Football players at Beacon High School are prepared to help turn Beacon into a playoff town.
The Bulldogs, absent from the Section 1 playoffs since 2007, think they have the makeup of a team that can qualify for the postseason and be a threat.
“I think getting there is a big deal because we haven’t done it in a while,” senior tailback/linebacker Justin Espinal said. “I feel like we have a lot of fast players and talented players. We have a lot of younger kids and a lot of depth at different positions.”
Playing in Section 1 Class A League B, Beacon (3-5 last year) brings back a blend of youth and experience. About half of Beacon’s 28 varsity players were on the JV last year, but that squad went 7-1, creating optimism.
“We have a lot of talented kids coming up and talented kids from last year,” Beacon coach Brian Mahon said. “We really do have high expectations for this team.”
One JV player from last season is junior quarterback Kyle Perrucci, who Mahon said is among the hardest workers on this year’s team. Perrucci said he attended more than 10 offseason camps to sharpen his skills.
“It’s a big responsibility, stepping into the quarterback role,” said Perrucci, noting that the speed of the game is the toughest adjustment to make, stepping up to varsity. “Everything’s faster, quicker, stronger.”
Although not a natural quarterback, Taurus Phillips spent time at the position last season. This year, he can concentrate on being the team’s primary running back in his senior year.
“He could be the hidden gem in this league,” Mahon said. “He’s a very athletic kid. The goal is to get the ball in his hands as much as possible, while at the same time, spreading it out.”
Phillips, who also plays safety, is enthusiastic about the team’s chances.
“This year, we’ve got everybody on the team motivated,” Phillips said. “They’re pumped. Everybody’s pumped. Nobody wants to slack. Nobody wants to lose. We’re just getting after it.”
Phillips said his individual goals were having six interceptions and maybe 80 tackles, but he quickly changed the topic.
“It’s not about me. It’s about the team,” Phillips said. “We play as a team. We practice as a team. We win wars as a team. Even individually, we do it as a team.”
Mahon said in addition to Phillips, Perrucci and Espinal, another Bulldog to keep an eye on could be Ashanti Cato, who moved from tackle to guard this season.
“He’s making a few adjustments that he’s actually doing really well with,” Mahon said.
Beacon opens up on Sept. 7 at 6 p.m. at Ossining. The team’s schedule features three teams that made last season’s Section 1 playoffs — Hendrick Hudson, Somers and Sleepy Hollow. Mahon thinks his team is up to the challenge.
“I expect these guys to be able to hang with them, no problem,” Mahon said. “I think the skill positions are looking really good. I think down in the trenches is where we need some work, but we’re going to get there.
“I think this is a playoff team. If we get to the playoffs, I’d consider that successful.”