New Cooperstown football coach Joe Pestar is a football throwback. Or, maybe based on his preferred style of play, you would call him a runback.
“Yeah, I guess I’m old-school,” he said. “I like ball control offense. I like to run the ball. Mark (Segina) threw it a lot.”
Pestar, who coached varsity football for 10 years at Richfield Springs and helped his friend Steve Pugliese with Cooperstown Central School football for several years after that said he is excited about returning to the gridiron.
“I missed it,” he said. “It never really goes out of your life.”
Segina may have left Cooperstown to return to Unadilla Valley after one 1-7 season, but he left the program in a better place than he found it.
Cooperstown lost only five seniors — quarterbacks Noah Sims and Sawyer Haney, lineman John Brown and co-captains Jacob Miller and Kevin Segit — although they were all key players:
“The Miller boy and the Segit boy, they were good players,” Pestar said. “I had them on my J.V. team and they were leaders then too.”
The team will have 24 players this year. Last year’s team started with 23, but injuries cut it below 20. And last year’s totals included a big freshman class. No freshmen will play varsity this year, Pestar said.
“Since we had the numbers this year, we decided to leave them down,” he said. “We’ll have a big class coming up from modified football.”
One of last year’s freshmen, Carmen Booan, is the leading contender to replace Sims and Haney at quarterback. Booan was the team’s center last season.
“He has been taking control in the huddle,” Pestar said. “He is very vocal, which is what I am looking for in a quarterback. He is doing fine at handing the ball off, and his passes are improving every day. Plus he is very smart.”