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Sewanhaka Strives For Improvement

Football team looks to team leaders for better 2013 season

Sewanhaka High School Indians’ varsity football head coach, George Kasimatis, has one expectation this season: get better every week. 


“We have to improve on our skill sets,” said Kasimatis. “Every practice, every rep, will make us better. If you get better every time, things should take care of themselves.” 


The strength of the team lies in the wide receiver positions, led by seniors Mahlik Elliott and Jacques Francois. However, this season Kasimatis wants to the Indians to become more versatile. 


“We were a pass-first team last season. We are concentrating now on stopping the run and becoming a more run-oriented team,” Kasimatis said. 


A big part of the run game will rely on senior running back Deante Gonzalez. Kasimatis also expects Gonzalez to be what he wants all his seniors to be: a leader. 


Coming off a disappointing 2012, Kasimatis will rely on experience this season. 


“We have a lot of guys coming back [from last year’s team] and playing better football,” he said. “We played some of our best football at the end of the year last season.” The expectation is that this experience will lead to better line play, tighter defense and stronger special teams.


Even though wide receiver is the strength of this team according to Kasimatis, a big part of that relies on who is throwing them the ball. There is a quarterback competition between senior Jake Mellen and sophomore Elijah Tracy. Neither will gain an advantage until coaches look at scrimmage tape, a precursor to live play.  


“At practice everything is controlled,” said Kasimatis. “When the pressure is on [during scrimmages] we will see who emerges. When we review film, we will see a lot.” 


As for the defense, they will focus on being strong up front and stopping the run. They will be led by senior lineman Jemil Are and middle linebacker Tyler Regnier.


“We have to play hard on every single snap and get 11 guys to the ball,” said defensive coach Nick Rawls.  “We want to force some turnovers.” 


Kasimatis is hoping the offseason workout program will lead to a more physical team on the field. “We have to focus on the little things, blocking and tackling,” he said. “A big weakness of ours last year was we weren’t physical or dedicated enough.” 


The Indians face a tough schedule this year.


“Every game is crucial. We are playing in a 12-team conference and if you lose a game you can be out,” said Kasimatis. “Everybody is going to be tough.”


The Indians open up the season Sept. 12 at Lynbrook.