GARRET MEADE FILE PHOTO
Greenport/Southold/Mattituck/Shelter Island quarterback Mike Mangiamele in a game against Amityville last year.
When it comes to Suffolk County Division IV football, the usual suspects can be regarded as the powers of the division: Babylon, Mount Sinai, Elwood/John Glenn, Bayport-Blue Point. But where does Greenport/Southold/Mattituck/Shelter Island fit in the equation?
Judging by their No. 8 seed in the 12-team division, the Porters will be on the playoff bubble. For what it’s worth, the Porters and their new head coach, Jack Martilotta, seem to feel good about their chances of returning to the postseason for a second year in a row.
“I think we’re looking good,” Martilotta said. “We have some strong returning players. I think we have some good athletes, and we’re going to be successful.”
Referring to his team’s schedule, Martilotta said: “It’s not like we have any gimmes, but there’s a reason we’re ranked eighth. It’s because they think we’re going to have a good year.”
Martilotta takes over his first varsity head coaching job from Jim Anderson, who is coaching the junior high school team. Anderson guided the Porters to their first posteason since 2001 last year. They were crushed by Elwood/John Glenn, 45-7, in a Suffolk County Division IV quarterfinal and finished with a 4-5 record. In Anderson’s two years in charge, the Porters went 5-13.
But last year’s playoff appearance could have a carryover effect. Martilotta certainly thinks so.
“Absolutely,” he said. “Winning’s contagious. I think also the kids see that [reaching the playoffs is] attainable.”
“We’re looking to take it to the next level,” he continued. “We were successful last year, and we’re looking for more success this year.”
Twelve of the 27 players on the roster are letter-winners. The most notable among them are speedy junior Ryan Malone, an all-county running back/linebacker, and senior Tyler McNeil, an all-division fullback/linebacker who packs a punch at 6-foot-1, 215 pounds.
“Everybody’s excited for the year,” Malone said. “We have a good-looking team this year.”
The Porters have eight other players with starting experience: guard/defensive tackle Marcos Borrayo, center/linebacker Dave Martinez, offensive tackle/defensive end Chris Shantz, quarterback/defensive back Mike Mangiamele, offensive tackle/defensive end Alex Passanant, fullback/defensive end Danny Canales, guard/defensive tackle Chris Napolitano and wide receiver/defensive back Tremayne Hansen. Except for Shantz, a junior, they’re all seniors.
Offensive tackle/defensive tackle Chris Manfredi and tailback/linebacker Tom Filipkowski also have varsity experience.
The newcomers to the team are: wide receiver/defensive back Yianni Rauseo, wide receiver/defensive back Taylor Lindsay, running back/defensive back Tre McKnight, defensive back/wide receiver Zack Applescog, wide receiver/defensive back Will Foronda, quarterback/wide receiver James Finora, wide receiver/cornerback Andre Vega, wide receiver/defensive back Nick Lentini, center/linebacker Connor Guiditus, and linemen Mark Proferes, Billy Bishop, James Steele, Adam Swiskey, Cole Karlin and Dan Neely.
“The kids have been in the system for a while,” Martilotta said. “We have a lot of kids who have been playing football for three or four years. It makes it easier.”
The Porters are experienced at the skill positions, but have an inexperienced offensive line. Martilotta said the team will pass more than it did last year in the hope of making good use of athletic wide receivers like Hansen, Rauseo and Lindsay.
“Everything’s coming along good,” Mangiamele said. “I’d like to just surprise everyone this year. People aren’t going to think we’re that good.”
What would make this season a success for the Porters?
“I think you want to be competitive in every game and have the kids play up to their potential,” offensive coordinator Tom Mangiamele said. “That would be success for us.”
The Porters will face a stiff test in their season-opening game, which is set for Sept. 11 in Greenport against Babylon. Asked if he was getting excited as the opener approached, Martilotta replied, “It’s been exciting the whole time, pal.”