Today’s news:

Knowing the Score

It is almost September, which means that high school football is right around the corner. 

Right now, students from across the Bronx are reporting to school early to practice drills for the oncoming season.  Over in the PSAL, for years, Staten Island and Brooklyn have dominated the championships, more specifically Curtis and Fort Hamilton high school easily besting teams from the Bronx.  But this is a new year and as anyone knows, with graduation and other issues affecting team play, anything can happen. 

Over at Lehman High School, as can be seen in the story adjacent to this column, Debra Vance has taken over as the head coach for the Lions varsity team.  Lehman has been a mainstay in the playoffs for years, and it will be interesting to see how well they fare a year after winning Carmine Colasanto’s 200th career victory, having lost their longtime coach to the payroll controversy that also cost the school its legendary principal Robert Leder, and most of the team’s starters to graduation. 

If anyone can get the job done, it’s Vance.  If you really want to boil down Lehman’s success in football, one only needs to look over to Vance’s lengthy career at the well-known Bronx school. 

The new varsity head coach eats, drinks and sleeps football (she has also successfully coached the boys’ volleyball team while also holding down responsibilities for the New York Sharks women’s tackle football team). 

While Colasanto was coaching the varsity team to 200+ victories, Vance was responsible for turning new, green players who entered the school’s junior varsity team into the stars that led the Lions varsity team to Championship Division greatness.  In essence, Vance, in addition to Colasanto, has also been responsible for much of the team’s success over the years.  Now she will have the chance to truly shine. 

Over at Columbus, David Diaz will be responsible for turning last year’s disastrous 0-9 run into gold.  Will Blue Steel be able to reclaim the amazing run it enjoyed just two years ago?  Their success largely depends on their defense and the ability to stop teams after Alexander Guzman steps up his rushing game for what will most likely be a successful run as the main running back, finally replacing the much missed Daniel Bardales. 

Last year, Clinton was extremely inexperienced, having a relatively young team...this year should be a different story.  I expect big things from the school, which really just missed out on a 5-4 record, losing three games by just one score. Kendell Carter was a big positive for the team last year. I believe Carter will end his high school career with a bang and Clinton will once again be playoff bound.  Where they go from there is on them. 

Kennedy has always been successful.  This year should be no different. With Ozzie Garcia leading as QB, they are in good hands.  Look for Michael Washington to have a big year rushing. 

And finally, Truman had an amazing season last year, having just moved up to the championship round without even a true quarterback.  But they lost a number of seniors that were responsible for much of their success. Was 2007 only a fluke?   I think John-James Sheppard has the ability to disprove this theory.  Much of Truman’s success will come from his coaching. 

And there you have it.  Win or lose, there will be some interesting stories to follow this year.  Keep reading these pages for all the latest scores and information in the coming weeks. 

Quick sports shorts:  The Giants loss to the Jets means only one thing – New York’s football rivalry will be hotter this year than the constant debates between Mets and Yankee fans.  Although, I’m Big Blue through and through, I believe the Gang Green will go further than the Giants in 2008. 

If I am with the U.S. women’s gymnastics team, I would not be so quick to dispute the age of their Chinese opponents.  If proven true, I don’t think I would feel right knowing I just lost to 12-year-olds.  What I don’t understand is how the minimum age for gymnastics is 16, but there is a 14-year-old competing in the extremely dangerous looking diving competition. 

Oh, and to Bob Connolly, you are right...the Yankees will end the year in third place...but the Mets will not be joining them.  Hank Steinbrenner will be watching the Mets in the playoffs, along with Joe Torre’s Dodgers.  Don’t worry, the Yankees will get them next year, and I will see you next week.   


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