GCHS Trojans win football season opener 28-7

The Garden City High School varsity football team opened the season at home on Saturday, September 2. A bright, warm day greeted the players and coaches as they took the field for the 2pm start against neighboring New Hyde Park. Head coach David Ettinger is at the helm for his 9th season and is assisted by Steve Finnell, Ray Chaputain, Ryan Boelsen, Don Makofske, and Dan Doherty. Athletic trainer Anthony Navaro provides any necessary assistance to the players.

Led by senior captains Aidan Considine, Owen Holtzman, Matt Kephart, Carson Kraus, Matthew Liberopoulos, and Jack O’Neill, the Trojans of Garden City are a team of 53 student-athletes, many of whom return from last year’s winning Long Island Championship team.

Sophomore kicker Christopher Desiderio got the action started with the kickoff and subsequent touchback on Warren King Field. Senior defensive back Cooper Kraus had the season’s first tackle on a short passing play. After an errant snap, junior linebacker Blake Cascadden swarmed the quarterback for the season’s first tackle for a loss of yards.

Senior running back Aidan Considine had the season’s first rushing attempt and turned it into a 6-yard gain to get the offense going. Quarterback Carson Kraus’s first passing attempt went to fellow senior Danny Psaki, who recorded the team’s first reception and initial first down. Shortly thereafter, Carson Kraus went up the middle on a 14-yard keeper to score the first touchdown of the season. Christopher Desiderio followed that with his first of four extra point kicks. With 6:10 remaining in the first quarter, the Trojans led the Gladiators, 7-0.

Back on defense, linebacker Matt Kephart nicely anticipated a jet sweep, which resulted in a 4-yard loss and a punt attempt by New Hyde Park. After another errant snap, Matthew Liberopoulos and junior Ryan Campbell tackled the NHP punter and gave the Trojans excellent field position only 13 yards from the end zone. On the next play, Carson Kraus, protected all day by offensive linemen Jack O’Neill, Matt Reilly, Zach Olson, Brendan Bohn, Owen Holtzman, and Justin Gisolfi, found wide receiver Danny Psaki in the end zone. For the second consecutive year, Danny Psaki recorded a touchdown reception in the season opener. The Trojans led 14-0 with 4:24 left in the first quarter.

On the Gladiator’s next drive, senior linebacker Brady Karol, defensive tackle Owen Holtzman, and junior linebacker Blake Cascadden each had tackles for losses. Senior defensive tackle Stamati Makrinos stopped NHP from running up the middle of the field. Junior Daniel Medjid returned a punt 29 yards down the far sideline, evading four would-be tacklers along the way and setting up the offense on the NHP 18-yard line. The offense chipped away, switched directions at the start of the second quarter, and took a 21-0 lead on Aidan Considine’s 1-yard touchdown run and Christopher Desiderio’s extra point with 11:45 remaining in the quarter.

Senior Jack Alkin stopped the NHP kick returner who was surrounded by seniors Andrew Schlipf, Leo Votruba, Tyler Gorman, and James Ullrich. Blake Cascadden had a sack and big defensive stops were made by James Ullrich, Matthew Liberopoulos, Aidan Considine, Brady Karol, and Matt Kephart. The Trojans led 21-0 at halftime.

Sophomore Justin Baiker returned the second half kickoff 20 yards and offensive tackles Justin Gisolfi and Jack O’Neill each rumbled for yards after recovering fumbles. Cooper Kraus returned the Gladiator’s punt 25 yards, leaving Garden City just 29 yards from the goal line. After strong runs by Aidan Considine, quarterback Carson Kraus ran through a hole created by Jack Alkin, Jack O’Neill, and Zach Olson and scored his second rushing touchdown. The Trojans led 28-0 with 3:44 remaining in the third quarter. Seniors John Uhoda, Josh Cohen, Tyler Gorman, and James Ullrich all had impressive tackles in the quarter.

The Gladiators opened the 4th quarter with a touchdown and extra point, cutting the Trojan’s lead to 21 points. Leo Votruba returned the ensuing kickoff 20 yards but the Gladiators forced a punt by Christopher Desiderio. The teams exchanged punts as the game concluded. Final score: Garden City – 28, New Hyde Park – 7.

The team thanks all the parents and fans as well as the GCHS cheerleaders and kickline team for their support. The Trojans face Calhoun High School on Saturday, September 9, at 2pm in Merrick.

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