Cooperstown returns most of its skill players, including seniors Lucas Lyons, Joe Harmon and Max Bonderoff and sophomore Scott Segit. Lyons will play tailback in the I formation that Pestar said he intends to run.
“We’ve got a lot of skill players back, and most of them are seniors, which is what you like to see,” Pestar said. “That’s a good thing.”
Although Booan is moving off the line, and Brown graduated, the team will have a lot of returning lineman with good size.
Seniors Jesse Shute, Cullen Rathbone and Ben Carentz, and junior Ken Stahl all return this season. Sophomores Noah Briggs and Colin Wilcox will also play lineman on both sides of the ball.
“It has been a while since we have had such big interior lineman,” Pestar said. “I think my linemen weigh 260, 285, 220. My smallest guy is like 185 pounds.”
Junior Michael Perrino will return after missing last season with a broken collarbone. Perrino will play nose tackle and tight end, and is also getting some reps at quarterback, Pestar said.
Pestar said assistant coach Jim LaCava is in charge of the defense. Cooperstown will start off keeping a 3-4 similar but not identical to the one Segina ran.
“We’ll make a few changes to it,” Pestar said. “You know, that’s why you have a scrimmage. You have to go out on the field and see what works. If it doesn’t work, we’ll change it.”
At linebacker, sophomore E.J. Perez and junior T.J. Fay are back. Both players had breakout years last season on defense. Lyons, Bonderoff, Harmon and Segit will also play in the secondary.
Cooperstown will again play in the D East division, which is filled with tough opponents. Defending champ West Canada Valley, which went undefeated in the regular season before losing to Westmoreland in the section semifinals, returns a big class of players. Dolgeville and Herkimer should both be good as well. Waterville, Sauquoit Valley and Morrisville-Eaton/Hamilton round out the division.