The Half Hollow Hills High School East football team kicked off the pre-season with its first-ever golf outing fundraiser. The event is one of many fresh starts for the Thunderbirds, who also have new coaches, equipment and talent; a combination the school is hoping will create a winning year.
the biggest change for the team is its staff. Long-time coach Kevin Hill stepped down this year and Michael Patrovich was brought on to head varsity. Jeff Dimoulas will be coaching the junior varsity team.
If there's one thing the football team has above anyone else, it's dedication. The players have been working hard in the gym and on the field in the summer heat in order to turn around the 0-7 season they saw last year.
"I've never won a game in high school. I don't know what a win feels like," Elijah Brown, a senior on the varsity team said. "It would mean everything to me."
To make a win happen for the players, the entire school community is stepping up to improve the athletic program.
Rallying behind the players are parents such as John Albanese who organized the golf tournament, administrators who worked to get the team new field equipment and the coaching staff, which is prepping the players for their first game. Even Principle Jeffery Woodberry is out on the field training with the team.
"These guys are sweating their guts off in the gym in this 100-degree weather," Patrovich said. "We are very, very prepared at this point in my eyes going into the season when we verse Copiague under the lights. The kids are just drooling to get out there."
"Seeing all of the parents and staff here is a testament to where this program is going," he added.
Hills East will play their first game of the season at Copiague on Sept. 9 at 7 p.m.