Tonawanda News — Another bright spot for Truilizio was his defense. The starting 11 allowed just 14 points, which was a far cry from last year, where teams were lighting up the scoreboard on the young, inexperienced squad.
“People need to realize that last year’s team only had two players with any sort of varsity starting experience,” Truilizio said. “The rest were from the JV or backups. This year, we have 12 returning starters. It’s like night and day for the program.”
Not all the news coming out of the first game was good for the Lumberjacks, however. Linebacker Taylor Mellott strained his knee, and according to Truilizio, is out for Friday night. Nehemiah Stone, expected to be a major part of the offense, will be out at least another week with a strained ACL of his own.
“And there’s some other kids with some of the usual bumps and bruises,” Truilizio said. “We gotta stay healthy to have a chance this year.”
Although it’s only the second game of the season, a win versus Grand Island would be huge. For starters, it would put them in the drivers seat for the Class A North title, and a return to the playoffs. It would also be a benchmark win for a program attempting to restore itself to prominence after a 4-5 campaign in 2012.
“We have a proud tradition here at NT of making the playoffs year in and year out,” Truilzio said. “We want to get back as soon as possible. They’re a great team, but if we do what we’re capable of and do all the little things well, I think we can compete with anybody.
“We want to be a team everybody in the community can be proud of.”