MAHOPAC – Jordan Spieth came up short in his bid to win the PGA Championship Sunday. But Tom Donahoe figures it was more like Jason Day won with a record 20-under-par than Spieth lost at 17 under.
The 11-year Mahopac football coach looks at his squad’s 2014 season in much the same way.
The Indians finished 6-3. Their three losses were close and came to similarly strong teams in John Jay-East Fishkill, Mamaroneck and New Rochelle.
“We played well,” Donahoe said.
And, with 13 of 22 starters returning, including All-Section quarterback Dan Foley and All-Section honorable mention halfback, safety and punt returner Christian Donahoe (the coach’s son), there’s little reason to suspect Mahopac will play anything but well this season.
Mahopac, which began practice Monday with three sessions scheduled but only two held due to a high heat index, appeared almost in mid-season form.
Maybe that’s because the majority of its 48 players participated in four-day-a-week workouts assistant coach Jim Donahoe ran this summer.
“I like our work ethic,” Tom Donahoe said. “They worked very hard this summer and all are very unselfish and put team goals ahead of their own and they love to play football, including practicing on a 90-degree day.”
“We’re in great shape. Our endurance usually can help in the second half,” Christian Donahoe said.
Mahopac is known for its option- and wing-T-based offense that doesn’t feature one person.
But Foley is a big-time player, who has free rein to audible at the line. Foley, whose brother T.J., led Mahopac to the 2010 section championship game at QB, is known as much for his arm as his feet, although he prefers tucking the ball and running.
“There’s nothing better than putting your shoulder down and gaining the extra yard,” he said.
Other senior returners include tight end/defensive end Zac Carlin, guard/linebacker John Vellek, full back/linebacker Chris Kocovic, fullback/linebacker Tom Murray, halfback/defensive back/punt returner Joe Cavaciuti and split end/defensive back Andrew “Winny” Winogradoff.
Kocovic, whom Foley termed “tough to tackle and a beast at defensive end,” said his team embracing its preseason three-a-day practices, believing the extra work will pay off during the season.
“We love it,” Kocovic said. “The last thing we want to play with is regrets. We want to play each opponent at high intensity.”