The Massapequa Chiefs varsity football team will kick off their season next month and Coach Kevin Shippos sat down with the Massapequa Observer to discuss what he’s looking forward to in his ninth year with the team.
Q: What are you most excited about this upcoming season?
A: I think a lot of things. We’ve got a mixture of experienced seniors, youthful juniors and some sophomores that show a lot of potential. We’ve been going since last week and the team has been working really hard. It’s a real quiet bunch, which is good in my mind. They come to practice every day and work hard, doing everything that we ask of them. I’m just excited to get out there and see them play against somebody else. I’m eager to see what they do against another team.
Q: What’s the expectation of what you want to see from your players?
A: I talk to them all the time about having a great effort and attitude. Taking care of what you can control, which is basically making sure that they are ready for their assignment. I don’t talk to them about wins and losses because if they can focus on what they can control, the rest takes care of themselves. The expectation is always to compete and give everything they have every single play. If they can do that, then we’ll be in pretty good shape.
Q: What do you think will be the biggest challenge for your team?
A: I think every team has a similar challenge with a sport like football. It’s an extremely tough sport to stay healthy. Every team is a few injuries away from having a disaster season. I hope that the starters for us stay healthy because that wasn’t the case last year and it really kind of hurt us. It’s part of the game and you never want to see kids get hurt. I know that these kids will give everything they have and I hope they can stay healthy.
Q: Who are some specific players that have stood out to you in camp?
A: It all starts with our returning guys. Alex Rende is an all-conference player for us. He’s a receiver and defensive back. He’s just a great athlete that we’re moving all over the field. He’s going to be a player that teams really zero in on. It’s going to be hard to get him the ball, but I still think he can get open because he’s got blazing speed. Defensive end and offensive tackle Dan Meaney is a great vocal leader for us. Another returning lineman, Thomas Goncalves, just loves football and really inspires the younger guys. Tim Morrow is one of the younger guys and one of our skill guys as a running back, wide receiver and defensive back. He’s an extremely hard worker and an extremely fast kid. He’s going to be turning some heads. We also have a transfer from Oyster Bay named Sam Khodaparast who is a defensive lineman and running back. He’s a bowling ball on wheels. He’s an explosive kid. There’s other players, of course, but those are the ones that stand out to me.
Q: How far do you think this team can go?
A: They can go as far as they want. We have the talent. We have the leadership. We have a great mix of youth and experience. The youth is buying into what the experience is selling to them. I think the sky’s the limit, even though we play in a brutally tough conference.