09/05/11 2:17pm
09/05/2011 2:17 PM

GARRET MEADE PHOTO | Ryan Malone, a two-time all-county player for the Porters, has been moved from running back to quarterback.

An oddity in the scheduling this year has the Greenport/Southold/Mattituck/Shelter Island high school football team playing all four of its regular-season home games consecutively, sandwiched between two road games to start the season and two road games to conclude the regular season.

“Hopefully we’ll be able to squeeze in another game or two” after that, said Porters Coach Jack Martilotta.

He was referring to the playoffs, of course. The Porters reached the playoffs last year, Martilotta’s first in charge of the team. They ran into the tough Mount Sinai Mustangs in a Suffolk County Division IV qualifying round game and lost, 41-19, putting an end to a 5-4 season.

But 15 seniors on that Porters team have since moved on. Regardless, the Porters are seeded sixth among the division’s 14 teams, and with that show of respect comes a demanding schedule. Starting with Friday night’s season opener against the Babylon Panthers, the Porters will face some strong teams, including Mount Sinai, the defending county champion Elwood/John Glenn Knights and the Amityville Warriors.

“That’s kind of scary, man,” said Martilotta.

GARRET MEADE FILE PHOTO | Tomasz Filipkowski, an all-division senior, gives the Porters speed at tailback.

Some might consider a schedule like that daunting; Martilotta sees it as a challenge. “We played well [last year], and quite frankly I expect the same this year,” he said.

Offering his thoughts on what would constitute a successful season, Martilotta used the “P” word, saying he would like to see the Porters reach the playoffs for a third straight year.

“I’d like to go far,” he said. “I’d like to make it deeper than last year.”

It would be with a largely new crew, however, and a different setup, the most obvious change being at quarterback. Ryan Malone is the new QB, but hardly a new player for the Porters. The previous two years he was an all-county running back.

With the graduation of quarterback Mark Mangiamele, an all-county player in his own right who was the team’s most valuable player last year, Malone will be taking the snaps from center.

“We thought about it over the winter,” Tom Mangiamele, the offensive coordinator, said. “He just seemed like he might be a good fit. He’s been an all-county player since he was a sophomore. He’s a natural leader.”

Malone, a senior with no previous experience at the position, has been working on his passing with one of the assistant coaches, Fred Stroh, and it is said to be progressing nicely.

GARRET MEADE FILE PHOTO | Coach Jack Martilotta wants to see the Porters reach the playoffs for a third straight year.

“His passing’s looking good,” Connor Guditus, who plays center and defensive end, said. “He’s not used to being a quarterback, I don’t think, but he’s an all-around good athlete. He’s pretty confident that he can run it and throw it, too.”

Having Malone play quarterback presents a different dynamic. In addition to running with the ball or passing it, Malone will also have the option of handing it off to senior Tomasz Filipkowski, an all-division player who takes over at tailback and brings possibly even more speed to the position than Malone did.

The Porters can also turn to Chris Schantz, an all-league senior fullback/linebacker.

Mark Proferes, a junior lineman, and Bill Bishop, a senior tight end/defensive end, were both starters last year.

Three seniors — safety Zach Apleskog, wide receiver Nick Lentini and Guditus — are the only other players with prior varsity experience.

“It will be the same as any other season,” Malone said. “It’s new people filling new spots.”

Schantz said: “We lost a lot of seniors, but we have some pretty good kids. We have some kids who have been working really hard in the off-season. We’ll see what comes out of it.”

Martilotta has been encouraged that the Porters have been fundamentally sound in practice. “We’ve got some good athletes and I think we’ve got them in good positions, which we’ve been happy about,” he said. “Now I’m hoping it all comes together over the next week or so. That’s always the hope.”

Malone sounded eager for the opening-night kickoff.

“We’ve been waiting for this day since the season ended,” he said. “It’s been a long winter leading up to this.”

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08/31/11 9:41am
08/31/2011 9:41 AM

BOB LIEPA PHOTO | The Porters have placed the ball in the hands of Ryan Malone, their new quarterback.

With Mike Mangiamele’s graduation, the Greenport/Southold/Mattituck/Shelter Island high school football team knew it would have a new quarterback this year. What wasn’t so obvious, though, was that the quarterback would be Ryan Malone, who had been the team’s standout running back for the past two years.

With no prior quarterbacking experience, Malone volunteered for the job, and he is getting his shot. Malone, who likes the idea of being in control of the offense and knowing where the ball is going to go before it is snapped, is currently listed as the first-string quarterback.

Malone, a senior who was an all-county choice the past two years and the most valuable player for the Porters last season, appeared stumped when he was asked in an interview on Monday to describe himself as a quarterback. After a delay of a few seconds, he said: “It’s hard to think of myself [as the quarterback]. I’ve always been the running back. Now to think that I’m the quarterback — it’s different.”

Different, indeed. A quarterback needs to know what all his teammates are supposed to do on a particular play. The position involves a good deal of thinking as well as running and throwing. It has kept Malone busy this summer.

“It’s a lot of learning, a lot of absorbing,” he said. “I’m trying to get in as much as I possibly can before the games start. I think I’m doing a pretty good job. I’m trying.”

BOB LIEPA PHOTO | The left-handed Ryan Malone has shown he can throw the ball as well as run with it.

It helps that Malone is familiar with the offense, which he has known since being brought up to the varsity team as a sophomore. It also helps that he has talented junior Tomasz Filipkowski in the backfield with him. The speedy Filipkowski is the tailback, and also the backup quarterback.

That makes an exciting prospect for Tom Mangiamele, the team’s offensive coordinator and father of the former quarterback.

“Just think,” Tom Mangiamele said, “running the option, you have Ryan Malone coming at you and Filipkowski the pitch man. … You have to account for those two guys. They’re exciting players.”

Both players spent some time behind center Friday night in the team’s purple and gold scrimmage and acquitted themselves well, according to Tom Mangiamele.

“That was the first game-type situation I’ve ever been in at quarterback,” Malone said. “I did well. I’m getting there.”

It is well known that Malone can run the ball, but Tom Mangiamele said the quarterback has a throwing arm too. That makes him a double threat, so the idea is to give Malone opportunities to get to the perimeter.

“If he decides to keep it and he has 10 yards in front of him, he can do anything,” Tom Mangiamele said. “He’ll cut left, he’ll cut right. He has a way of making things happen.”

Asked about his passing, Malone, a left-handed thrower, said: “I’m working on it. It’s a work in progress.”

Rumors had circulated that the Porters would be getting a quarterback from Southampton. “We couldn’t count on it, and it was good we didn’t because it didn’t happen,” said Tom Mangiamele.

So, Malone became the quarterback.

“It’s been a pretty smooth transition,” he said. “I feel like I’m picking it up quickly.”

Malone has gained the confidence of his center, Connor Guditus, who noted that the question of who will quarterback the team was hanging over the Porters’ heads after last season ended.

“It was definitely a question to the whole team because [Mike Mangiamele] was one of the core members of our team and really a good leader and a great quarterback,” Guditus said. “Mike was the quarterback since he was about 7 years old; he was trained to do it. Ryan just found out a few months ago that he was going to be a quarterback, so in a few months, that’s a pretty hard change to make. … It’s definitely not easy moving from running back to quarterback, but if there’s anyone that had to do it on our team, Ryan’s the man to do it because he’s an all-around great athlete.”

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08/23/11 2:51pm
08/23/2011 2:51 PM

BOB LIEPA PHOTO | Greenport/Southold/Mattituck/Shelter Island, the No. 6 seed in Division IV, faces a difficult schedule this year.

Preseason training camp isn’t easy. Then again, that’s the point.

Football is a rough sport, and preparing for a new season is hard work.

“It’s tough, it’s tough,” said Jack Martilotta, who is in his second year as head coach of the Greenport/Southold/Mattituck/Shelter Island high school football team. “It’s very hard. It’s a lot of conditioning, but football is a difficult sport, and we have a hard schedule. We certainly don’t do any of this for the sake of doing it. We’re doing it to make them better football players.”

Every sprint, every drill, every exercise has a purpose. For the Porters, the larger picture is to prepare for the rigors of a demanding Suffolk County Division IV schedule. As the sixth-seeded team among Division IV’s 14 schools, the Porters will face the division’s top five ranked teams. They will play tough squads like the Babylon Panthers, the Shoreham-Wading River Wildcats, the Elwood/John Glenn Knights, the Amityville Warriors and the Mount Sinai Mustangs.

BOB LIEPA PHOTO | Ryan Malone, center, may be moved from running back to quarterback.

That is their reward for reaching the postseason for the second year in a row in 2010. The Porters finished the regular season in fifth place in the division before falling to Mount Sinai, 41-19, in a division qualifying round game. They finished with a 5-4 record.

The Porters were back at square one last Thursday, when they started preseason practice, getting ready for another season.

“It’s rough, getting up at 5:30 in the morning and coming out here to run every day,” Tomasz Filipkowski, a junior linebacker and tailback, said after Tuesday morning’s practice session at Greenport High School. “It’s a real challenge. It’s pretty tough. Sprints are hard. Up and downs are hard.”

Training camp is vital, though. Some consider it the most important part of the football season.

“It’s really important because it determines the rest of your season,” said Filipkowski.

Ryan Malone, a senior who is projected to play quarterback and linebacker, will enter his third varsity season. He has been through training camps before and knows what they are about.

“It’s always going to be tough,” he said. “That’s the point of this, to get in shape, to push us to the limit.”

The clock is ticking, too. With the Sept. 9 date for the kickoff to their season in Babylon edging closer and closer, the pressure is on to get players in game shape, have positions defined, and offensive, defensive and special-teams packages installed. For their part, players must make sure they rest and hydrate between training sessions.

BOB LIEPA PHOTO | Greenport/Southold/Mattituck/Shelter Island Coach Jack Martilotta said the coaching staff has high expectations for the Porters.

“They got to take care of themselves when they’re not here,” Martilotta said. “And when they’re here, I always tell them, the more that they put out here, the better off they’ll be in the game. Everything they do, we need a hundred-percent effort.”

While the Porters made a name for themselves last year, they also lost 15 players to graduation. Talents such as Yianni Rauseo, Mike Mangiamele and Tyler McNeil are gone.

“A kid like Yianni Rauseo is very difficult to replace,” Martilotta said. “A kid like Mike Mangiamele is very difficult to replace. You graduate that many kids, some things have to change.”

The most obvious change could be at quarterback, where Malone is expected to be Mangiamele’s successor. Malone, who was an all-county running back the last two years, could see his old position filled by Filipkowski, a seemingly tireless runner. Chris Schantz, meanwhile, has been moved off the line to fullback and linebacker.

“It will be the same as any other season,” Malone said. “It’s new people filling new spots.”

Martilotta said: “We still got speed. My expectations and the other coaches’ expectations of these kids are still very high, and we’re going to do everything we can to meet those expectations.”

Martilotta has been encouraged by the presence in camp of over 60 players. The Porters will need every bit of help they can get as the No. 6 seed, and all that entails.

“It’s really what the other coaches think we’re going to be able to do,” Martilotta said. “One of our goals was to be a better team, and by the end of last season we were a better team than Greenport had had in a while, and I think that’s reflected in the rankings. It’s harder. Our schedule is going to be harder, there’s no question about it, but it’s also the price we pay for improving. We have a tougher schedule, but everybody thinks we have a better team. Hopefully, we’re going to prove them right.”

On the other side of the coin, because of their seeding and difficulty of schedule, wins would bring the Porters more power-rating points than they would receive as a lower seed.

What transpires in training camp could go a long way toward determining what type of a season the Porters will have.

“We lost a lot of seniors, but we have some pretty good kids,” Schantz said. “We have some kids who have been working really hard in the offseason. We’ll see what comes out of it. You just got to work real hard, stick with it and you just got to have your heart in it, otherwise it’s not going to work out for you.”

Filipkowski had words of advice for younger teammates trying to find their way: “Work as hard as you can, sprint as hard as you can, do everything a million miles per hour, and you’ll do fine.”

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