Family first for merged team
Opportunity mixed with excitement and potential can make anything happen.
That’s what Rick Weber is hoping for as he steps into his first season as head coach of the Eden/North Collins football team.
It will be the first varsity head coaching job for Weber, who spent the previous 10 seasons with Gowanda football. Five years as head JV coach and five as a varsity assistant.
“My dream was always to become a (varsity) head coach. I had a lot of great experiences working over in Gowanda for the last 10 years,” Weber said. “I’m pretty excited for the opportunity to come over to Eden/North Collins. The school, along with the kids, were pretty pumped because I’ve known the kids in other sports. So taking it over, it was pretty exciting to hear that the kids were pumped that I was able to take the job. On that level the fact that the kids are motivated for a new regime in the coaching staff. These kids are ready to turn this program around and so am I.”
Weber will definitely have a hurdle to clear as he takes over a 1-8 team. While the future may appear a bit bleak to the average onlooker, Weber said there is a great deal to be excited about. Number one, the passion and commitment that he is seeing in the eyes of his players to turn things around.
Weber will have a strong core of kids to rely on namely QB/DB Colton Stetz and lineman Louis DeCarolis, who have already stepped up as leaders.
“They’ve come to every single workout during the summer,” Weber said. “They’ve reached out to a lot of other students in the school preaching positivity and the fact that we’re gonna have a good team this year. They’ve taken over that leadership role and they are phenomenal kids.”
While all teams say they are family the Eden/North Collins football team really takes that motto to heart as they have two sets of siblings and two cousins on the squad.
Colton Stetz’s younger brother, Hunter, a sophomore receiver, and Louis DeCarolis’ twin brother Zach DeCarolis (DL/OL) are also on the team. As are cousins Colby Sroda (RB/DB) and CJ Sroda (RB/DB). Having so many blood relatives on the teams lends to a feeling of an extended family and truly makes everyone feel closer.
“Of course,” said Colton Stetz. “It’s exciting for me now that I’ve got my little brother playing with me. I’ve been playing with these core group of guys since little loop.”
Weber said that the kids have been very receptive and are very eager to get the program back on track after some bumpy seasons.
“These kids are excited that there’s hope to turn this around,” Weber said. “In my eyes it’s a good thing because when you take over a program you don’t know the feelings of some of the players. Some of them still might want the same coaches that were there before. The fact that I’m walking in new and fresh. They’re all very welcoming. Very excited for a change and to learn and do some things differently.”
Elliott Stappen-Back (DL/TE/line), Connor Blake (TE/DE) and Tyler Robinson (WR/DE) will also play quality snaps.
Certainly not intending to insult or disrespect previous coaches, the players have taken Weber’s message to heart and firmly believe they can succeed this season in the Section VI Class B-3 division.
“He’s just optimistic,” Stetz said. “He’s always the glass is half full. It’s good knowing that your coach has that trust and he sees the athletes that we have and the potential that we have. He’s excited for it. He’s pumping us up and he’s saying that we can win four or five games and that excites us. We’re like wow! We’ve only won four or five games in the past three years. It’s exciting.”