Head Coach Vincent Sinagra along with seniors St. Clair Ryan and Stefano Marziale provide an upshot of the upcoming season.
PAXTON, Mass.—For the Anna Maria College football team, the 2016 season is all about stopping the "what if" mentality.
"I don't want our team coming off the field saying 'what if we had done this' or 'what if we had done that,'' said head coach Vincent Sinagra in an interview with Worcester News Tonight on Charter 3.
Last spring, the veterans all made small goals for themselves, and collaborated on team goals. Together, they'll use their personal goals to eliminate the what if's and work towards the ultimate goal: winning.
Each practice is a step in the right direction. The AMCATS have been practicing with a sense of urgency and are anxious to get non-conference play underway.
Said senior punter and linebacker Stefano Marziale (Cranston, R.I.), "We're excited to get back on the field and see where our hard work will take us."
Anna Maria will put a smaller team on the field this season, but Sinagra is confident that he has the right number of men to get accomplish the right things.
"When you have talent, all you have to do is refine it and coach it up," said Sinagra. "We're solid at all the spots that we needed, and I think we're going to do some pretty good things."
Luckily, the AMCATS return some key components to their offense, including 2015's starting quarterback, Malik Faison (Bowie, Md.). Faison has had a decorated career at Anna Maria and officially took over as starting quarterback last season. He compiled 1,022 passing yards and threw for seven touchdowns.
The AMCATS also return Faison's favorite target, junior wide receiver Trai Weaver (Waterbury, Conn.). Weaver led all receivers in receptions (24), yards (536), and touchdown (five) as a sophomore in 2015.
Senior running back St. Clair Ryan (South Easton, Mass.) will look to fill the shoes left vacant by Chris Bettano '16, who graduated as the program's second-best all-time running back. Bettano accounted for over 37 percent of all of Anna Maria's rushing yards as a senior. Anna Maria will also see five underclassmen and three rookies compete for time at running back.
Defensively, the AMCATS are starting anew following the graduation of five of their top six performers. Marziale is the defense's top returner after he totaled 43 tackles and six tackles-for-loss as at linebacker. Junior Tyler Jacobs (New Bedford, Mass.) also returns after compiling 32 tackles, one sack, four tackles-for-loss and two pass breakups as a sophomore linebacker.
Marziale also provides senior leadership to the AMCATS special teams. A two-time all-conference punter, Marziale led the league in punting yards in 2015. Aiding him on special teams is sophomore kicker Francis Cole (Maspeth, N.Y.) who added a much-needed kicking game to Anna Maria's offense last season.
The AMCATS also return 38 other veterans this season while welcoming a freshman class of 34 student-athletes. Anna Maria has also added four new coaches to the staff, including former Anna Maria wide receiver Dominque Concepcion, '13, who holds five career records at Anna Maria.
Anna Maria kicks off the 2016 campaign on Thursday, September 1st against Coast Guard in a 7:00 p.m. contest. The AMCATS will open Eastern Collegiate Football Conference (ECFC) play on the road a month later at Castleton.