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First day of practice: Sweet Home

Mike Torrillo’s size 12 spikes have some pretty big shoes to fill.

The lanky Sweet Home senior is the heir apparent to quarterback Jordan Johnson, who put up tremendous numbers while leading the Panthers to their fifth consecutive Section VI Class A title. Johnson rushed for 1,365 yards, passed for an additional 830 and was named All-WNY. Johnson makes his home now at UB, where he was signed to a scholarship.

Last season Torrillo played some QB out of the double-wing formation. He also lined up at wide receiver for the last five games and punted and kicked.

This season the Sweet Home QB position, and the off-the-chart expectations that go with it, are his.

“It’s going to be tough. Jordan was around for the last three years on varsity,” Torrillo said before the start of Monday’s practice. “I feel I’m ready. I’ve watched him. I’m not quite the same athlete he is. I’ll try to make up for it through my arm. We’ll see how it goes. I’m excited.”

Torrillo worked this offseason with the school’s fitness instructor Joel Patrick. He attended some local camps and has been throwing twice a week with his receivers.

He will run mostly out of the spread looking for wideouts Mike McCoy, Carter Mann, Anthony Martin, Brad Zaffram and Ethan Reger.

* * *

Coaching football never get old, even if you’re one of the longest tenured coaches in Section VI.

John Faller, who has 179 wins and two state titles in his 26 seasons at Sweet Home, welcomed the new season on Monday.

“I don’t think the excitement ever ends because I’ve got a new bunch of kids. They’ve kind of caught onto the program as the years have gone by, but now it’s their turn on the varsity,” Faller said while his team was stretching.

“It’s a new group of seniors. This is their year to find out what their legacy is going to be. They’re carrying a bull's-eye for the last five years, we’ll see if these juniors and seniors can do it.”

---Mary Jo Monnin


Football | Sweet Home
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About Prep Talk

Keith McShea

Keith McShea

Keith McShea has covered high school sports at The News since his hiring in 1999. The 1995 University at Buffalo graduate and Long Island native (North Babylon Bulldogs) covers — and live blogs — everything from scrimmages to state championships & helps head The News' All-Western New York selections.

@KeithMcSheaBN |