8/24 7:00 @
2007 Team Preview
Size a Big Factor for Celtics
New Lenox (Providence) - Providence head coach Mark Goglianese summed up what he thought was a key factor in last season’s losses, “Pound for pound we just couldn’t match up with some of the bigger team and they drove the ball and kept us on our heals”.
The Celtics will be looking to remedy that situation, as Providence’s strength this season will be its size upfront. “We’re going to big and strong on our offensive line. That’s going to be our strength this year.” Coglianese said.
On the offensive side of the line the Celtics will see several starters back, including Kevin Maloney 6’4, 215 lbs) & Zack Panfil (6’3, 250 lbs). They’ll be joined by George Gniadecki (6’3 260 lbs) & junior Patrick Ward (OL 6’7 290 lbs), both who’d seen a lot of action last year. Coglianese said Ward is the biggest guy on the team.
Returning on the defensive side of the ball Paddy O’Connor (DL 6’3 215) with 61 tackles, along with David Togher (DL 6’1 185 lbs) 45 tackles. Greg Bennett (LB 5’10 200 lbs) who had 76 tackles will be key at linebacker while the defensive backfield is shored up by returning DB’s Ken Eichorst and Mark Coglianese. Coglianese’s 6 interceptions lead the Celtics last year.
When it comes to the guys that will be handling the ball the most Drew Abernathy will be getting the call. A strong down hill runner who averaged 5.5 yards a carry while rushing for 570 yards last year.
While Abernathy will be seeing a large number of carries this season, look for tailback Sean Lindbloom, to do some damage to unsuspecting teams. Coglianese said while Lindbloom didn’t see much action last year (53 yards total), the track star made a big impression last spring with his speed on the oval and is most likely the fastest player on the team.
Tom Barry (6’2 180 lbs sr.) will be stepping in at QB this year and looking to connect with WR Hayden Grove (6’2 170 lbs) who steps in the position held by by All-State wideout senior Mike Maher last year.
While head coach Coglianese, wouldn’t make any excuses for last years regular season performance, in which the Celtics went 1-4, he did say it was a tough way to start his career as a varsity head coach.
“Losing coach Sef [Matt Senffner, the state’s winningest high school head coach] was bad enough, but we also lost our offensive coordinator… It took a while to get [our new offense] in place. And by week 6 the kids got a little bit of confidence… and it snowballed form there.” Cognlianese said referring to the Celtics 7 game-winning streak that brought them to the 7A semifinals.
A major goal for Coglianese is keeping the winning tradition at Providence. “We’ve been in the playoffs now 16 years in a row. Last year that was in question. We’re just trying to up the tradition here.”
While Coglianese, knows that the with 8A Runner-up Mt Carmel & 7A State Champs St. Rita, the Chicago Catholic League Blue will be a real challenge for any of the 5 schools in it to win, he feels pretty good about the Celtics chances come playoff time, saying, “If we can get in to the playoffs. We’re pretty confident that we can make a pretty good run at it”.
The Celtics will get a playoff caliber challenge to start the season, as the Celtics first game of the year will be with area rival Lincoln Way East. East won last year in a 15-14 heartbreaker. The Griffins will be bring back running back Dan Cebula for a 3rd year & QB Black Hammond (6’5 225 lbs sr.) who is one of the top QB’s in the state.
by Vincent Johnson
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