Men’s Interhall Football: Rookie Ramblers look for Siegfried to repeat in Stadium
John Helms | Friday, November 20, 2009
When a team is able to repeat as champions in back to back years, the two rosters are almost always close to identical. Rarely, if ever, has a defending champion lost more than two-thirds of its players but still find itself in the same position the following year. Yet that is exactly what Siegfried has done.
The Rambler’s championship last year was with a team ripe with seniors. But only seven players from that team remain on this year’s. In fact, there are 17 new faces.
“The team is completely different. Some of the plays may be the same, but the team has a completely different dynamic to it,” sophomore Colin Moore said.
The Ramblers graduated a total of 12 players last year. The players who are returning knew from the onset that they were in for a different season.
“This is a totally different team than last year with its own identity,” sophomore captain John Aversa said. “Last year we were a senior-laden group. This year we have a younger team.”
Younger is right. With eight new freshmen, they actually outnumber the total amount of players returning from last year.
“Our freshman class is tremendous and has contributed all over the field this year,” Aversa said. “We’re glad to have a young group of guys who have stepped in and played so well this season.”
But the real surprise for the Ramblers this year has been the contributions of several sophomores who are playing Interhall football for the first time, a few who have never even played organized football in their lives.
“I think these guys were just excited about the opportunity to play football,” Aversa said. “They thought they could contribute to the team. They have been critical to our success.”
In last Sunday’s semifinal win over Knott, it was two of these new sophomores making the biggest plays of the game. Michael Isaacs picked a ball off to steal the momentum away from the Juggernauts, who had dominated the game up to that point.
Then, in the second half, 6-foot-6 Will Gesicki made an acrobatic 25-yard catch to set up Siegfried’s first score of the game.
“These players have brought their speed, athleticism, and toughness to the field and have filled holes left by graduation, stepping in and making plays,” Aversa said.
With all these new players, leadership has become more and more important for those players returning from last year’s team. Senior captain Dex Cure has provided the crucial leadership that Siegfried has needed to gel as a team.
“Dex has really been huge for our team,” Moore said. “He’s been a great leader for us.”
It wasn’t always smooth sailing for the Ramblers, though. With a loss and a tie during the regular season, the team had some growing to do before they were ready for their playoff run.
“The team has really jelled with the progression of the season,” Aversa said. “With so many new guys on the team this year it took some time to really find our identity and become a better team.”
Now with just one game to go, these Ramblers have made one thing clear; they aren’t living in the shadow of last year’s team. They are doing things their own way.