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Irvington Ready for New Football Season

IRVINGTON, N.Y. -- Chris DiNardo tossed and turned Thursday night, trying to get some sleep. The Irvington senior kept watching the minutes and hours tick by as his excitement for the first day of Friday's varsity football practice kept him wide-eyed.

When he finally got to sleep, at 5:30 a.m., DiNardo arose to get to practice. However tired he may have been was quickly forgotten when he arrived at school.

“When I saw my teammates, I was energized,” said the Irvington two-way lineman. “Everyone was extremely pumped up and ready to go.”

Irvington opened practice with Mike Oliva, new coach and new father, who had a sleepless night himself.

“My wife was not feeling well so I up with my son, Christopher Michael, feeding him at 4 a.m. and then at 7,” said the 1994 Iona Prep graduate. “Even if my wife was feeling well, I probably wouldn’t have slept at all.”

Oliva, who ran a high-scoring offense at Iona Prep during his days, welcomed 27 players to varsity. He was pleased with that number.

“When I was at Clarkstown South, we had 35 guys and by the end of the year we were down to 28-29,” Oliva said. “Clarkstown South is a Class AA school and we are a B school so the numbers are good.”

When the players reported Friday morning, Oliva noticed something immediately.

“I could see the hunger in their eyes,” Oliva said. “They were ready to go and they were excited. As we were walking up to the practice field in two lines, it felt like we were getting ready to play our first game, against Briarcliff.”

Even though it was their first day with Oliva, DiNardo and his teammates worked out all summer, learning the new offensive and defensive systems.

“That allowed us to ease right into it,” said DiNardo, the 2011 Section 1 Division II 285-pound wrestling champion. “Coach knew what he wanted to get done and we did it. Going to the summer clinics helped us because we didn’t have to learn everything from scratch. I am looking forward to learning the Wing-T.”

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