By: Brandon Francisco
As Masuk Football gears up for their first game in nearly 642 days, let’s take a look at what to expect for the Panthers return to the field. Led by their quarterback and senior captain Nick Saccu, the Panthers will attempt to build upon their previous record of 7-4 despite the long delay. The addition of Head Coach Steve Christy opens a door of possibilities for the Masuk offense. Lukas Shamas appears to be the frontrunner for the main running back spot, his athleticism will also be utilized on defense as a linebacker. Ryan Saccu and Jake Dellapiano, the quick wide receivers, will both play a large role in the Panthers passing game. Justin Briganti, Evan Cronk, and Mike Epifano are more of the many weapons the Panthers have on offense. Throughout the prolonged offseason, the Panthers continued their weight lifting and conditioning programs to stay in shape and prepare for their return. Defensively, Masuk hopes to use size and strength to their advantage.
Team chemistry is one of the most important factors in a successful, winning season. After a cancelled season in 2020 due to COVID-19, which was followed by numerous restrictions on large gatherings, the Panthers are continuing to rebuild chemistry and welcoming new additions to the team. When speaking with Nick Saccu, he kept the team’s mindset for the season short and simple, “Our goals are just to keep improving.” This is viable for the Panthers, but it won’t be easy. The SWC is currently a strong football conference, home to Newtown and Weston, two reigning state champions.
The Panthers kick off their 2021 season with three away games, followed by their first home contest on Oct. 1 as they host Daniel Hand, the 2019 Class L Runner Ups, in what is sure to be a great game.