Ready for Some Football?

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By: Dominic Caporale

Staff Writer

A total of 25 recruits committed to Sacred Heart to play Division I football next fall. National Signing Day took place on Wednesday, Feb. 7, and the Pioneers signed a total of 17 commits. They also had signed 8 commits in the fall semester.

The Pioneers focused on three positions in this recruiting class which were defensive backs, defensive linemen, and receivers. They look to work on these positions and fill them in when the current senior class graduates in the spring.

Although the team is focused on those three main positions, they also did collect some other athletes to fill out the roster in other positions.

They also recruited kickers, linebackers, running backs and a tight end. The Pioneers are looking to have these student-athletes step up and help the team get to the top of the Northeast Conference (NEC) rankings.

“I really like how hard my assistant coaches work. We just want the hard nosed kids that want to play, and I think we found them. I think these kids will make a perfect fit for Sacred Heart and who we are,” said head coach Mark Nofri.

The Pioneers are heading into their spring season, where they will work to get back to the a top of the NEC.

Back in 2013 and 2014, Nofri lead the Pioneers to back to back NEC championships and hopes to be on that track next season. Nofri believes that this group can accomplish that task.

“To be how we were in 2013-2014, we need to focus on a couple of things,” said Nofri. “First, we need to learn how to fight through adversity as a team. Next, we need to stay healthy. The teams I had then luckily stayed healthy. But what most people don’t know is that team took lumps for a couple of years, then we came back and won them back to back.”

The spring season starts March 16, and the Pioneers are ready to take the field and see what they have.

“I’m really looking to see who of the younger guys step up and fill the roles. I’m looking to see who can step up as leaders, and who can help carry this team. That’s what I’m excited for,” said Nofri.

Last season the Pioneers had a record of 4-7.  They are determined improve that record this coming season.

“We just have to stay as healthy as much as possible, with no injuries,” said Nofri.

As soon as the spring season is over, the summer workouts for the fall season begin just weeks later. At that point, all recruits from the class of 2022 will join the rest of the team.

“I think for us to have great success again, we need more guys to stay over the whole course of the summer, to workout with our athletic trainers, teammates and all our coaching staff,” said Nofri. “The summer is a big part where the team works on what they need to, and implement new plays and strategies.”

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