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The Tigers' Road to 'Cuse

By Jonathan Fortes

-- Coming off a 1-8 season you wouldn’t expect a team to be red hot out of the gate, but that's what happened this past fall. White Plains Tiger football is on the rise whether you like it or not! The team all got together after the last game of a non-stellar season and told each other, “We’re not having this type of season next year.” The team planned out what was needed to be successful and then executed it. Coach Lindberg told all of us that we were going to have to recruit people from the hallways to play football; a lot of people ended up wanting to play. The weight room was also a great meeting ground for our team. Once the workouts started, the attendance was amazing with 30-40 people training every day.

Getting closer to the season, the team was hanging out and becoming a real family. Also, whoever wanted to be a captain/leader on the team got to go to meetings once a week during lunch with Coach Lindberg on how to be a better leader on and off the field. White Plains also received two huge transfers, Josiah Harris from Ossining and Otis Allen from Stepinac. Both Allen and Harris were huge impact players to the team, making big time plays and being great leaders. Of course, when honoring our seniors we had, Marcus Andre, Zyon Poteat, Taj Johnson, Jason Crilley, and Terrell McIver who all had amazing years for the Tigers.

During spring ball (7 on 7 football with no pads) the Tigers really started meshing together as a team and knowing each player’s role and their ultimate value on the team. Everyone on the team was excited for the endless possibilities ahead for the upcoming season. All we needed to do now was get the school behind us! We needed the student body support.

A key part of a team’s success is the support system surrounding them. We needed the community to once again see us as worthy to wear the orange and black with pride, as we represent them on the field. With our first game being away there was definitely pressure on starting the season off the way we wanted to. Beating Poughkeepsie was an opportunity for us to make a name for ourselves, and we couldn’t just win, we had to win BIG! After the victory, a lot of fans started believing in us, and the season we trained hard for was becoming a reality.

To increase the energy of the season, fellow athlete and great video maker, Mike Hunter created amazing videos reflecting each game. The success of the first game carried us through the rest of the season. Despite the ups and downs, the Tigers finished the season 6-3 and made the playoffs!

The success is not going to stop after this season. For next season, the Tigers will have 6 returning starters: Ashlen Chevalier, Johnny Pasqualini, Jonathan Fortes, Caleb Gillen, Saheed Baize, Christion Young, and newly transferred Ben Finkel, from Greenwich who was injured the majority of the 2018 season. The Tigers also had a very talented JV team, many of whom will be moved up to varsity next year. We are going to need the same atmosphere as this year to have another successful and even better experience under the lights and on the road to Syracuse!

Photo credit: Frank Becerra @lohud
Josiah Harris snares winning touchdown vs Saunders.

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