There are no excuses for the Leaside High School Lancers this football season.
The senior boys high school team finished first in the Tier 1 south division last season with a perfect 4-0 record and went on to the city championship, but the Lancers fell to the Richview Collegiate Saints, 16-14.
Defensive co-ordinator Csaba Vegh has coached at Leaside for over 20 years and doesn’t intend to drastically change his game plan, but said he’ll continue to improve just like he expects from his players.
“If I make a mistake, I’ll own up to it and correct it,” Vegh told the Toronto Observer. “If I see someone making a mistake on the field, I’m going to coach it and give a coaching approach to it and hopefully that mistake doesn’t happen again.
“Every year is different and if you stop learning as a coach, give it up.”
Giacomello takes the reigns
Dan Giacomello is in his fourth year at Leaside but his first as the team’s starting quarterback. Giacomello served as backup on the senior team last year and is looking forward to guiding the team and helping the Lancers improve.
“I think we have to work on fundamentals as a team,” Giacomello said. “As long as everyone stays healthy, we should do fine. I’m very excited for this year.”
Giacomello agrees Vegh’s tough but fair coaching style makes the Lancers a better team in the end.
“Csaba jokes every now and then but I think he does demand discipline,” Giacomello said. “Discipline is key for our team.”
Vegh had nothing but praise for Giacomello, who he also coached over the summer with the Metro Toronto Wildcats of the Ontario Varsity Football League.
“He’s got a great arm on him and a great head on his shoulders,” Vegh said. “I think he’s going to be a very positive aspect to our offence this year.”
Vegh also attended Leaside High School and knows what players like Giacomello are experiencing. The tight-knit communal aspect of Leaside is another reason Vegh believes the team bonds together.
“The best way I can describe it realistically is there’s no community like it in the city of Toronto,” Vegh said. “It’s like living in a small town in the middle of a big city.”
Not only are the Lancers looking to return to the city championship, they have the ultimate prize on their minds too: the Metro Bowl championship. At the local level, they’re also looking to renew their rivalry with East York Collegiate.
“Being a good old Leaside boy, it’s always great,” Vegh said. “There’s nothing better than to beat East York and I’m sure they will say the same thing about us.”