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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