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Grand Island vs Kenmore East Football Preview

Dick “Sparky” Adams field has been completed, lights, turf and a new attitude will take over the Bulldogs this season. Coach Pat Veltri returns for another year and has a number of players returning along with him.

Veltri is joined by senior RB Khalil O’Neil who will lead the offense behind starting offensive lineman Ryan Dowd, Derek Simon and Owen Nadrowski (all seniors). Under center is junior Nate Murdie who picked up some Varsity experience late last season.

The Bulldogs are very excited to get the season underway. “I don’t know if the home opener on our new field or it being a TV game has added any additional excitement,” Veltri said “I think they are ready to play.”

It’s been a long road for the Bulldog faithful, the team hasn’t been good for some time. And that isn’t from a lack of coaching, they’ve had some of the best in WNY. The issue has been talent and until recently Ken East hasn’t had enough of it. Couple that with a great work ethic, discipline and a solid game plan, this team should be taking strides this season.

“I think we all feel great things are about to start to happen with KE football,” Veltri said.

Week 1 presents a major challenge for the Bulldogs. Grand Island is coming off of another winning season, finishing 6-3. Cam Sionko only a junior, will begin his 3rd Varsity season. He is the starting QB and had the poise and skill set to help take the Vikings to the top. He has arguably one of the toughest to cover WR’s in the area in senior Zane Johnson and Thomas Cecere (Sr) running out of the backfield.

Grand Island is a tough team and once again and will be a major test for Kenmore East this evening.

“We have been watching the film since last year and designing our schemes to take advantage of what teams give us,” Veltri said. “I think we know them pretty well.  “They have some great players and they are always physically tough.”

The Vikings aren’t too worried about the opening of the new stadium. They have experience with these moments. But there’s always nerves with the first game of the season.

“Being the first game and some kids playing in their first varsity football game always has some interesting plays or situations because kids are bound to make some mistakes regardless of their experience. We don’t see the opening of playing on someones new field as an issue for butterflies,” head coach Dean Santorio said. “So many schools now have the turf and we have been part of openings in the last 3 years so we are not concerned about that at all.”

Santorio knows that his defense will have to keep O’Neil and Murdie in check and not let them get loose.

“Ken East has a very athletic quarterback that runs and throws the ball well so we will have to keep him in check and not let him hurt us with big plays,” Santorio said. “Their running back is also very quick and elusive so we will have to contain him from breaking any long runs.”

There will be a dedication prior to kick-off so if you plan on attending arrive early.

Follow @WNYAthletics on Twitter for updates!

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