Garden City football is synonymous with winning and Coach Tom Flatley has been the backbone of Garden City football for the past 27 years.
As coach of the Trojans, Flatley has complied an impressive 235-39-7 record, just two wins shy of the legendary former Farmingdale coach Don Snyder. With eight undefeated seasons, 15 Nassau County championships and four Long Island championships, Flatley and his coaching staff have always found a way to motivate their team to the highest level possible.
This year looks to be a challenge that Flatley hasn’t faced in quite some time. After graduating many talented players, including record setter Mark Ellis, outstanding lineman Mike Gilbert and phenomenal kicker Ryan Norton, the Trojans will look to reload at the skill positions and hope that they can find the right mix of size and speed to rebuild both the offensive and defensive lines.
As Flatley pointedly said, "We have a lot of work to do to get this team anywhere near the level of the last few years. We’ve got a group that is small and needs to learn a lot about playing at this level."
The team will be led by a group of veteran captains that will look to stabilize both the offensive and defensive side of the ball. Junior Brett Stewart, along with seniors Ed Blatz, Scott D’Antonio, Matt Schmelzinger and Matt Leto, will provide the leadership and fire that will be needed to keep Garden City where they are accustomed in the standings.
Flatley is hopeful that the combination of Stewart to Blatz in the spread passing game will open up the running lanes for D’Antonio and Leto. Although he cautions, "opposing teams will be all over Blatz" as he is coming off a very good junior year with several amazing catches down field. The plan will be to get quick looks in the flat or over the middle to keep opposing defenses off balance.
Defensively, Schmelzinger will anchor the middle of the line and D'Antonio the linebackers. Both will need help from any number of a developing front seven that assistant Coaches Finnell, Ettinger and Defliese have been hard at work with throughout the summer camp and training sessions. The defensive backfield will be led by Leto, Brian Badgett and Justin Guterding.
Garden City is currently ranked at the top of the preseason polls in Nassau County but will have their work cut out for them this year. Two of the tougher games will come at the end of the season against top challenger Wantagh and a McArthur team that moved down from Conference I this year.
The season gets underway with a home game on Saturday at 1:30 p.m. against New Hyde Park (NHP) Memorial. The Trojans have had much success against NHP as Garden City is 11-1 all-time since losing their first meeting in 1995. Last year Garden City dominated the game with a 51-0 thrashing of NHP as they pounded the ball on the ground for more than 350 yards.