Wide receiver has been a position of great strength for Greenwich’s football team for numerous seasons and its receiving corps should pose pose plenty of problems for the opposition once again, this fall.
“With the weapons that we have, the offense should be very explosive,” Greenwich coach Anthony Morello said, while he watched his team compete in the Grip It and Rip It 7-on-7 passing tournament at New Canaan High School on Friday.
Among the Cardinals list of players to watch on offense are receivers Chason Barber, Zach Mantione and Tyler Cusimano, all of whom are incoming seniors.
“They are huge weapons,” Morello said of the trio. “They know the playbook inside and out. They can line up at every wide receiver position and they know the correct routes to run. They are the guys that stay after practice every day and catch balls with the jugs machine. They spend extra time with coaches through Zoom and they have been a spark. The senior leadership we have at that position is one we don’t have at a lot of other places.”
Barber, the son of former New York Giants running back Tiki Barber, is seeking a breakout senior season. The 6-foot-4 Barber, whose older brother A.J. will soon be playing football at Princeton University, is primed to help ignite Greenwich’s offense.
“The group we learned from, last year’s seniors, they all went on to play college football, so working with them, we have a lot of knowledge, even though we haven’t seen the field much because of COVID last year,” Barber said. “We have good knowledge of the game because of them. My brother, Kobe Comizio and Mason Muir (all 2021 Greenwich graduates) they all helped us out a lot. We are all ready to get out there.”
Barber recently announced on Twitter that he received his first Division I offer from the University of Pennsylvania.
“I’m getting recruited by colleges and it’s going well,” Barber said. “The process has been harder than it should have been, because we only had 7-on-7s last year.”
Mantione, who like Barber, was on the Cardinals’ varsity team as a sophomore in 2019, is looking forward to the 2021 season, especially after the 2020 season didn’t take place.
“It’s the best thing in the world,” Mantione said. “It was so tough missing a season. It’s really difficult as a player, especially for those looking to play in college. Missing your junior year is difficult. But it makes me all the more excited to get back out here.”
Juniors Holden Brown and Jack Wilson are vying for the starting quarterback role and the team has confidence in both players’ abilities.
“Both of them are talented, they both would be excellent starters in our system and I’m really proud of what both of them have accomplished so far and the work they have put in,” Mantione said of Wilson and Brown.
Mantione is among a group of Greenwich receivers that are playing in the Grip It and Rip It 7-on-7 passing tournament at New Canaan High School.
“We have done a lot of field work, we’ve been throwing a lot with the quarterbacks, receivers and defensive backs to get the timing down and it really shows out here,” said Mantione who will serve as one of the Cards’ 2021 captains. “We have a deep receiving corps, we take a lot of pride in our receiving corps at Greenwich. The older guys help out the younger guys and it feels like a family.”
Cusimano should also help the Cardinals stretch the opposition’s defense with his speed at the receiver position.
“We have a lot of guys with size, speed and shiftiness,” Cusimano said. “We also have good quarterbacks throwing to us, so we have the whole package. They are great kids and quarterbacks, they have bright futures and it’s going to be a great season with them.”
Morello believes Greenwich will have a versatile, multi-faced offense this fall.
“We want to be multi-tempo,” he said. “There will be opportunities during games where we need to move fast and be high tempo and there will also be times where we want to slow things down. For us, we don’t want to go 110 percent speed all the time. There are different ways to be successful on offense and changing the pace can be one of those ways.”
Greenwich opens its season against FCIAC foe Westhill.
“I’m lucky to have my senior season and I’m not looking to waste it,” Cusimano said. “I want a championship. I remember watching my brother and his friends and their team get a championship, so I’m trying to do the same.”