Story by Ryan Kaczmarski
Photos by Larry Bennet
The Bay football program has had some lean years recently, and the decision was made to go in a new direction and make a change to its coaching staff.
Bay did not have to look far for a new voice to lead the Rockets back to prominence. With 2000 Bay High grad and former team MVP Ronald Rutt already on the football staff for the past 11 years, along with being the head boys track and field coach, it was a no-brainer to make him the new voice of Rocket Football.
Rutt has the job of turning around a Rockets squad that went 1-9 overall and 1-5 in the West Shore Conference last year. He will do it by utilizing a slew of returning letter winners, who have another year of experience under their belts.
The list of returnees includes quarterback John Koz (6-1, 185), running back and outside linebacker Nick Best (5-11, 185), fullback and middle linebacker Chris Francati (5-11, 200), tight end and middle linebacker Kyle Thompson (6-1, 200), lineman Matt Beniard (5-10, 225), lineman Sam Notarberardino (5-9, 200), lineman Peter Sullivan (6-1, 225) and lineman Keenan Accorti (6-5, 260).
Also returning are wide receiver and free safety Rex Sunahara (6-6, 190), wide receiver and strong safety Danny Heideloff (5-9, 170) and full back outside linebacker Dan Hoke (6-1, 190).
This year's captains are Hoke, Heideloff, Beniard and Best.
"These four bring experience and toughness to our team," Rutt said. "We have a strong senior class. Our players have earned the right to win."
A key newcomer to varsity this year is junior wide receiver and defensive back Joe Debarr (5-10, 170).
Seniors making the jump to varsity this year include lineman Cole Kaucheck (6-1, 205), tight end and linebaker Cole Kish (6-2, 180), wide receiver and defensive back Steven Krauser (5-8, 145), wide receiver and defensive back Griffin Phillips (5-10, 160), kicker and punter Alec White (6-1, 175) and lineman Hunter Williams (6-0, 180).
Juniors coming up from junior varsity this season include running back and defensive back Blake Campbell (5-11, 165), wide receiver and defensive back Collin Kapes (5-9, 155), running back and linebacker Nick Kubinski (5-8, 170) and running back and defensive lineman Tommy Leamon (6-0, 175).
Other juniors include lineman Robert Lebron (6-2, 170), lineman Howard Marusa (6-3, 230), lineman Matt Tashjian (5-10, 210) and offensive lineman and linebacker Austin Thompson (5-10, 194).
"We will need to execute our assignments to the best of our ability, eliminate mental mistakes and be more physical than our opponent," Rutt explained. "We have a lot of talent in our starting lineup.
"We are hoping to surprise some teams this year," he added.
Assisting Rutt on the football coaching staff this year are defensive coordinator Tim Jansen, offensive coordinator Kyle Barberic, and position coaches Brent Neibecker, P.J. Hartraft, Ryan Haley, Sean Dusek, Brian Murphy, Brandon Johnson, John Koz, John Girgash and Harry Manos.
The Rockets open their 2014 season Friday night by hosting Brookside at Memorial Stadium.
(You can follow us on Twitter @BeAFanatic. You can also find us on Facebook here: BeAFanatic.com.)
Click on the camera below to view Larry's photos: