By Matt Nestor
Prep Sports Reporter
Their long conference winning streak is impressive. Their state championship experience was memorable.
The Boylan Titans have plenty of reasons to sit back, be proud and let themselves slip up for a season.
“I was thinking everyone was going to be lackadaisical, but we are coming out hard and intense,” senior Marquez Beeks said of the Titans’ attitude after a championship. “We just have to stay level-headed and humble. There’s a lot of competition out there, but we work hard each and every day and get better week after week.”
That attitude, not to mention a treasure trove of returning talent, has the Titans poised again not only as favorites in the NIC-10, but a threat to defend their state championship.
Tyries Thomas, Dean Lowry and Theo Parthenios are among the long list of players who made significant contributions to Boylan’s title run last season and return this season.
“We have a class that understands if you are complacent, you are not going to be very successful,” Head Coach Dan Appino said. “Our junior class feels honored to be a part of things, and having a bunch of those guys up for five weeks in the playoffs last year really gave them an edge and an insight into what we are doing. I think they feel very much a part of things.”
One of the keys for Boylan will lie in the improvement of quarterback Lamont Toney. As a junior, Toney played well, completing more than 60 percent of his passes, including a long touchdown pass in the championship game that was a perfect throw.
He also split time with the starting quarterback, the since-graduated Frank Cimino. With his partner gone, Toney will be asked to shoulder the full load now at quarterback.
“Last year, it was a great honor to be with (Cimino),” Toney said. “He taught me a lot last year, and I’m just trying to take it and run with it.”
The Titans do have holes to fill, losing their entire offensive line and needing to replace three of four players in their secondary. But their biggest obstacle this season will be forgetting last season.
“Last year was cool winning the championship,” Austin Smith said. “But as seniors, this is our team. We put in a lot of work last year to do what we did, and we’re just trying to do the same thing. We lost a lot of starters. But we usually have a lot of seniors. We get a lot of young guys, and we work hard, and they have to step up.”
From the Aug. 17-23, 2011, issue