By ALEX SPONSELLER The Toll Gate football team is getting ready to kick off its regular season against Johnston this week, and looks to make some noise in a new division. As part of the statewide realignment, the Titans were bumped up from Division IV to
By ALEX SPONSELLER The Toll Gate football team is getting ready to kick off its regular season against Johnston this week, and looks to make some noise in a new division.
As part of the statewide realignment, the Titans were bumped up from Division IV to Division III this fall. The team had a solid spring season but is hoping to take a step forward regardless of the division it is in.
“We had a great team last year, but this year with our team, we’re going to show them that we work too hard every day. We had some hard times last year, we had some injuries to guys including myself, but because of that I think we will be even better this year,” said Toll Gate running back DJ Meade.
“It’s going to challenge us moving up. We have numbers, but Division III is a whole other animal than Division IV. It’s a big jump. There is no easy game,” added head coach Jim Stringfellow.
Perhaps Toll Gate’s biggest loss was Greyson Pasquina, who played on both sides of the ball and was the team’s quarterback for the past three seasons.
Stepping in under center will be junior Jacob Vann, who is simply trying to do his best and remember the lessons learned while backing up Pasquina.
“I watched him all last year and am stepping up into the role this year. I think I’ll be ready. I’m just trying to help out my team, doing what I do best,” said Vann.
Another key returner is junior Zach DeCorpo, who will be playing on both sides of the ball as well, at both running back and cornerback.
“It’s been fun. I enjoy being a captain and helping everyone out. I have started since my freshman year so it has been cool to get to be a captain and to see some new guys leading,” said DeCorpo.
Although the Titans will have a bit of production to make up, Stringfellow believes that the young players are ready to step up and the offense will be deep with playmakers.
“Greyson was amazing, it is a loss both offensively and defensively. But we have some good players coming back, we will be playing a lot of underclassmen that have had some varsity experience. Meade will be carrying the ball a lot and we moved DeCorpo from receiver to back because we need the ball in his hands. Vann is also an excellent runner even though he’s a quarterback, it’s like having an extra rusher in the backfield,” said Stringfellow.
The Titans came up short against West Warwick in the Injury Fund exhibition and are looking to rebound in the opener against the Panthers. Johnston reached the Division III Super Bowl in the spring and won its opener against Lincoln, but Toll Gate is confident in the matchup.
“They’re a good team, but they’re definitely beatable,” said DeCorpo. “We have some new guys, we have a good squad too, so I think it will be a good game.”