Gonk Knocks S2 E7 – Setting the Tone

Episode 7 highlights Algonquin’s final practice before putting on full pads.  Check it out:

Since the team got themselves adjusted to upper pads on Tuesday, August 20, the Algonquin Tomahawks improved in all areas on Wednesday, August 21.

They started off practice by thudding it up in a series head to head match-ups known as “Set the Tone”, and as Coach Allen says, it sets the tone for practice.

One of the closest match-ups of the day was between TE and DE Joe Scangas and WR/TE and DB Derek Blanchard.

Blanchard went on to have another huge day, catching more deep balls successfully.

On offense, Jason Levin and Aidan McKenna also stood out. Levin is a versatile player who succeeded in multiple roles. McKenna has gotten more reps as a junior and made some pretty good catches. He had a great jumping catch during 11 on 11s.

Ralph Gutierrez, Nick Alessi, and Jack Rafferty also made some good catches on Wednesday.

The o-line saw significant improvement compared to Tuesday. They also tried out some new contact drills. Unfortunately, the increase in contact meant more injuries, as several T-Hawks went down.

A couple players who were resting or hurt played with OC Bill Griffin’s son Joey. Joey loves football and always spends a couple days of his summer watching the team practice.

On defense, John Fontecchio, Eli Khasabo, Brett Jolley, and others continued to shine, as they learned plenty from DC Mark Allen and Line Coach Andy Brooks.

Joey also played with his dad while the players were doing conditioning drills to end practice.

After practice, I interviewed T/DL Brett Jolley.

I also spoke with Head Coach Taylor Allen as usual.

Stay tuned to see how the T-Hawks do in full pads as they prepare for their Saturday scrimmage in the 8th and final episode of Gonk Knocks.

Gonk Knocks: Training Camp with the Algonquin Tomahawks

Season 2

Upcoming Key Dates for the Tomahawks Football Team

  • Friday, 8/30 @ 6 p.m.: Scrimmage #2 at Home vs. Franklin
  • Friday, 9/13 @ 7 p.m.: Regular Season Game #1 @Doherty
  • Friday, 9/20 @ 7 p.m.: Regular Season Game #2 at Home vs. Shepherd Hill

Gonk Knocks S2 E6 – Thudding it Up

In Episode 5, Algonquin’s return to the field after a weekend break was highlighted.  Episode 6 moves on to Tuesday, Algonquin’s first of two days in upper pads.  Check it out:

On Tuesday, Algonquin put on uppers as well as their official practice jerseys for the first time.  These would be the jerseys they wear at their scrimmage in Clinton that they will spend the week preparing for.

Many of the players were excited to thud it up for the first time, but pads also add some extra challenges at practice.  Players must be ready for man to man action, the increase in weight on their shoulders and chest, and the pressure on the team to act like football players once uppers come on.

It took a bit for some of the players to get adjusted, but others benefitted from the pads.

The DBs saw a big improvement on Tuesday.  Eli Khasabo had some great blocks and an interception during defensive 7 on 7s.

The d-line took a bit to get adjusted to the more difficult blocking, but they enjoyed trying out some new, more physical drills and going 1 on 1 against other linemen for the first time.  They did many of these drills during defensive 7 on 7s, in which the focus is on linebackers and DBs.

We mic’d up DC Mark Allen for much of the defensive focused parts of practice.

After this, the team shifted focus to the offense.

Derek Blanchard had the 2 best catches of the day, diving for a deep ball on one play, and showing off some excellent route-running after catching another deep ball the next play.

Rafael Gutierrez and Aidan McKenna also had some nice catches.

The o-line struggled at times during their first day in upper pads despite a strong day on Monday.  But Coach Brooks was ready to move on and focus on a strong day Wednesday.

After practice, I spoke with junior captain, LB and FB Rio Ferguson, senior QB Riley Greenwald, and Head Coach Taylor Allen

Now that players have begun to get adjusted to uppers, Wednesday and Thursday will be very telling as to who’s ready to go.  Wednesday is the team’s last day on uppers.   They put on full pads on Thursday.

Stay tuned to see how they do in Episode 7 of Gonk Knocks.

Gonk Knocks: Training Camp with the Algonquin Tomahawks

Season 2

Upcoming Key Dates for the Tomahawks Football Team

  • Friday, 8/30 @ 6 p.m.: Scrimmage #2 at Home vs. Franklin
  • Friday, 9/13 @ 7 p.m.: Regular Season Game #1 @Doherty
  • Friday, 9/20 @ 7 p.m.: Regular Season Game #2 at Home vs. Shepherd Hill

 

 

Gonk Knocks S2 E5 – Football Players or Playing Football

After a brief weekend break, players returned to practice on Monday 8/19.  Episode 5 highlights this practice.  Check it out below:

On Monday August 19th, their last day before putting on uppers, Algonquin looked great in all aspects of practice. But the coaches made sure that the players didn’t let it get to their heads as The next practice would be crucial in determining who was ready to be a football player.

The defense continued to improve. Coach Brooks was especially proud of the line performance.

For the offensive drills, the team focused on ball hand off and handling techniques. 2 standouts in the runs drills were junior captain and FB Rio Ferguson and senior RB Thiago Filadelfo. They were able to practice a lot with both of them in the backfield at the same time.

This is Thiago’s last year with the team as he will be graduating in May so it is great to see him get these opportunities to practice his skills after putting in a lot of work in the off season. The team worked the drills fast so Rio and Thiago could both benefit from the reps.

While running and handoff techniques were the focus on offensive drills, QB Riley Greenwald did throw the ball well, especially on a deep ball to WR/TE Derek Blanchard.

The team wanted to finish practice on a high note, and they were successful in doing so.

The team had practice jerseys ready to go with upper pads.

Coach Allen is learning more about his players every day and once the team puts on uppers and thuds it up a bit, things should become even more clear.

I saw Chris Ocnos back on the field. He brings a lot of positive energy and everyone was excited to see him out there after missing some practice earlier in the week.

I spoke with Ralph Gutierrez and Eli Khasabo after practice. Eli won a game of rock-paper-scissors in order to go
first.

Stay tuned to see how the T-Hawks do on their first day in uppers in Episode 6 of Gonk Knocks.

Gonk Knocks: Training Camp with the Algonquin Tomahawks

Season 2

Upcoming Key Dates for the Tomahawks Football Team

  • Friday, 8/30 @ 6 p.m.: Scrimmage #2 at Home vs. Franklin
  • Friday, 9/13 @ 7 p.m.: Regular Season Game #1 @Doherty
  • Friday, 9/20 @ 7 p.m.: Regular Season Game #2 at Home vs. Shepherd Hill

Gonk Knocks S2 E4 – One Percent Better Every Day

In the first three episodes, I went behind the scenes throughout Day 1 (Friday 8/16), showing highlights of the first official team meeting and practice of the preseason.  Episode 4 moves on to Day 2 (Saturday 8/17), when players arrived early for a morning practice and photo day before getting the rest of the weekend off.  Check it out below:

The coaches were focused on improving on Day 1 in all aspects.  With the offense dominating the team focused on defense and special teams more on Day 2.

The special teams needs to find some new personnel as kicker/punter Rory Caffrey and returner Sam Crain both graduated this past May.  As they hinted at in practice the day before, they experimented with different kickers, returners, and other personnel.  Most of everyone on the team got the chance to show off their special teams skills.

The team did get to some 7 on 7s, but the focus in these was on defense.  Nick Alessi did have some pretty impressive catches though.  It was Head Coach Taylor Allen’s job to put together an offense that can beat the top defensive players.

The DB’s worked hard in their own drills and learned a lot from Coach Tyrone Notice leading up to the 7 on 7s.  I mic’d him up for a large portion of practice.

Coach Notice is one of the more vocal coaches on the team, and his job is to prepare the DB’s for in-game action.  The group does not have the same amount of experience as last year’s DB’s, so they still have a lot to learn.  However, they showed some promise and made a few good plays in 7 on 7s.

While the DB’s and linebackers took on Coach Allen’s offense, the linemen continued to work on blocking, blitzing, and more.  Unfortunately, Chris Ocnos, one d-linemen, went down during practice with a lower body injury.

The T-Hawks received their jerseys for the season that morning, and they took team photos after practice.  Due to photo day, the team wrapped up practice early.  But they finished with some intense conditioning.  The team will return to the practice field on Monday, August 19, and on August 20, they’ll be putting on uppers, which is a helmet as well as shoulder and chest pads.

Before team photos began, I spoke briefly with Head Coach Taylor Allen.

Stay tuned for coverage of Algonquin’s return to the practice field in Episode 5 of Gonk Knocks.

Gonk Knocks: Training Camp with the Algonquin Tomahawks

Season 2

Upcoming Key Dates for the Tomahawks Football Team

  • Friday, 8/30 @ 6 p.m.: Scrimmage #2 at Home vs. Franklin
  • Friday, 9/13 @ 7 p.m.: Regular Season Game #1 @Doherty
  • Friday, 9/20 @ 7 p.m.: Regular Season Game #2 at Home vs. Shepherd Hill

Gonk Knocks S2 E3 – Offense Leads the Way, Defense wins Games

In Episode 1, I showcased highlights from the pre-practice meeting on Day 1 that opened up the 2019 Algonquin Tomahawks preseason.  In Episodes 2 and 3, I focused on what happened out on the practice field.  Check out Episode 3 below:

After some defensive drills early in practice, it was time for some 7 on 7 football.

Today, most of everything clicked for the offense. All 3 QBs, senior Riley Greenwald, junior Jeff Valentine, and sophomore Coleman Hostage, had some big moments. Captain Rio Ferguson anchored the backfield with help from Ryan Connelly, Pedro Ribeiro, Ray Del Re, and others. Many receivers, both on the outside and in the slot, had great moments, including Nick Alessi, Tom Geoffrion, Jason Levin, and Derek Blanchard.

Last year, Blanchard was primarily a tight end, as he played in 2 TE sets with Chris Pacios, who has since transferred.

This year, he not only got work at tight end, but also as a wide receiver and defensive back.

Blanchard especially shined as a route runner and pass catcher.

Before practice, Blanchard was voted the third captain by his teammates.

Rafael Gutierrez also had a great catch.  As a sophomore, he has already stood out in the slot and made a name for himself, so his future with the team is bright.

As Coach said, this offense looked pretty good today. But the way to win football games is with good blocking, good tackling, and good defense, skills the team will continue to work at throughout camp.

I caught up with Coach Taylor Allen once more after practice.

It was a strong practice for the T-Hawks, but this is only the beginning. Tomorrow morning, the team will have to get there early for practice and team photos before a day of rest on Sunday.

Gonk Knocks: Training Camp with the Algonquin Tomahawks

Season 2

Upcoming Key Dates for the Tomahawks Football Team

  • Monday, 8/19 @ 6 p.m.: Varsity Football Preseason Practice #3
  • Tuesday, 8/20 @ 6 p.m.: Varsity Football Preseason Practice #4
  • Wednesday, 8/21 @ 1 p.m.: Varsity Football Preseason Practice #5
  • Thursday, 8/22 @ 4 p.m.: Varsity Football Preseason Practice #6 (First in full pads)
  • Friday, 8/23 @ 4 p.m.: Varsity Football Preseason Practice #7
  • Saturday, 8/24 @ 10 a.m.: Scrimmage #1 @Clinton High School vs. Clinton
  • Monday, 8/26 @ 4 p.m.: Varsity Football Preseason Practice #8
  • Friday, 8/30 @ 6 p.m.: Scrimmage #2 at Home vs. Franklin
  • Friday, 9/13 @ 7 p.m.: Regular Season Game #1 @Doherty
  • Friday, 9/20 @ 7 p.m.: Regular Season Game #2 at Home vs. Shepherd Hill

Gonk Knocks S2 E2 – Our Season Starts Today

In Episode 1, I showcased highlights from the pre-practice meeting on Day 1 that opened up the 2019 Algonquin Tomahawks preseason.  In Episodes 2 and 3, I focused on what happened out on the practice field.  Check out Episode 2 below:

 

After an important meeting that got the whole team on the same page and gave them some knowledge about the modified playbook, it was time to get out on the practice field.

The team started practice all together, rotating between six stations with different basic drills.

After this, they split up into defensive positional groups, and the freshman team went off to the side for their own practice.

Today was the first time freshmen picked up an Algonquin Playbook, so it took time for them to learn the basic plays.

However, once they caught on, they looked pretty impressive.

Similarly, the defensive backs took time to succeed, as many people moved to the position as a result of Sam Crain’s departure and the slightly modified defense Algonquin’s implementing. With Crain leaving, there’s an important starting job open, and the next man up will have to earn it.

Another 2019 graduate, Jack Branson, showed up to practice to give the players a pep talk.

While the DBs kept working, the rest of the defense got together to practice some of the different blitzes in the playbook.

It wasn’t easy to get used to the different plays, but the linemen caught on quickly, and line coach Andy Brooks likes what he saw after returning to coaching for the first time in 3 years.

The linebackers shined in their own drills as well.

While the linemen stuck together, the team began some 7 on 7 plays.

Gonk Knocks: Training Camp with the Algonquin Tomahawks

Season 2

Upcoming Key Dates for the Tomahawks Football Team

  • Monday, 8/19 @ 6 p.m.: Varsity Football Preseason Practice #3
  • Tuesday, 8/20 @ 6 p.m.: Varsity Football Preseason Practice #4
  • Wednesday, 8/21 @ 1 p.m.: Varsity Football Preseason Practice #5
  • Thursday, 8/22 @ 4 p.m.: Varsity Football Preseason Practice #6 (First in full pads)
  • Friday, 8/23 @ 4 p.m.: Varsity Football Preseason Practice #7
  • Saturday, 8/24 @ 10 a.m.: Scrimmage #1 @Clinton High School vs. Clinton
  • Monday, 8/26 @ 4 p.m.: Varsity Football Preseason Practice #8
  • Friday, 8/30 @ 6 p.m.: Scrimmage #2 at Home vs. Franklin
  • Friday, 9/13 @ 7 p.m.: Regular Season Game #1 @Doherty
  • Friday, 9/20 @ 7 p.m.: Regular Season Game #2 at Home vs. Shepherd Hill

Gonk Knocks S2 E1 – We All We Got, We All We Need

I know, it’s been a while.  Since I last posted, I’ve received a variety of experiences thanks to John Rooke and the Dean College sportscasting camp, including an appearance on Patriots.com radio.  I was living the busy life of a sportscaster, so I didn’t have much time to post on here.  Last week, I was recovering from wisdom tooth surgery.  But now, I’m back, and so is Algonquin football.

It all began yesterday with a team meeting and the first official practice of the preseason.  Check out the best moments from the meeting and more in the first Season 2 episode of Gonk Knocks:

Football is back, and here at Algonquin, it all started today. The Algonquin Tomahawks had a busy day ahead of them, including team meetings and the first official practice of the 2019 preseason.

Before the meeting, I caught up with Head Coach Taylor Allen. He filled me in about some things to watch for at practice and the team’s goals and motto for the season.

Two of this year’s captains, senior slot receiver and strong safety Nick Alessi, and junior linebacker and full back Rio Ferguson, were selected in advance by Coach Allen. It’s rare to see a junior as the team captain, but Coach Allen trusts Rio, who’s been here since freshman year, to help lead the team.

Rio proved Coach Allen right, leading the way in blitzes and for the run game.

Alessi also shined in multiple roles. He had a great catch in 7 on 7s, beating out Eli Khasabo on his route as he played the slot. He also tried his hand at playing running back.

The final captain would be selected by the team before practice.

Coach Allen started off the meeting by making the team’s goals clear and uniting the team around these goals.

After this, he went over the offensive formula for success and philosophy.

Later on, he handed it over to his brother, DC Mark Allen for some defensive stats, values, and key plays.  Mark emphasizes controlled aggression when coaching.

After this, it was time to get to work.

Upcoming Key Dates for the Tomahawks Football Team

  • Monday, 8/19 @ 6 p.m.: Varsity Football Preseason Practice #3
  • Tuesday, 8/20 @ 6 p.m.: Varsity Football Preseason Practice #4
  • Wednesday, 8/21 @ 1 p.m.: Varsity Football Preseason Practice #5
  • Thursday, 8/22 @ 4 p.m.: Varsity Football Preseason Practice #6 (First in full pads)
  • Friday, 8/23 @ 4 p.m.: Varsity Football Preseason Practice #7
  • Saturday, 8/24 @ 10 a.m.: Scrimmage #1 @Clinton High School vs. Clinton
  • Monday, 8/26 @ 4 p.m.: Varsity Football Preseason Practice #8
  • Friday, 8/30 @ 6 p.m.: Scrimmage #2 at Home vs. Franklin
  • Friday, 9/13 @ 7 p.m.: Regular Season Game #1 @Doherty
  • Friday, 9/20 @ 7 p.m.: Regular Season Game #2 at Home vs. Shepherd Hill