley said.
A pair of junior linebackers should impact Pleasantville’s defense.
Mike Forster and Carlos Zamora played at Holy Spirit as freshmen but sat out last season.
“They’re going to be a tremendous asset to our program,” Dudley said.
Dudley has a basic goal for the Greyhounds this season.
“We still have to learn how to win,” Dudley said. “It’s a rebuilding year because we didn’t win a game last year.
“I think we have the ability to shock some teams. But the first thing we have to do is win a game. We just want to focus each week and at the end of the season hopefully we’ve accumulated a few wins.”
Dudley is also expecting a couple of freshmen to contribute this season. With so many young players, the emphasis is on the future.
“They have to get bigger and stronger and as they progress through high school, I’m expecting bigger things from them,” Dudley said.
But Dudley wants Calloway and Pearson to have successful senior seasons.
“They deserve to win,” Dudley said, “and their mindset is, ‘It’s my senior year and regardless of whether you’re young or not I need you to play like a senior.’ ”
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