Warwick recognizes 250 football players, cheerleaders

| 28 Sep 2011 | 02:18

    WARWICK-All good things come to an end. Yet another Warwick football season came to an end with the program's annual banquet Dec. 13. More than 250 football players and cheerleaders were recognized for their accomplishments this fall. One of the night's highlights came with the 2004 Warwick Football Hall of Fame induction ceremony. Beginning in 1998, a committee is responsible for choosing new members, which are announced at the annual football banquet every year since. James Sciarra, Warwick's offensive coordinator, gave a heartfelt speech about the purpose of Warwick's Hall of Fame and what it embodies. Sciarra told the current players they could be sitting next to future Hall of Famers and not even know it. Introducing the first of two inductees was Rocco Manno, Warwick's junior varsity head coach. Manno introduced Nicholas Lesando, a former player who last played for Warwick in 1940. Lesando was a member of the United States Air Force for more than 25 years and served in World War II, Korea, and Vietnam. Warwick head coach Greg Sirico then took the stage and began talking about a former player and current Wildcat coach. Sirico, who just completed his ninth season as Warwick's head coach, gave an emotional speech about the man who coached him in 1984. That fall, Sirico was a senior at Warwick Valley High School and the Wildcats' quarterback. Behind the direction of John Garcia, Warwick won the Section 9 Championship. Much has happened between Sirico and Garcia since. Nowadays, Sirico is the head coach with Garcia coaching special teams and having a strong hand in the team's defensive schemes. And on Dec. 13 Sirico inducted his former coach into the Warwick Football Hall of Fame. During his induction speech, Garcia called coaching "a labor of love." He said afterwards he hopes to coach for as long as he can. "When I come down that hill, it's no different than it was 26 years ago," Garcia said. "I still get goose bumps." Following the 2004 Warwick Football Hall of Fame induction ceremony, the modified, freshman, junior varsity, and varsity teams were recognized. Kyle Putnam and Sean Marshall, Warwick's modified coaches, gave each member of their team their letters and/or pins for the season. Putnam gave the audience a list of notable statistics, which led to his team's 6-0 record. The modified team trailed only once during the course of the season and the average final score was 36-9. While Warwick's freshman team wasn't as successful as the modified team, head coaches Mike Darcey and Lloyd Ed Van Duzer were still proud at what their team accomplished. "These kids have a lot of heart and next year they'll have a better year," Darcey said. After narrowly losing to Monroe-Woodbury and Newburgh Free Academy, Rocco Manno's junior varsity team went on to win seven consecutive games and finish the season with a 7-2 record. "I couldn't say a bad thing about anybody on this football team," Manno said. "I couldn't be more proud than any of them." The only team left to be honored was none other than the 2004 Section 9 Class AA Division 2 Champion Warwick Wildcats. "It's about winning, not about statistics to this team," Sirico said before giving out awards. "When you start to worry about the name on the back instead of the name on the front, you're not in this for the right reasons." One of the most important ceremonies of the night came when Tim Marion made his announcement as to who he was going to pass No. 44 to. A man of few words, Marion gave an inspirational speech about junior Ryan Darcey, who will continue the No. 44 tradition as a senior next fall. Marion later gave a speech about the 2004 season and how the Wildcats were undersized in nearly every game. "It's not about size, but heart," Marion said. "That's where the real games are played." Another important ceremony came when the 2004 team captains announced the 2005 team captains. Current juniors Ryan Darcey, Sean Bennett, Phil Murphy, and Derek Hrinya will lead the Wildcats in 2005. A number filled with tradition and title of team captain is ahead of what Ryan Darcey calls his "glory year." "I'm real excited and looking forward to a good year," Darcey said. "I just want to lead this team."