*2015 Shore Conference Preview Homepage*

Growing pains are how we learn and get better in what we do in life.

This is something the Donovan Catholic Griffins matured through last year and get better with one day at a time according to Coach Dan Duddy, who is celebrating his 10th year with the team.

“The first thing we need to do is leave that behind us and pull down the curtain,” said Duddy. “Then come out believing that we can compete and have a right to be on the field and a right to have success, but none of that happens without hard work.”

With his players bearing a chip on their shoulders, they hit the weight room this winter with an attitude to do what it takes to not only win games but also reach their full potential.

The Griffins offense averaged 12.5 points per game and 125 points scored all year while the defense allowed 32.4 points per game and 324 overall finishing 0-10 (0-7) in the Class B South Division. The expectations for this year are about getting better and quenching a thirst for victory.

“We have a lot of experience coming back and that’s going to help us a lot this season,” said senior running back David Calderon “We’re just trying to gel and work together as a team so that when we go out for our first game everything will be good.”

“We just have to pick it up this year,” said senior wide receiver Dezmund Hunter. “I feel like were getting along together as a team more.”

The Griffins will count on the experience gained last season to boost the younger players who are now the leaders with seven players returning on offense and eight on the 4-3 base defense.

It won’t be as easy as the flip of a switch and it may not need to as Coach Duddy feels his team is that close to making things happen this season.

“We were in a lot of games last year more than the score indicates,” said Duddy. “We were at the cusp of flipping the momentum a number of times and we shot ourselves in the foot either over a turnover or a 15-yard penalty, a block in the back, or a clip when the ball was crossing the goal line and the kids knew that the season really was in the palm of their hands last year.”

In order for the Griffins to fight through a tough schedule they will need to be consistent between the hash marks.

The versatility the team has this year with players who can play multiple positions is beneficial to a team with potential to make things happen and the leadership to carry them forward.

“I think Teddy (Golubowski) has really stepped up as one of our leaders, David Calderon is a great leader, and they lead by example,” said Duddy. “They understand that the most respected leader is the one that serves the group. So they’re gaining their respect by service.”

“We had a younger team last year,” said senior quarterback Teddy Golubowski. “We should be a pretty good team this year and there’s a lot of chemistry putting it all together.”

Photo by Vin Ebenau

When putting together his depth chart for the season ahead, Duddy loves the idea of having multiple versatile players with speed.

“David is a game changer, Alex Rosario is a fast kid playing slot and wide receiver, Dezmund is a kid playing a lot of positions,” said Duddy. “Kyle Schremmer is the first tight end we’ve had in a long time, Dillon Paprota is the only senior that’s starting on the offensive line and is a great long snapper. Our kick game has been very good the last couple years with Giancarlo Stigliano.”

The 5’9 Calderon is a playmaker for a Griffins team with a mixture of guys who can help score points this year, but is also a leader who lives by the example he sets for his teammates.

“I want to win some games this year,” said Calderon. “I just want to make sure I’m finding the holes on offense and making big plays on defense. Whatever helps the team is what I’m going to do.”

The chip on the teams shoulder from last season has motivated them to compete at a higher level striving to be like the 2012 team the won the B South Division.

This team looks forward to a season where they have been given an opportunity to build expectations with pride to achieve their goals.

“Take care of now and don’t look past the moment,” said Duddy. “I take it one day at a time. As of today we’re where we need to be. If that’s not good enough than so be it, but I feel were in a pretty good place right now.”

Photo by Vin Ebenau

BIG SHOES TO FILL: Dillon Paprota, SR. OL

Dillon returns to a line, where he will take the impactful void of Ny’eem Calhoun who graduated last year being named to the All-Division Team in 2014. If Dillon plays up to potential, he could be a big part of the offensive line’s pass protection.

X-FACTOR: Offensive Line

The Griffins have a group of skilled receivers and slot backs so the passing game will need protection to help score points. The offensive line needs to give quarterback Teddy Golubowski enough time in the pocket to spread the field.

GLUE GUY: David Calderon, SR. RB/DB

Calderon is a quiet leader who leads by example the hungriness for a winning season. He is a key and impactful returner from last season with a lot of potential for a great season.

IMPACT NEWCOMER: Kyle Schremmer SR. TE

Schremmer will be a vital weapon for an offense that averaged only 12.5 points per game last season as the teams first tight end in years. He will also play an important role in pass protection and the receiving game.

PIVOTAL GAME: Sep. 11 at Toms River South

This matchup is important if the Griffins plan to make the playoffs. Winning against the Indians will of course bring them bragging rights, but bigger goals loom.