ANSONIA – The Ansonia Tigers have larger numbers on its varsity football team than in recent years thanks to 10 freshmen suiting up for the 2017 season.
“Are numbers are up which is a good thing,” said veteran coach Eugene Hoening. “This year we have a fairly decent size freshman class, so we gained more that we lost number wise so that’s a good thing.”
Coach Hoening looks to a group of seasoned upper classmen to show leadership to the large group of underclassmen while going with a sophomore starting quarterback.
“My seniors and the juniors, we have individuals in both classes who seem to have the fire to lead,” stated Hoening.
“Hunter Buckingham was our JV quarterback last year so he’s had some game experience,” Hoening said. “He also played quite a bit of varsity as a defensive back.”
The Tigers look to be much improved on the defensive side of the ball with a returning starting lineup. “We basically we have all the starters back from a year ago,” shared Hoening.
A team roster that lists players with good size for a high school football program is not the only player ingredient coach Hoening is focused on.
“Size isn’t everything,” noted Hoening.” I’d rather take a small guy with a lot of heart and fight than a big guy that doesn’t care very much.”
With the very young 2016 team now history and the team with a year’s experience behind it, Coach Hoening leaned on his many years of coaching experience to express his thoughts of an improving team, a team expecting a good season as seen in past years.
“You have to have that desire, the fire, the hunger to take that little step, to do that little more to get back to that level,” Hoening said of Ansonia’s glory days. “I don’t know necessarily if you can coach that. You have to be determined. When things don’t go your way you can’t tuck your tail between your legs and shut down – you have to fight back.”
“Wonderful staff to work with,” concluded Hoening of his coaching staff. “Coach Beisner, Coach Hall, former players, both have college playing experience. Coach Macy, not only does he have college playing experience, he also coached at the college level, so how can you beat a staff like that.”
2017 Ansonia Varsity Football Team (Gaylen Blosser photo)