WHITE PLAINS, N.Y – The Archbishop Stepinac football team will spend the next few weeks moving from venue to venue while a new turf field is installed at the school’s campus, so Purchase College was home field for the traveling Crusaders Monday.
“The excitement of what has happened with the team the last few years and the new field has helped bring out the numbers,” said Crusaders coach Mike O'Donnell. “Moving around by bus, we’re losing about 20 minutes of practice a day with travel time, which we’re not used to. But people (like Purchase) have been very helpful giving us practice time.”
The Crusaders, who were a perfect 12-0 last season en route to the Catholic High Schools Class AA championship, will use several practice fields this summer and play the first four games of the regular season on the road. Their first “home” game will be played at nearby White Plains High School if the new field is not ready.
“We expect the field to be ready by the middle of October,” O'Donnell said. “It’s going to be awesome – all sprint turf – the baseball field will be all new too.”
O'Donnell said roster numbers are up to a high of 50 varsity players and another 50 on the junior varsity, hailing from Tarrytown, Yonkers, Ossining, Greenburgh and a number of other Westchester towns. Senior Austin Taps said the bus trips to practice have not been a problem.
“We’ve been working hard all summer in the weight room,” Taps said. “We’ve had defensive line and skills, catching passes, technique work, so it’s pretty much putting it all together now – coming together as a team. And spending 11 hours together helps.”
Matt Schumacher, a junior, said summer sessions are getting easier to handle.
“First day is a little tough, but after that you get used to it easier,” Shumacher said. ‘We’re looking forward to the new field that should be really great.”