Teamwork, Family and Candybars: The Viking Football Winning Recipe
September 30, 2013Paul D Schreiber High School
On Saturday 9/28/13, The Port Washington Vikings (3-0) treated a large homecoming crowd to a 55-28 victory over the Great Neck Rebels (0-3). One can't help wondering if there is something different about Viking football this year. For those who look closely or even superficially. there are many readily apparent signs. For starters, the Vikings have not put 55 points on the scoreboard for at least 10 years (maybe longer but easily accessible records only go back to 2003). But there are other interesting differences as well.
This 2013 Viking team has shown a remarkable cohesion and ability to work together. The Pride in Port Homecoming Game provided an opportunity for many of the Viking players to get in on the scoring blitz with 5 different players scoring on the ground or through the air (Mike Gennusa 13 carries/153 yards 1 TD, Matt Nicholson 4 carries/40 yards 2 TDs, Angel Reyes 4 carries/ 10 yards 1 TD plus an electrifying 100 yard kickoff return for another TD). In the air, starting QB James Burns had 5 completions in 11 attempts for 67 yards and 2 TDs, and in the second half Matt Nicholson had an additional 3 completions out of 5 attempts for another 48 yards and 1 TD. Robert Reyes had 2 receiving TDs on 3 completions for 35 yards and Aidan Finnerty had another TD on 4 completions for 45 yards. Almost all players on the roster saw action.
This year's Viking team has a personality and a message all its own. Written on the back of his rib cage protector, Angel Reyes has the work "Family" written in black. Not only does this team have two sets of twins: Angel and Rob Reyes and Anton and Marc Livshin; the whole team plays like family. Mike Gennusa has also taken to making his message known by the writing on his back protector which said 2-0 before the beginning of this weeks game, and judging by the looks of things so far this season, it would not be surprising to see Gennusa's back protector sporting 7-0 going into the final game of the season.
Perhaps this team's development is a culmination of a change in culture and perception years in the making. As early as 2010, when Senior QB James Burns played on the JV team, he started a new tradition. After every game, win lose or draw Burns would give his offensive linemen candy bars the first practice after a game. Maybe the candybars are a self-preserving offering of thanks, a sweet repayment of a debt of gratitude for not letting the opposing team get to the QB or maybe they are simply a delicious carrot that can be used to fire-up the line for a 4th and 1 play. Who knows? As one renowned QB coach once said of offensive lineman, "those guys will do anything for food". Whatever the reason, the gesture appears to have been successful and the team and the program have made great strides. The offensive line in particular has done very well this season and in the Homecoming Game, although they may be unsung heros to many. The offensive line has been instrumental in Port Washington's great success running the ball. As a result , the offensive line collectively, (Elijah Dumpson, Austin Hanover, EJ Oldak, Chris Siefert and Manny Salvatierra) have been named the iHigh.com player(s) of the week for game 3.