Tonawanda News — Offensive lines usually aren’t the focal point of a football team heading into a season.
But according to Cardinal O’Hara head coach Angelo Sciandra, the Hawks’ fortunes will live and die with their front five.
“I think we’re going to be an improved football team this year, for sure,” Sciandra said. “Our line is one of the biggest reasons why I’m more optimistic going into this season than I was last year. Those guys have another year of experience, they’re a good group of kids and the continuity of working together the last couple of years also helps too.”
The Hawks’ offensive line is composed of five juniors – tackles Tyler Jansen and Kris Croom, guards Mike Spagna and Gino Lattuca, and center Darnell Hamilton. All of them except for Lattuca (who recently switched from tight end to guard) started for the Hawks last season and have seen their development grow by leaps and bounds this offseason.
“They’ve been very diligent in working in the weight room this summer. They’ve gotten stronger and they understand our blocking schemes a lot better,” Scianda said. “It’s not so much now where they just go and seal off someone just because they’ve been told to block that person. They really understand the concepts of our plays now, and they understand the big picture better.”
O’Hara also faces the challenge of replacing Anthony DiFrancesco, their quarterback from the three previous seasons. The recent graduate was a leader for the team and was a threat in both the passing game and running game.
“Anthony was always going to be tough to replace,” Sciandra said. “He was a tough, tough kid and was a heck of an athlete. I don’t know if I’ve ever had anyone like him.”