Brooklyn, N.Y.: The Grady Falcons varsity football team posted a 4-3 record and lost to Frank J. Macchiarola, 32-8, in the first round of the PSAL Cup Conference playoffs last season.
But Head Coach Andrew Jashyn said he has 16 returning players, with 11 seniors coming back into the fold, giving the Falcons, now in the PSAL Football B Conference, a good shot at being a cohesive unit again, and thusly emerging victorious in many of its nine games in 2022.
Furthermore, Jashyn is counting on a talented group that he said is coachable, driven and possess solid mental and moral makeups that will help make them a competitive squad and a tough out.
“I don’t like to predict wins or loses, but we’ll be good,” said Jashyn, who had captured a Cup Conference title in 2005, and appeared in two final Championships, as well winning two rugby crowns as head coach, with several of his footballers on the squad.
“I’m the ever optimist. I got a really nice group of kids; good character, and the will to win. When you play Grady, you know you’ve played Grady. All these kids are great people. They bought into the program. They’ll play wherever we need them to play. When you play Grady, you know you’ve played Grady.”
The Falcons will be led by a core group of gritty players including junior running back/corner back Isaiah Hopper, who has spent two seasons at varsity.
“I’m expecting big things out of him now,” Jashyn said of Hopper. “It’s time for him to step up.”
Next up is 6-foot-1, 230-pound senior defensive lineman/offensive lineman Marques Harris, linebacker/receiver Mukhammodrizo Bakhodirov, and running back/outside linebacker Cheikh Konate.
Plus, senior kicker/defensive back Angelo Morles, whom Jashyn said is a tough, great kid, enduring a bout of pancreatitis–inflammation of the pancreas, an organ that makes pancreatic juices, which contain enzymes that aid in digestion, and produces several hormones, including blood sugar-balancing insulin–two years ago.
“He told me that he doesn’t want to come off the field (this upcoming season),” the 20-year coach said of Morles.
Jashyn–a former martial arts competitor and Middle Village, Queens, native–stressed that the coaching staff will do whatever it takes to help prepare the student-athletes for their best possible lives on and off the gridiron. He does not take his teaching and coaching responsibility lightly.
“I think like these kids are my kids, and how would I treat them if my kids were out there,” the father of two children and physical education teacher said. “We do our best to treat them right and give them the best shot to succeed. That’s what we’re really all about, giving them a great experience.”
All that Jashyn, a former St. Fracis Francis Prep player, asks in return is that his players got out and put forth a maximum effort on every down.
“Give me everything you can,” he implores of players.
The Falcons open up the 2022 PSAL football season on Saturday, September 10th at 11:00 a.m. in a non-league tilt against Far Rockaway at home.
— Jerry Del Priore