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Mineola Ready For Another Playoff Run

Nobody wants to make excuses, but sometimes when the injury bug hits, it’s impossible to overcome. Mineola Mustangs football head coach Dan Guido, entering his 28th season at helm, knows the injuries were the cause for their first-round defeat at the hands of the West Hempstead Rams last November.

“There was too many injuries on the offensive line last season,” said Guido. “It was supposed to be our strength and it ended up being a weak link by the end of the season.”

Even with those injuries, the Mustangs went 4-4 during the regular season.

This season, the Mustangs are projected to finish third—behind Roosevelt and Locust Valley—in Conference IV, moving from Conference III. Guido believes that optimism is due to their experience.

“We are returning all of our skill position guys from last year—with the exception of Vinny Bieniek,” he said.

Bieniek, the 6-foot-2 quarterback from last season, graduated and moved on to play baseball at SUNY Old Westbury. His play was a major reason the team clinched a playoff spot last year. In their fourth victory of the season, he passed for 183 yards and three touchdowns while adding a touchdown on the ground.

He will be replaced by senior James Gerstner. Despite his relative inexperience under center, Guido is confident that the offense will not skip a beat.

“He’s a smart and quick athlete,” said Guido. “He’s quite a lacrosse player as well.” Gerstner had been the running back last year, but previously played quarterback on the junior varsity team in 2012.

It will be important that he is protected by the offensive line, which Guido believes will be crucial to their success this season. The unit graduated some solid players from 2013, but will be senior-laden.

“The guys have been working hard with the coaches,” said Guido. “Time will tell how it plays out but I think we’ll be okay there. The unit suffered a huge blow last year with a slew of injuries.”

The injury bug originally hit when Anthony Caruso went down with an injury before the season. The 6-foot-4, 290 pound senior was going to be counted on to anchor the o-line, but his absence affected the dynamic of the entire line.

Even without playing his senior season, he was able to parlay the success of his junior season into a scholarship at LIU Post.

“Caruso was easy to run behind,” he said. “But you can’t plan for injuries.”

On the defensive side of the ball, the team will be relying on the experienced unit that will be returning eight starters from last year. Guido believes that will be an improved unit from 2013 that allowed over 30 points four times.

They struggled to defend the run—notably Enrique McFarlane and Bruce Gibbs of West Hempstead, who combined to rush for 275 yards and four TDs.

The team will open up at Hampton Street Stadium on Sept. 13 at 2 p.m. against Valley Stream South.

News

Senator Jack Martins discussed education, business and drug use among other topics in a an exclusive interview with this newspaper and FiOS 1 News. He’s currently seeking re-election in November, being challenged by Democrat Adam Haber. Pointing to what he called “key legislation,” particularly the tax cap legislation passed in 2011 and prescription drug bill he helped shepherd to enactment, Martins feels New York State is on track to continue fiscal responsibility.

 

“In these last four years, we’ve had four balanced budgets, we’ve cut taxes working together, we have paid off debt, streamlined government, kept spending below 2 percent each one of those years,” Martins said.

A contingent of 80 Mineola runners embarked on their first trek to lower Manhattan last year for the Tunnel To Towers 5K Run through the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel toward the World Trade Center site. This year, the United Mavericks, a networking group of local business people that support local charities and causes, are gearing up surpass that number.

Mavericks reps say they’re half way to gathering 1,000 people to run in the event’s 13th year on Saturday, Sept. 28.

 

The run honors a fireman Stephen Siller, who was enjoying a day off planning to play golf before he learned the Twin Towers were hit by two airplanes during the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks. He was one of the 343 firefighters who died when the towers collapsed.


Sports

Though it had already hosted the series of lacrosse games during the regular season this past spring, Chaminade High School’s new Gold Star Stadium was officially christened on Saturday, Sept. 6, named in honor of the 56 alumni who had perished during combat.

 

“Tradition holds that when one dies in the service a gold star is given to the family,” said Chaminade President Bro. Thomas Cleary. “Our 56 Gold Star Alumni are honored for their selflessness, courage, and integrity.”

Although the expectations for the 2014 Mineola Mustangs boy’s varsity soccer season may be somewhat measured, the team enters the season with the goal of a berth in the Nassau County playoffs. The team is young and inexperienced but there is light at the end of the tunnel.

 

There is considerable talent on the horizon. There are only four starting seniors and five sophomores on the roster. Four year starting senior forward Daniel Pardo returns (19 goals in three seasons) as does senior standout goalkeeper Andrew Pereira.


Calendar

Town Zoning Meeting - September 17

International Night - September 18

Bereavement Support Group - September 19


Columns

1959: The Year The Music Stopped Playing
Written by Michael A. Miller, mmillercolumn@gmail.com

The Eccentric Heiress Of ‘Empty Mansions’
Written by Mike Barry, MFBarry@optonline.net

Yellow Margarine And A Pitch For The Ages
Written by Michael A. Miller, mmillercolumn@gmail.com