Cobras Uncoil

Sept 1-7. 2005
VOL 124 NO. 29
Cobras Uncoil
By Luke Eggleston/ SUN staff writer
SUN photo(s) Paul Finch
Bishop Grimes will look to emerge as a Class C West contender this season

In the preseason, Bishop Grimes varsity football coach Brad Keysor was still uncertain regarding what to expect from a group of players he is still getting to know.

Keysor has found success coaching at all levels of football, however, and he seems to be adapting quickly to the new environment he is immersing himself in.

A graduate of East Syracuse-Minoa, Keysor walked on at Syracuse University as a wide receiver and learned his trade at the feet of such coaches as Paul Pasqualoni, George DeLeone and Kevin Rodgers. After college, he took on a coaching position in Allentown, N.J., and improved a program that had won 30 games in as many years. During his first season at the helm, the team went 3-5. The following season it went 6-4.

“We turned them around pretty quickly and they’ve done well ever since,” Keysor said.

Improvement is just what Bishop Grimes needs.

After going 1-7 last season, the Cobras are yearning for a successful campaign. Keysor’s predecessor Mike Libertone had confidence in an emerging group of underclassmen last year, so this season could prod the program toward respectability.

“As far as expectations go, we don’t really have any. We just want to improve over 1-7. That’s our main goal at the moment,” Keysor said.

While Grimes may lack unusual size along the front lines, Keysor believes that his players’ considerable quickness and athletic ability should more than make up for that.

“We have a lot of good-sized kids, but I wouldn’t say we have a lot of huge kids. We have a good mixture of speed and athletic ability, which I think is what matters most on a football field,” the coach said.

In a field of variables, the constants are quarterback Casey Keough and guards Chris and Dan Johnston.

A veteran quarterback, Keough will likely be the focal point of the Cobras’ offense.

One of Keysor’s first alterations was installing the wing-T offense which so many smaller schools have found success with. As a player at ES-M, Keysor grates when recalling the effectiveness of the deceptive offense when wielded by Class A powers Fulton and Whitesboro.

Though undersized, the Johnston twins possess the quickness and athleticism necessary for pulling guards in a wing-T offense.

“They’re very athletic guards,” Keysor said.

Five-foot-10 fullback Max Leo will also provide a punishing presence for the Cobras’ running game.

On defense, Keysor plans to deploy multiple, varying looks ranging from a 4-3 to a 6-2 depending on the situation.

Overall, the Cobras should be able to draw from a solid senior class this season, but Keysor is still uncertain where the team’s strengths would emerge.

“I think I have an outstanding senior class, but only time is going to tell,” the coach said, adding that he hopes solid underclassmen will help build the program in years to come. “We expect a lot from the seniors, but we have a good core group of sophomores and juniors that is going to have to add to the skill positions and help us continue to build in the direction that we want to go.”

The Class C West Division bellwethers should be defending champion Canastota and an emerging Hannibal team.

Grimes opens with Hannibal Friday, Sept. 3 on the Warriors’ home field.

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