By Mike Meiler firstname.lastname@example.org
Niagara Gazette — The 2012 season wasn’t kind to Starpoint football.
The Spartans dealt with multiple injuries at quarterback and across the offensive line, limping to a 3-5 record and the fourth seed in the Class A playoffs, where they lost a double-overtime heartbreaker to top-seeded McKinley.
This year, the Spartans are back, healthy and ready to take on one of Western New York’s toughest divisions in the Class A North.
Leading the way for Starpoint will be star running back Evan Majewski, who returns for his senior season after rushing for over 1,000 yards the previous two years. Majewski tallied 1,425 yards and 17 touchdowns as a junior and Cavagnaro said he looks primed for a big 2013.
“Evan is looking good,” Cavagnaro said. “He’s done a great job of taking the bull by the horns and has been in the weight room all winter long. He did the smart thing and ran track, which he did for football.”
While Majewski played the role of workhorse last year, Cavagnaro said he didn’t expect to have to rely on him as much this season thanks to the emergence of running back Austin Bratek and quarterback Sam Terrazino.
Bratek, a junior and younger brother of former Starpoint RB Brandon Bratek, will take some of the load off Majewski’s shoulders, while Terrazino, a senior, returns after losing six games to a concussion in 2012.
Cavagnaro said he hopes a more balanced attack will lead to better results offensively.
“Hopefully, it will make us better,” he said. “Sam worked hard in the offseason and has done all the right things. I’m confident he’ll be able to take the load off Evan and air out some passes.
“It’s always nice to have a senior quarterback. Even though (Terrazino) missed six games, he made it all up over the offseason. He’s worked hard.”
Terrazino will throw to a pair of juniors in returning starter Mike Chase and transfer Ricky Golsby, who moved to the district from Alabama. Third-year player Matt Wetzel, who had played mostly defense, will take over at tight end for his senior season.
The biggest offensive loss may have been of lineman Steve Wilde, who helped pave the way for Majewski over the past two years. Junior Richard Duermeyer will start for his second season up front, where he’ll be joined by juniors Jason Prue, Wayne LeBlanc, Blake Whittall and senior Bryan Cheskiewicz.
Defensively, the Spartans will be led by a trio of linebackers in Wetzel, Majewski and second-year starter Julian Mott. Duermeyer will also start on the defensive line, where he’ll be joined by defensive end Gage Bliven and sophomore defensive tackle Sam Wray. Eric Yaeger will start at safety and serve as backup quarterback behind Terrazino.
“Early in the year, guys playing both ways is kind of the norm for us,” Cavagnaro said. “Most of our offensive line other than Richard are only playing one way, but our skill guys will probably end up playing both sides.
“We’re talented, just a little thin at the skill spots.”
The Spartans start their season with a 2 p.m. kick off Saturday in a budding rivalry against Lockport.
Follow Gazette reporter Mike Meiler on Twitter @mikemeiler for updates on your local teams.Head Coach: Al Cavagnaro 2012 Record: 3-5 Key Returnees: RB/LB Evan Majewski, QB Sam Terrazino, WR/CB Mike Chase, TE/LB Matt Wetzel, OL/DL Richard Duermeyer, LB Julian Mott Key Losses: Andrew Rankie, John Rudes, Steve Wilde Schedule 9/7: at Lockport, 2 p.m. 9/14: at Kenmore East, 2 p.m. 9/21: at Sweet Home, 2 p.m. 9/28: vs. Niagara-Wheatfield (Homecoming), 2 p.m. 10/4: at North Tonawanda, 7 p.m. 10/12: vs. Grand Island, 2 p.m. 10/19: vs. Iroquois, 2 p.m. Follow Gazette reporter Mike Meiler on Twitter @mikemeiler for updates on your local teams.