The Toll Gate football team sits at 0-2 so far this fall but has been encouraged by the progress made since last season. Shortly before kickoff in 2022, the Titans hired a new coaching staff led by …
The Toll Gate football team sits at 0-2 so far this fall but has been encouraged by the progress made since last season.
Shortly before kickoff in 2022, the Titans hired a new coaching staff led by longtime coaching veteran Jim Miceli. It was a tough season as the Titans went winless as they tried to transition to the new regime.
Things have been different in 2023, though, as the team has welcomed a mix of returners and newcomers and was able to practice early and often. Although Toll Gate is still seeking its first win, Miceli and his staff have been pleased with the greater efficiency from top to bottom.
“This year we were able to get off to an earlier start, our kids had some opportunities and we played in the East Greenwich passing league which was great. It made our kids a lot better,” said Miceli.
The Titans fell to Coventry on opening night and dropped a tough decision to North Smithfield/Mount St. Charles last week.
The Oakers rolled to a lopsided win on opening night, but things were tighter in week 2 as the Titans trailed by just seven points in the fourth quarter.
Penalties cost the Titans opportunities to get back into it as the Northmen rolled to a big final quarter to run away with the victory.
“It’s the little things. We had an offsides foul in the fourth, a personal foul that kept a drive alive for them. In close situations they scored points. It’s those little things that when you’re trying to learn how to win close games, you can’t do. Those are the things we have to move past,” said Miceli.
After spending last season splitting reps at quarterback, Kason Wirtz was moved to defense full time and has been a tone setter on that side of the ball.
“His value on defense is tremendous, not only for his play on the field but his leadership,” said Miceli.
The Titans also have enjoyed a sturdy, experienced offensive line with players including Jonah Townsend, Nathan Gamba-Masse and Devin Manzo. Jack Colvin and Jayden Pina have been under center for the Titans, while track athlete Mason Tanner has been breaking out as the team’s running back and return specialist. Tanner has accounted for the team’s two touchdowns, rushing for a score against Coventry then returning a kickoff the distance against North Smithfield.
Division III will continue to be a battle for the rebuilding unit, but Miceli and his staff believe that the Titans will have a chance to compete and find the win column by year’s end.
“We’re lightyears from where we were in 2022. I’m hoping that we can win a few games this year,” said Miceli.