OSSINING, N.Y. – Trent Lofaro did not need his alarm clock to awaken him Friday morning.
The Ossining senior was up before 6:25 a.m., ready to go as he and his teammates anxiously awaited the first day of high school football practice.
“I really couldn’t wait to get here today,” said the 5-foot-11, 220-pound offensive tackle/defensive end. “Football never really ends, but we were starting off today.”
Lofaro is one of 25 returnees for the Pride, who went 6-3 last year and reached the semifinals of the Section 1 Class A Football Championship before losing to eventual champ Poughkeepsie.
Last year, Ossining had only eight returning veterans for the 2011 season and tripled its’ win total from 2010.
“Last year, nobody expected anything from us because we were 2-7 the year before and only had eight guys back,” said Lofaro, a three-year starter. “We have more experience this year and are determined to be better than we were last year.”
In past years, Lofaro said, Ossining always had more skill-position players than linemen, but not this year. And, even though the big guys on the line outnumber the backs, receivers and quarterback, Ossining is stocked in those positions.
Junior Justin Davidov steps in at quarterback. Last year, Davidov engineered a couple of wins in place of then-injured starter Brian Connolly. Senior Stephen Candelaria returns at halfback as does classmate Josh Almodovar. Davidov has several sure-handed targets in wide receivers Dan Calamari, Kayvon Murray and Tyler Howton and tight end Egal Sanchez.
Lofaro, along with Anthony Donadio and Andy Balcomb, comprise three-fifths of the starting offensive line. The trio brings experience and tenacity to the unit.
Ossining came into the first day of practice prepared and ahead of schedule. Following the 2011 season, Lofaro said the team was dedicated to working out.
“Even the coaches said they were surprised about how we came in,” Lofaro said. “Everyone was dedicated to getting better so we will be better this year. Coming in today with 25 returning guys, we knew our responsibilities and we got right into what we needed to do. We already have plays installed.”
Lofaro said Ossining has already forgotten about its final game of the 2011 season. The Pride is not motivated by the loss, but something else.
"What is fueling us is our drive and determination to excel as a team and go further than we did last year," Lofaro said.