Leto has one of the smaller roster sizes in the county. Third-year head coach Matt Kitchie said he has about 25 players out for the team so far. In the past, this meant if a player got injured, there might not have been a player to replace him.
This year, Kitchie is trying something new. In an effort to improve depth and competition, Kitchie is requiring every player to play both offense and defense.
“I had to rethink what we were doing. I believe in training a kid to do what he does best,” Kitchie said. “This year we are cross training kids. Every kid has an offense position and defensive position. Out of necessity we have to cross train kids. We have created competition and the competition factor of it has helped push our players.”
Senior Damian Diaz has been a linebacker in the past, but this year he is learning wide receiver. He said it hasn’t been too bad trying to learn a brand new position.
“It is very easy with a good coach,” Diaz said. “You learn really quick.”
While Leto might not have as many different plays to run as some other teams, Kitchie said his team is trying to focus on some key ones and use them in different situations.
“We will have multiple formations. Something that makes the other team uncomfortable,” Kitchie said. “We are getting good at a few things and doing them out of different formations.”
Some teams might rely on a star player or two to lead them. Kitchie said the Falcons aren’t looking to rely on just one player, but instead to get every individual player to do their part.
“We don’t have that guy (that we will rely on). We have a bunch of kids playing together,” Kitchie said. “It is a collective effort.”
One of the advantages of a smaller roster is that everyone on the team gets to know each other well. Diaz said it is a family-like atmosphere.
“We are such a tight-knit group. We tell each other what we think will help each other out,” senior Damian Diaz said. “We are always hanging out with each other outside of football.”
Change the culture
The reality is Leto has not won a game on the field since 2009 (they have been awarded victories after the fact due to forfeits). So while some teams have their sights set on a district title, or even a state title, all Leto is looking for in one win.
“(One win) would change the culture at Leto. It would change everyone’s mindset,” Diaz said. “If we could get that one win it would change the whole school. It would let me know we can do it. We can win games too.”
While Leto is in the so called “District Of Death” with Armwood, Hillsborough, Jefferson and Robinson, they do have some winnable games on their schedule. Even after years of losing, Kitchie said he hasn’t seen any quit in his team.
“They continue to come every day. They want to turn Leto around,” Kitchie said. “I think we are close. The kids are believing in us.”
Sept. 6: Chamberlain
Sept. 12: at Blake
Sept. 20: Hillsborough
Sept. 27: at Robinson
Oct. 4: Jefferson
Oct. 11: at Armwood
Oct. 18: Middleton
Oct. 25: Lennard
Nov. 1: at King
Nov. 8: at Spoto
No. Name Pos. Ht. Wt. Yr.
1 Alex Burgos TE 5-11 175 Jr.
2 Isiaiah Dorsey WR 6-1 170 Jr.
4 Justin Pimentel ATH 5-10 145 Jr.
8 Juan Garcia DB 5-8 135 Sr.
10 Eddie Gonzalez K/DB 5-9 155 Sr.
11 Shawn Gilmore WR 5-8 150 Jr.
12 Vinny LaRosa QB 6-1 145 Jr.
15 Josh Dupree OLB 6-2 205 Jr.
21 Damian Diaz OLB/WR 5-10 185 Sr.
25 Alik Berry DB 5-8 155 So.
28 Jose Arzeno DB 6-0 155 So.
35 Denver James DE/CB 5-11 145 So.
40 Jacques Reese-Bolden OLB/RB 5-8 155 So.
44 Adrian Matos FB/TE 5-10 205 Jr.
51 Isiah O’Larte DL 5-7 150 So.
52 Angel Cruz OLB 5-10 200 Sr.
53 Alberto Garcia DL/OT 5-10 225 Sr.
54 Austin Grivna T/OLB 6-0 185 Jr.
56 Jeremiah Fuentes DL/OG 5-10 200 So.
57 Jonathan Lacagnina DE/OT 5-9 220 Jr.
59 Jamauri Tramel OL/DL 5-8 220 Jr.
60 Carlos Arrindell C/DT 5-8 245 Sr.
81 Myran Austin WR 6-3 185 Jr.