Despite Exodus of Seniors, Warriors Will ‘Give It Everything They Can’

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By Brennan Waldorf

Warriors finished their season last year with two district losses, and the sting from the losses is still lingering. Head coach Tom Rotkowski said, “It was a long offseason. We finished with three tough losses and we want to get rid of it.  Looking forward to getting started and seeing our opponent.”

Rotkowski, who is coming into his seventh season at Nanuda and his fourth as head coach, is assisted by Brock Custis (Line), Joe Ortelli (DC), Adrian Smith (JV), Isiah Sabatino (JV), and Bob Smith.

Nandua lost eight seniors following the 2018-19 season, including lead tailback Damani Baines who managed to rush for over 800 yards despite limited action due to an ankle injury.

“Last year was different; every year is different. Our team stayed in games and a lot of young guys got reps,” Rotkowski said of last year.

This year the Nandua squad had 45 players come out, which is higher than last year, but the team is still allowing players to sign up. After a certain number of practices, any player who comes out late will be allowed to play in games.

A team that was riddled with injuries last year’s looks to improve and get better every day but still lacks depth. “We’ve got to stay healthy. When a player is injured, a lot of times we lose two positions,” said Rotkowski.

This year’s team will be reliant on its stacked class of sophomores and juniors, with only five seniors on the team. One of those seniors will be starting QB Joe Teasley who saw plenty of action last year as a starter.  Other standouts include Larry Jones (OL/DL) who was all-district on both sides of the ball, all-district Jaheim Bailey (DB), Richard Peoples, Markay Collins, and senior Little League champions Zykese Davis and Tyler Greene.

This season will be different for the Warriors and so will the next but the motto has yet to change: “Staying together, sometimes me, sometimes you, always together,” hinting at the family atmosphere the Nandua staff tries to create.

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