The fall is almost here, which means it’s time for some football. Plainview-Old Bethpage varsity football coach Chris Rogler sat down with the Herald to discuss going into his ninth season in command of the team.
Q: What are you most looking forward to this upcoming season?
A: We are looking over to a lot of returning skill guys on both sides of the ball. We got back all of our quarterbacks, a handful of receivers and two of our running backs on the offense. On the defensive side, our secondary and a cast of linebackers return. We have a little bit of work to do up front on both the offensive and defenisve line. We have some big bodies and we are happy with their efforts. I think we’re in good shape with those guys going into the season. We also have five or six players coming over from Jericho since their high school just lost its football program.
Q: What are some of the specific players you are most looking forward to coaching this season?
A: Julian Purnell is a two-way star for us. He acts as a wide receiver and our wildcat quarterback. He’s got great speed and great hands. He’s very athletic. Another one is Andrew Albertelli. He was actually a newcomer for us last year. It was his first time playing football. He’s a linebacker but he’ll probably play more of a strong safety role for us this year. On the offensive side of the ball, he’s our fullback and we’ll sometimes use him at tight end. We’re excited about them coming back. One of our big lineman coming back is Joe Ferri. He’s a good, solid lineman for us. I’m looking forward to seeing him play.
Q: What’s the biggest obstacle that your team will be facing this year?
A: We’re in Division I football. We are faced this year with being in a 12-team conference. That’s going to be a little bit of a struggle for us because we have to move a little higher in the seeding with who we play. For us, we are going to be 10 seed and we’ll go as high as playing a two seed. In the past, we wouldn’t have to go that high because of the relief system in place and the way the schedule was set up.
Q: What’s an important lesson for your players to remember for the season?
A: It’s sticking together throughout the entire season and playing together as a team through the highs and lows. There are definitely four to five games on our schedule that are going to be very competitive. There will probably be three to four games that will be really challenging for us. It will be how we approach it and how we come out of it. I would love to sneak into the back of the eight-team playoff so we’ll see if we can do that. It’s going to be a lot of fun with a great group of kids.