LONG LAKE - Orange head coach Jim Pirano can describe his boys varsity team in two words: young and competitive. The Orange return three seniors after losing five of their team leaders to graduation last year.
"We are very young, but we are looking good," said Pirano in his second season coaching the Orange.
The team went 8-6 last year and won the Division III Championship led by seniors Jordan Wallace at halfback and Chris Bain, Chris Burke, Ben Black and Brian Dunbar at fullback.
"This year, my seniors will have to step up and fill the gaps left by their teammates from last year," said Pirano.
He expects seniors Hank Evatt at center halfback, a returning all-star, and Matt Rusch at center fullback to lead the team both on and off the field this year. He is, however, looking for big things from junior Dalton Aldous as well. Junior Zach Ruland will begin his second year in the net for the Orange and was honored with an all-conference award last year.
Pirano is anticipating good competition within the league and thinks the Orange are up to the challenge.
"Johnsburg is always our biggest competition," said Pirano.
He is not underestimating Minerva\Newcomb and Wells, however. Wells will be a wildcard in the league this year as they did not field a varsity soccer team last year.
Pirano plans to test the boys with some non-league play as well. They will leave the conference for several games against division II and division I teams.
"It is good education for a young team like this to face teams that are a challenge, regardless of the score," said Pirano. "Our goal is to simply improve after every game and if we do that, we will be successful."
Pirano hopes to start building a strong team with the young talent he has acquired this year.