In a very short time, a winning football tradition has been built on the South Hamilton campus of the Pingree School.
The Highlanders, in only their seventh year of even having a football program, have advanced to the postseason three straight years, including wins in the Clark/Francis Bowl in 2009 and the Norm Walker Bowl in 2010.
Mediocrity is not something the Pingree players can live with at this point. So you can imagine that the 27-26 loss to Rye Country Day School last year in the Dan Rorke Bowl has left a bad taste in the mouths of the returning Highlander players.
“Having lost in the championship game, especially (captain) Nick Antenucci, he said, ‘We won’t lose again.’ He still says it all the time,” said Pingree coach Chris Powers, whose team has gone 24-3 over the last three seasons. “They take a lot of pride in the program and they don’t want to let that tradition die down in any way. We’re excited with their effort and what they’re willing to do to make sure they’re prepared things don’t go bad on their watch.”
Antenucci has been a staple in Pingree’s lineup for the last couple seasons. He returns as a ferocious linebacker in the middle of the Highlanders’ defense, and he’ll get carries from a running back position on offense.
Fellow captains Jerome Cappadona (QB/CB), Jake Gilbert (OL/DE) and Hossam Hamdan (LB) will also be huge factors on both sides of the ball for Powers. Hamdan is so versatile that his coach can’t even pinpoint where he’ll be playing. “Wherever we want to play him on offense,” Powers said.
Cappadona brings experience to the quarterback position, having started all of last year, and he’ll have plenty of weapons at his disposal.