ALBANY, NY (NEWS10) — The Burnt Hills Spartans are coming off their 10th section title in school history. Head coach Matt Shell and company are eagerly awaiting the start of the 2022 season. However, this season will be filled with a lot more youth.
“A lot of new starters, but they’ve been doing really well they had a great summer and I’m excited about this bunch,” Shell said. “They’re just a great hard-working bunch, a lot of great effort, very coachable. So, I’m pleased with what they’ve been doing so far.”
They’ve already solidified the starting quarterback position. Replacing Tyler Manning will be a challenge, but junior Myles Yannuzzi is ready to step up.
“He knows what it takes to be a successful athlete,” Shell said. “He’s a smart kid and has a great demeanor. He’ll be our quarterback and he’s been doing a great job so far.”
Although Yannuzzi isn’t new to the team, the task of becoming the starter is a big one. So, he leaned on his former and current teammates for guidance.
“It’s been a lot, but I have a good team around me. They’ve been really supportive,” said Yannuzzi. “The returners from last year have been really helpful with me learning the playbook and it’s been a really welcoming environment.”
That environment in combo with a veteran offensive line and backfield should make life easier for Yannuzzi as the Spartans attempt to make another championship run. After making it to the Regional Final a season ago, senior offensive lineman Shane McClernan said the goal is to make it even further.
“It’s definitely a big motivation,” McClernan said. “We kind of know everyone is kind of gunning for us because when you’re the guy on top everybody kind of wants to get you, so we’re looking to defend that title and show that we’re still the best.”
Proving to be the best starts with establishing the run game. Enter in senior tailback Colden Swisher.
“I really think we can punish teams. I mean we have three, four really good running backs, and we can cycle through them,” Swisher said. “One gets tired we can put in another one and just keep pounding the ball.”
To test the strength of his team, coach Shell and the Spartans will line up against Shenendehowa for a scrimmage in week zero and play CBA come week one. Shell believes these two matchups will be good tools to evaluate where his team is.
“It gives us a chance to find out what we need to work on and I just think a scrimmage is more beneficial to us than playing in week zero, is what it really boils down to,” said Shell. “The scrimmage and playing a great team like CBA week one will help us in classification play. So those are really good tests for us the first two weeks to make sure we’re prepared and ready to go beyond that.”