Youthful Bears to lean on athleticism in 2014

Position battles everywhere; Chittenango opens with three straight on road

— When a football team goes 4-4, as the Chittenango Bears did in 2013, the general consensus is that a lot of improvement is needed, but not a complete overhaul.

Yet the Bears, who missed out on a Section III Class B playoff berth despite that break-even mark, might face that sober reality because, of the 32 players on the varsity roster, just three were regulars on the field a season ago.

The results, according to head coach Jack Hayes, has been position battles nearly everywhere on the field during August practices, and a lot of raw talent that, if harnessed, could lead to something good.

“We just want to make sure these guys are in the right spots,” said Hayes. “I like the mix that we have, with young guys that we’re going to have for a long time.”

There’s a much different look at quarterback. Instead of run-first Matt Cretaro, there’s Justin Gondeck, a 6-foot-2, 170-pound junior with a very live arm that, at the very least, Hayes wants to tame before the season is over.

“He loves throwing those 50-yards bombs, so it’s fun to watch,” said Hayes. “But we’ve got to calm him down so he can make good decisions.”

A good example of the position battles the Bears face is at wide receiver. Six different players, including Austin Seguin, Matt Milliman, Duncan Smith, Will Young, Wyatt Myers and Delvin Williams, could start here, with Smith back at Chittenango after a year spent at CBA.

Youth could be found in the backfield, where freshman Antonio Cutrie is battling with Anthony Lozipone for playing time. Cutrie, whom Hayes calls a “big, tough kid”, played JV football as an eighth-grader and also has two years varsity experience with the Chittenango wrestling team.

A deep group of tailbacks, including Akira Greenwood, Michael Addison, Josh Diable and Dan Brazeau, could split carries behind an offensive line that Hayes says is the Bears’ biggest question mark.

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