NEW ROCHELLE, N.Y. Monroe Mustangs linebacker Ruben Demosthene cant wait to get the season started.
Demosthene is one of more than 100 freshmen on Monroes roster for the teams inaugural season, which starts Sunday, Sept. 2. The coaching staff will make cuts before then, but Demosthene and his teammates finished their first official week of practice as a group on Friday.
It feels like a month already, Demosthene said. It feels amazing to put the pads back on, I can tell you that.
Demosthene graduated from Clarkstown South High School in Rockland County last year. Now he has a chance to help build a program from scratch. The Mustangs have players from as close as New Rochelle and as far away as Florida and Texas, but the group has already come together.
Its only been a week and were already like family, Demosthene said.
The program and the players are young, but Demosthene was as optimistic as could be when asked what the most difficult challenge will be in the upcoming season.
Actually, I cant think of anything, he said. We have each and every single piece. Each person on the team brings a different piece to the team. So the most well have to worry about is team chemistry since its our first year, but I feel well be okay with that.
Demosthene said he is excited to have a team so close to home because his family and friends will be able to watch him play in many of his games.
And there is another benefit to playing for a first-year program.
I can set my own records since its a brand new team, Demosthene said.
The 6-foot-1-inch, 215-pound linebacker is part of a roster composed of approximately 98 percent freshmen. But Demosthene has enjoyed the lack of veteran leadership on the team because, he says, it makes the players better.
Most importantly, it brings competition to the table, he said. Everybody wants to start. Everybody wants to have these coaches remember their faces, remember their names. Its great because the more competitive you are, the more of the leader in you can come out.
Monroe opens its season at Wagner College at 1 p.m. Sept. 2, but the Mustangs will play a scrimmage against Valley Forge Military Academy at noon Saturday, Aug. 25.
And Demosthene, who until Friday had not put pads on since November, cant wait.
I just want to hit somebody, to be honest, Demosthene said. Ive been waiting for this all summer.
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