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HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL: Deep Holland Patent aims to leave own mark on gridiron

See what’s at play this fall for high school football.

Steve Jones
Sports writer
email / twitter
Posted 9/10/22

The last player on the roster of Holland Patent’s Section III title-winning football team has graduated, leaving a roster full of players looking to make their own history.

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HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL: Deep Holland Patent aims to leave own mark on gridiron

See what’s at play this fall for high school football.


HOLLAND PATENT — The last player on the roster of Holland Patent’s Section III title-winning football team has graduated, leaving a roster full of players looking to make their own history for the Golden Knights.

Head coach Brian Briggs enters his eighth season in charge. His team was 5-2 last season, with a loss to Cazenovia in the Class C quarterfinals to end the campaign.

This year, the team opened with a home game on Sept. 3, against non-league opponent Herkimer and rolled to a 51-7 win.

Lost to graduation is Briggs’ son Caden, the only player from the Class of 2022 who was on the roster in 2018 when the school won its last section title, defeating General Brown in Class C. He was a receiver, defensive back and kicker for the Knights. Other key contributers last season as seniors were tight end Maddox Williams, linemen Andrew Morris and Wyatt Poynter, receiver-defensive back Adam Jones and outside linebacker Ryan Mierek.

“Those guys were leaders on last year’s team, especially Ryan Mierek, who led the team in tackles last year,” coach Briggs said. “The special teams void with Caden being gone will hurt. Morris anchored the line. Maddox Williams was probably our leading receiver.”

There are plenty of players who can step up to replace them, Briggs noted. “This is the biggest team I’ve ever had.” There are 44 players on the roster. With 18 seniors, “it’s a much older team.” There are seven offensive and seven defensive starters back from last fall.

The team is without last year’s starting quarterback, Aidan Rubas, who suffered an injury in the spring during baseball as a sophomore. So the team has moved senior Jonathon Zylynski from running back to quarterback. The dual threat — a runner and passer — “will be dangerous,” the coach said. And his inexperience at quarterback will not mean dialing down the high speed HP offense. “We’re still running a spread offense,” Briggs said. Zylynski will probably have more read options and run pass options to take advantage of his skills. “He’s going to make the decision and go.”

Also at quarterback are senior Jordan Carhart and sophomore Jack Sanders.

Joining Zylynski as a four-year starter who will be key to the offense is senior Jordan Koenig. The power runner was a third team all-state selection last fall then wrestled his way to a third place finish in the state tournament at 172 pounds in the winter. “I think he’s going to have a huge year. He’s an animal,” Briggs said.

Back after a year off from football is junior Joe Latella, a track and field sprinter. Junior Nick Acevedo and senior Adam Stowell could also earn some carries. The other running backs are sophomores Zach Meyer, Noah Rivera, Chris Siriano and Will Richardson.

Junior Alex Hoole returns as a wide receiver. He’ll be joined by Carhart and six-foot-four senior Chad Clark. The team also moved senior Nick Deforest to tight end to prepare him for a possible role there at the college level, Briggs noted. Also at the position are senior Mike Romeo and sophomore Shaun Dziedzic — both six-foot-three.

The rest of the receivers are seniors Brandon Capodiferro, Jeremy Kelly, Anthony Phan and Jacob Posello; juniors Christian Kennedy, Devyn Priz and Joe Schnackenberg; and sophomores Andrew Fisher, Nick Pekola and Davian Phan.

Senior Alex McLaughlin shifts to center from guard on the offensive line. The guards likely to get the most snaps are seniors David Bolin, Levi Nimey and Zion Snyder and junior Melby Sann. The tackles will likely be returning starters Nathan Craver and Trenton Stockhauser, both juniors. “They’re experienced,” Briggs noted. Senior Matt Lux could also be in the mix as an athletic player new to football.

The other offensive linemen are seniors Nathan Doyle and Andrew Yutzler; junior Anthony Amidon; and sophomores Nathan Bennison, John Campbell, James Houck, James Simpson, Dylan Yager and Brent Mott.

“It’s going to be a good defense,” said Briggs about the other side of the football. “It’s going to be tough for teams to run on,” with good coverage and edge rush to shut down the passing game. The team will rely on the wealth of experience at linebacker and cornerback, especially Deforest at linebacker.

On the line, Amidon and Snyder will compete for time at defensive end, with Deforest dropping down to end at the other side often. Craver and Nimey will likely get most of the time at tackle, with Sann in the mix too.

The other linemen are Bolin, Doyle, McLaughlin, Yutzler, Bennison, Campbell, Dziedzic, Houck, Simpson, Yager and Mott.

Zylynski and Koenig are the inside linebackers. Posello, Stowell and Stockhauser will be on the outside in one combination or another.

Also at linebacker are Carhart, Lux, Romeo, Kennedy, Pirz, Fisher, Rivera and Sanders.

Acevedo returns as a starter at cornerback, with Kelly and Anthony Phan competing for the other spot. Capodiferro will also have the chance to make an impact. Returning starter Hoole and Clark will be the safeties.

Also at defensive back are Latella, Schnackenberg, Meyer, Pekola, Davian Phan, Richardson and Siriano.

“Our goal is to make it to a section championship and win a section championship,” Briggs said. The program had gone 29 years between Section III titles. This time he wants another one much sooner. “Everybody talks about the 2018 team. They want to be their own team,” he said of this year’s group. “They want to write their own script.”

But first the Knights have to get through the Class C regular season. “Class C is loaded,” Briggs said. “It’s not going to be easy.” Vernon-Verona-Sherrill has dropped down from Class B. Adirondack is up from Class D after a successful season. Westmoreland/Oriskany has had plenty of success under a veteran coaching staff. General Brown and Lowville are always tough in the league, he noted. “We went 5-2 last year and lost to Cazenovia in the sectionals but it could have gone either way.” He said he’s not sure what the league thinks HP is capable of this year. But he said the team had a good off-season, with almost every player ready to run plays the first day of preseason practice. “Sometimes it’s good to be under the radar,” the coach said.

The Knights open against a Class D opponent, but the Magicians return with many starters from 2021, Briggs said. “We’ll see how we come out of the gate and score points and how we hold them.”



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