Flames want to leave their mark
Heading into year two as head coach of the Williamsville East Flames, Mike Torrillo feels a lot more comfortable with the program. Coming off of a 4-4 (4-2 Class A North) season in, the Flames are looking to improve and Torrillo believes the new scenery helps.
“The big thing is now we have our field and our facilities, it’s a little more comfortable,” Torrillo said. “Last year we were running back and forth between Transit Middle School and Williamsville East High School and I think now it’s going to be a little easier for us, having our own practice site and our own locker room. From an organizational standpoint it’ll be a lot easier.”
The Flames have certainly taken advantage of their new facilities this summer as Torrillo has noticed a lot more guys in the weight room.
“We did a couple 7-on-7s but our big focus was to get stronger this year,” Torrillo said. “We’ve had a much bigger commitment to the weight program than we’ve had in the past and it’s been a real positive. I think the culture of Will East is shifting towards football.”
The players agree with that sentiment.
“Our mentality is much stronger now,” senior lineman Ajay Chima said. “We’re more disciplined and we’ve got a lot more guys in the weight room now.”
Chima is one of four senior captains along with lineman Parker Evans, quarterback Colson Skorka and running back/defensive back Clayton Osborne.
Torrillo had high praise for his captains and senior class, saying they’re “big in numbers and we’re really excited about it.”
While the senior class may be deep and talented, the team as a whole boasts a lot of depth and that trickles down to the underclassmen as well.
“We have a couple good players from JV coming up,” Torrillo said. “They’re going to push the older guys and I think that competition is good.”
Torrillo hopes that the Flames’ depth will give them a leg up on some teams this season. He also hopes it’ll lead to more guys getting on the field.
“We’re going to try and play a lot of guys, if they earn it,” Torrillo said. “If I can play 22 kids in a game, I’m into it. I’m going to play the best players, but the more we can get on the field the more it builds team concepts and camaraderie.”
As far as Williamsville East’s schedule goes, Torrillo knows the A-2 division will be tough, but the two non-league games mean just as much to the Flames as their league match-ups.
“It sounds crazy but two of our biggest games are the non-leagues,” Torrillo said. “We got Williamsville North and Mike Mammoliti does a great job over there. They’re going to be loaded this year. And then we finish the season against South and coach Kurzanski does a great job as well.”
Heading into the season, the Flames expect to win some games but Torrillo also mentioned some other goals for the team this fall.
“We just want to get better each day,” Torrillo said. “We have a bunch of good kids and they’ve put a lot of time into this. If we had a model it’s to improve every day and if we can do that I think we’ll have chances to win, but nothing is going to come easy.”
Despite the fact that wins won’t come easy, the players say they’re up for the challenge.
“We want everyone to understand that we can win in this division, which a lot of people don’t think we can,” Skorka said. “I think that’s good though, it brings a lot of energy to our guys.”
Williamsville East football can only boast one sectional title in their history, Skorka, Evans and Chima want to change that before they leave.
“When I walked into the high school as an eighth grader and saw that banner, I immediately thought ‘I want to change that,” Evans said.