The season didn’t play out exactly how first-year head coach James Pape envisioned it, but Edgemont’s football team was able to conclude the campaign with a dominant win. And with the majority of the Panthers’ team returning next season, there is reason to be optimistic about the future.
Edgemont built a 25-0 halftime lead and cruised past visiting Woodlands 32-8 on Friday, Nov. 5 in the Panthers’ season finale.
“Closing out the season with a win for our seniors was important for us,” Pape said. “It’s a memory that they will never forget.”
The Panthers were able to get the job done on both sides of the ball.
“Defensively, I thought we played really well,” Pape said. “We had some players in positions that they may not have been in this season due to injuries and they stepped it up. Offensively, we moved the ball well. We were able to establish the run pretty early and it helped us get certain looks for Milan [Gialleonardo] to be able to throw the ball a little bit.”
Gialleonardo, a junior quarterback, had 11 carries for 70 yards and two touchdowns. He also was 5 of 10 on pass attempts for 44 yards.
Peter Ellinikos had three carries for 34 yards and a rushing touchdown along with two catches for 33 yards. Defensively, he added an interception return for a score and had three tackles.
Joey Saito had seven carries for 28 yards and a touchdown. He added five tackles on defense.
The Panthers’ disruptive defense was able to create a bunch of turnovers. David Larsen and Tyler Donahue each forced a fumble with Davis Kim, Ethan Mauskopf and Akira Lomvardas snagging fumble recoveries.
Edgemont ended the season with a 4-4 record. The Panthers went 1-3 to start the season but won three out of their final four games. They fell to Poughkeepsie in the semifinals of the Independent League playoffs, 32-6, on Oct. 23.
“Our goal for this season was to overcome our early season adversity and with each game get better than the last and we were able to accomplish that goal,” Pape said. “Our record may not have been what we wanted but we are moving in the right direction.”
Only six seniors graduate for the Panthers in Donahue, Mauskopf, Lomvardas, Caleb Smith, Jacob Heyman and Stephanie Kornberg. Pape expects some talented reinforcements from the modified program to fill in those holes left by the departing seniors.
“We’re looking forward to next year,” Pape said. “With having such a young team, the experience that they were able to get this year will only make us better moving forward. We have some young talent coming up through our modified program, and with those additions, we can increase our depth and be able to compete with some of these bigger schools.”