Leading off today:
The opening line in a New York Daily News high school football story the other day
was a pretty good one:
"Here's something Beach Channel HS football coach Victor Nazario might have in common with Bill Belichick, architect of the New England Patriots dynasty: This season, both will probably be at least a little bit concerned about the condition of the balls their team uses each game."
Nazario's concern is this: His Dolphins have to get by with only two footballs to play with this whole season. That has to get thew through roughly 55 practices, 10 regular-season games and however number of games they play in the postseason.
Look up purchase requisitions at your typical public school district elsewhere and you'll see a lot of instances of varsity teams being allocated 10 to 15 new balls per season, which may sound like a lot until you watch how quickly six of them will get worn down between the start of summer passing camps and the end of preseason practice.
"Last year was a tough year. We were making do with whatever footballs we had," said Nazario, whose 15th season as Beach Channel's coach began Saturday with an 8-0 loss to Harry S Truman. "I don't want to say the outcome of any game was affected, but footballs get old, they get slippery and play can get sloppy."
The PSAL does not supply teams with footballs, and Beach Channel operates on a tight budget, the paper reported.
Last Wednesday, Nazario bought several Nike balls at about $25 apiece, but players quickly found they were slippery in humid conditions. A donation from a former player's father allowed him to go out and buy a pair of $80 Wilson GST balls that should get the job done in games.
The Beach Channel predicament would scarcely merit a mention if not for an item I mentioned in Monday's blog noting that New York City boosted its sports budget by $4 million this year in large part to launch a slew of new teams at under-served schools. What happens two years from now when those new teams have burned through their original allocations of equipment?
Alkins update: Rawle Alkins, who led Christ the King to three straight CHSAA boys basketball championships but has used up his eligibility under league rules, will attend Word of God Academy in Raleigh, N.C., where the likes of John Wall and C.J. Leslie have played recently.
The 6-foot-5 guard, New York's top prospect in the Class of 2016, was out of eligibility in the CHSAA because he played part of a varsity season while in eighth grade in Florida.
"I've picked Word of God simply because of the vibe that I got when I went to go see them," Alkins told SNY.tv. "I feel like we are going to be set for a big year and we can win a championship. I feel like Word of God can do as much for me as I can do for them. I'm not from North Carolina, I'm just gonna get it done there."
Part of his school year will be consumed by picking a college. Arizona, Indiana and Kentucky are among the schools on his list of 11 Division I contenders.
For what it's worth, the private Word of God Academy was exiled from the North Carolina Independent Schools Athletic Association last year for violations of "athletic recruitment" committed by a different coaching staff.
Milestone: Dale MacArthur recorded his 400th victory with the Allegany-Limestone girls soccer program Tuesday with a 3-2 win over Ellicottville. Hallie Domes scored with 6:53 left in the second half for the win.