Sixth graders Ginger Defino and Mitchell Hart shared in the glory of victory as teammates on the 2014 Mustang Bowl Champion, Patriots. They hoisted the
Patriots captain RJ Paff approaches the line to practice a play.
prized Green Apples Cup in triumph and experienced the joy of success together. On October 14, however, they will be on opposite sidelines battling for the same prize.
As determined by members of the Grant D. Morse staff, Defino and Hart had been nominated to act as the coaches for this year’s Mustang Bowl (XII). They were selected based upon their respective abilities to lead, to make decisions and respect among their classmates. Ginger Defino will be coaching the Mustangs, who have lost five of the past six Mustang Bowls. Mitchell Hart will be the coach of the defending champions. “It’s an honor,” he said. “It feels good to be picked by my teachers.”
“It’s going to be fun,” said Defino, “but it’s going to be a challenge.” She indicated there were a few changes in the roster to accommodate Mitch’s move to the rival team. “It is kind of weird to lose him, but we have gained Marciano Neglia,” she added. Ginger quickly named Marciano as her assistant coach. Marciano has played for many years in the Saugerties Youth Football League and will help Ginger with setting up a game plan.
Coach Mitchell Hart addressees his Patriots after a tough practice.
Rounding out the coaching staff for the Mustangs are captains Madilyn Dodig, Isaiah Snyder, Jared McCaig, Heidi Mulford and Caroline Johansen. The process of selecting captains and putting players into positions has not been easy. Ginger has found the position places strains on relationships in school and she does not want to hurt anyone’s feelings, but wants to ensure everyone is put I a position which would help the team. “It is stressful,” said Ginger. “I have to keep up with all of my team to see if they are in a position that they are best at.”
Ginger is relying on Marciano and the captains to help with the management of the team. “I hope my captains will help me with offensive and defensive strategies.”
Hart meanwhile will be joining Jack Quinlan, Madilin Green and RJ Paff who have plenty of athletic ability to share. “I think the teams are pretty fair,” he said. “I think it is going to be a good game.”
The captains are also helping Mitchell with the Patriot game plan. “My captains have been looking at the players and they have helped me find positions for them. They have been a big help.”
As of now, both coaches are looking for a positive experience for their teams. “I hope my team plays fair and as hard as they can. I hope they all have fun,” said Defino. “I just want everyone to have a good experience,” added Hart. “I‘d like the fifth graders to have fun and want to do it again next year.”
Ginger agreed, “I hope the fifth graders want to play next year and the sixth graders say it was a great ending to their Mustang Bowl experience.”
Mustang Bowl XII is set for Wednesday, October 14 at the Grant D. Morse School. Festivities begin at 1:30 PM. This event is open to the general public.