GREENWICH, N.Y. (NEWS10) — The 2022 high school football season is officially underway in the Capital Region, and Thursday marks the final day of “Champions Week” on News 10. Our final stop is Greenwich to catch up with the Class D champion Witches.
Coming off a third section title in seven seasons, the Greenwich Witches have a target on their back heading into the 2022 season. After posting an 11-1 record last year, head coach Brandon Linnett embraces the extra attention his team has garnered in Class D.
“I think you, you wanna be that team,” said Linnett. “And…we’ve kind of relished that. Last time we did it we were able to do it back-to-back in ’15 and ’16, and…we’re looking forward to the rematches.”
One glaring void the witches need to address is the quarterback position following the departure of their do-it-all signal caller Jesse Kuzmich. Senior Dutch Hamilton stands as the favorite to win the job, and he looks forward to the opportunity to take on that new role.
“It’d mean a lot,” said Hamilton. “I’ve been working at QB since I was little, so it, it’d be pretty cool to be a quarterback senior year, you know. We had a really good team last year, but…it’s exciting to see, you know, how well we’re gonna be. I know I’m not going to be able to be as good as Jesse, but, you know, I’m going to try.”
Much of the playmaking onus on offense will fall on the shoulders of returning power running back Matthew Conlin, who welcomes the added workload, but he recognizes it will take a full team effort to repeat their success from last season.
“I’m hoping I can succeed and do good for the team; do good for Greenwich, especially with Jesse leaving,” said Conlin. “He was a great player for us; did great things for the offense. But we got a good team coming up. We’ve got some young guys that are gonna step up and do really good. Everyone’s working their tail off, so it’s great to see that everyone’s so enthusiastic about it, and ready to get in and…sacrifice their body for the team.”
On defense, Greenwich pitched five shutouts last season, and Conlin knows what’s necessary to replicate the success the Witches had on that side of the ball.
“We’re really aiming to stop the other team at the line this year, so we’re gonna play a tight defense,” said Conlin. “(We’re) putting a bunch of great players on the defensive line.”
Greenwich opens up their season with a league opponent: the Stillwater Warriors. Coach Linnett is excited about his team returning to action, but he’s managing his expectations for the game.
“I’d like to see obviously intensity, hard work,” said Linnett. “We’re gonna make some mistakes; we don’t have the scrimmage week, obviously. And just, you know, stick together when things don’t go well.”
The Witches kick off against the Warriors Saturday at 7:00 p.m.