Inexperience Is Major Problem
of Caputi in Bow at St. Joe's

By BOB VIGGIANO Courier-Post Staff Friday, September 10, 1971

There is a new coach and a new attitude these days at St. Joseph's of Camden High School, and followers are hoping this new combination will revive the school's football fortunes. Former Camden Catholic High School ace Mike Caputi has taken over the helm at St. Joe's, but he isn't exactly a stranger to the setup. He served as an assistant at the South Camden School last year and is well aware of the problems that exist. "The first thing we had to do was to change the attitude," Caputi said. "St. Joe's won only two games the last two seasons, and the kids developed a losing attitude. This was the main hurdle we had to overcome at camp."

CAPUTI FEELS part of the problem has been solved, but is the first to admit the Bisons are not yet out of the woods. "Winning, of course, will do wonders for the program," Caputi said, "but we have a tough schedule and our line is small and inexperienced. Gaining experience as quickly as possible is one of our objectives." The new coach has been pleased with the progress thus far. "The kids have worked hard," Caputi said. "I thought we had an excellent camp and we had only one kid quit the team. This in itself is a big improvement over last year."

IN 1970, the Bisons were riddled with injuries and internal problems which resulted in only 20 players left on the squad when the season came to a close. "This is a new year and we're trying to forget the past," Caputi added. "We have 25 sophomores on the team and quite a few of them are going to see plenty of action. They're inexperienced, but are ready to play." Much of the Bisons' success will hinge on the development of sophomore quarterback Dan Delvecchio who, Caputi feels, has the makings of a top performer when he adds some experience.

"WE HAD three players going for the job and Dan had it almost from the first day of camp," Caputi said. "He has a good arm, and I feel he could develop into a top prospect." Juniors Lou Pace and Jeff Capella are fighting it out for the No. 2 job. Caputi terms the running game as the Bisons' initial strong suit, with a trio of experienced senior runners. Ron Richardson (185) and John Alliano (160) will open at the halfback posts, although Alliano has been shelved temporarily with a broken hand. His place has been taken by senior Al Acquesta (145) and sophomore Gary Foster (155). Ed Cannon (165) has captured the fullback spot with junior Nick Rossi (160) a capable backup.

WHILE THE offensive line lacks depth and experience, there is a torrid battle being waged for the starting center job between soph Jim Gallen (160) and junior Rich Gravinese (160). "Right now, I would have to say the edge goes to Gallen," Caputi said. "Things could change before the season begins, however." Junior Rich Powell (170) and senior Tom Luria (175) already have already clinched the guard slots, but backups have been one of Caputi's problems and those jobs are still up in the air. Veteran Steve Moraca's sophomore brother Bob (210) is waging some stiff opposition.

CAPUTI CLAIMS the end positions will be the strongest part of the line, with a trio of seniors holding the jobs. Veteran Stan Kisiel (185) is an excellent blocker and pass catcher and will team with another veteran, Ken Picot (160), as the starters. Steve Tompkins (185) gives the Bisons depth at the position. According to Caputi, the Bisons will use a 54 defense. "We are not very big up front, so we'll have to depend a lot on speed," he said. "We have some experience, but most of the starters will he inexperienced -- especially in the deep secondary." Kisiel and Luria will open at the terminal spots, with Fairbrothers and Bob Moraca slated for the tackle posts. Picot will be the No. 1 reserve at end and senior Gene Chiodi (185), the top replacement at tackle. The middle guard position will be handled by Powell, with Gravinese in reserve.

RICHARDSON and Steve Moraca have nailed down the starting jobs at inside linebacker, with Steve Enders (145) and Cannon getting the starting nods at outside linebacker. Soph Bob Maciejewski (155) and Rossi also have shown promise at linebacker. In the secondary, Foster and soph Mike Amato (150) will be the starters, but fellow classmates Mike Dougherty (135) and Walt Binton (130) are pushing them. "We still have a lot of work ahead of us, but I feel if we continue to work as hard as we have been we can win our share of games," Caputi said. Caputi also praised his assistants -- Joe Fugaro (backfield), Frank Panhuise (linebackers and ends) and Bob Orzechowski (line) -- for their "tremendous help."

Posted: November 3, 1999

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This space provided by Michael P. McDowell, Class of '72,
author of
Emprise, The Quiet Pools and
The Trigger.