County football teams set to kick off season
Season gets started tonight with rematch versus Oxon Hill
Chopticon head football coach Anthony Lisanti doesn’t sound too concerned when he talks about the senior players that he lost from last season to graduation because he knows he has 15 seniors on this year’s squad ready to take their place on the field for the 2018 campaign.
Lisanti is excited for another year of Chopticon football to begin, which is at 6:30 tonight at home versus Oxon Hill of Prince George’s County, as he again has set his expectations high from the very start of the season.
“We have about 15 seniors returning,” said Lisanti, who is starting his 13th season as head coach and his 30th season with the program. “It’s usually anywhere from 12 to 20. We’ve got a lot of growth remaining to do, but they’re a good group and they work hard. We hope to continue the firm foundation of success that Chopticon has established over the years.”
With such a deep roster, Lisanti has the freedom to move players around and experiement with new lineups.
“We had a few losses from last year unfortunately,” he said. “Nicholas Snyder averaged 16 tackles a game plus he got nine touchdown passes. Vontae Hoffert, Austin Gregory led SMAC in rushing and he was one of the lead rushers in the state. Anthony Hunt at quarterback and Isaiah Smith played corner and wide receiver.”
This year, Lisanti has even more to be excited about.
“We hope to continue
that success from last year,” he said. “Trent Holton is a good athlete that we have at safety and wide receiver. We have a couple big linemen, Andrew Heider, David Morton and Jared Sweitzer. We’re working on developing a few more. A couple of those guys play defense, but they’re more offensive.”
Last year, Chopticon went 8-2 overall in the regular season before losing in the opening round of the Class 3A South Region playoffs to Oxon Hill 28-26.
Chopticon and Oxon Hill faced off twice last year. The first encounter saw the Braves edge Oxon Hill 35-32 in the season opener, but Oxon Hill ended the Chopticon’s season in mid-November.
Tonight the two teams meet again and many of the retuning Braves are excited for this matchup.
“We have some unsettled things that I would like to rectify this year,” said Morton, a senior right tackle. “It feels good. It’s just been working hard all summer, and hopefully it pays off this year. We went 8-2 and then we got kind of snuffed in a playoff game against Oxon Hill on a questionable call at the end. But I think we can make it back thee again this year and do better.”
Other returning players like Heider are also excited to get back into the regular season contests.
“It will be nice playing Oxon Hill again after that loss to them in the play- offs last year,” said Heider, a senior defensive tackle. “The last play they threw it up to the Penn State commit and he caught it and won. They’re like us, they have a lot of size on the line and a lot of skill players, but we should be OK”
He added: “It’s been pretty good. We’re getting there. It took us a little while to get going because we lost a couple people, but everyone is starting to kick into gear now that practice has rolled around. This is the first day and it’s really hot. But it’s been all right so far. Linemen-wise, we’ve just been running drills like correct the lineman.”
Still, with plenty of good competition to look forward to, many seniors like Heider have their own goals for the season.
“My line goal is to get back to a 1,000-yard rusher in the back field again like Austin Gregory did last year,” Heider said.
Chopticon head football coach Anthony Lisanti, who has been in the program for the past 30 years, entering his 13th as head coach, has built a strong foundation for the program. The Braves have gone 8-2 in the regular season each of the last two seasons.
The Chopticon Braves practice drills inside in the gym on a hot day of preseason practice. The team’s first game of the season is tonight against Oxon Hill, who they beat once last season and lost to narrowly in the playoffs.