Red Hook is smashing into an era of football relevance – and it’s been a long time coming.
After a coaching overhaul in 2009 that saw Bill Stutz inserted as varsity head coach, the Red Hook Raiders suffered through an anemic 2010 campaign, finishing 3-6, before finding their groove in 2011: They finished 6-3 overall and 4-2 in the section, and capped off the season with a loss in the sectional semifinals to a powerhouse Marlboro squad.
Stutz is sure that his team’s success last year wasn’t a fluke. “I absolutely believe Red Hook will be a contender for the Section title,” he told the Observer.
Stutz is trying to ensure that success by making his varsity squad the tightest ship in the section through a more-or-less year-round training regimen. “We have kept our momentum by training in the off season,” Stutz said., “In January and February, players that did not play other winter sports trained with the football staff at MAC Fitness in Kingston twice a week. Weight lifting is now year-round for any player that wants to participate.”
The goal is simple, he added: “We are looking to come into training camp in the best shape of any team in Section 9. If we accomplish that, training camp will be 90 percent football, and our focus will be on fine-tuning rather than conditioning.”
The key to Red Hook’s success isn’t just in the preparation, it’s also in the personnel. It looks like Red Hook will have the manpower to take on the heavy hitters like New Paltz and Marlboro, at least offensively.
Red will be returning third-year starting quarterback Lucas Brochetti, as well as 6’6”, 235 pound wide receiver Brandon Coleman, a duo of seniors who could combine for a nasty aerial attack in their final year. In addition, there’s pocket-Hercules running back Brandon Tator and running back Anthony Depaoli. Also returning will be monster left guard Will Brammer, at 6’4” and 285 pounds, and Luis Garcia, who Stutz labels Red Hook’s “meanest linebacker.”
Even with all that power, Stutz understands that success isn’t automatic – especially in Section 9 Class B. “Class B is stacked. I think our stiffest competition will be defending section champion Marlboro, runner-up Spackenkill, and New Paltz, which always seems to keep themselves in it to win it,” he said.
“We are entering our third year as a restructured program,” Stutz added. “Transitions take time, and we as a program still have to prove change is actually here and our winning is not just a fluke.”
Red Hook, as a team, has everything it needs to make it past the sectional semis this year. They have the players, the drive, a solid coach in Stutz, and his seven-person coaching staff. They’ve done the groundwork to make sure they’re all physically prepared for the season.
Now it’s time to ramp up training camp–and get physical.