Tigers hold Alumni Day

Former Tiger quarterback Andrew Benkwitt runs in for a score on Aug. 2. Benkwitt was one of many recent graduates who turned up for the Tigers’ Alumni Day.

Former Tiger quarterback Andrew Benkwitt runs in for a score on Aug. 2. Benkwitt was one of many recent graduates who turned up for the Tigers’ Alumni Day.

By MIKE SMITH
On Aug. 2, scores of former Mamaroneck football players took the field to relive their glory days as the Tigers held their fourth-annual Alumi Day at Mamaroneck High School.

Teams comprised of former varsity lettermen competed in a round robin-style touch football competition pitting recent graduates and players from the 1980s and 90’s against one another.

Roughly 75 alumni were on hand, either to play to cheer on their classmates.

According to head coach Anthony Vitti, the Alumni Day helps to keep the tradition of Mamaroneck football alive, giving graduates from different eras a chance to connect on the gridiron.

“This has always been something I’ve believed in,” Vitti said. “As a former player myself, I know that this is very special to them and guys love to come back and do this.”

Although the competition is fierce, Vitti said the idea of togetherness is the central theme of the event.

“The football program should be part of the community,” he said. “The guys come, they get to embellish some of their war stories; it’s great for the kids who are the future of this program to learn a little bit
about its past.”

Vitti said tracking down former players isn’t as hard as it would have been a few years ago.

“We don’t sit down and have some big letter writing campaign,” Vitti said. “Social media helps a lot, and we really rely on word of mouth to get the word out.”

James Comblo makes a move on a defender on Aug. 2.

James Comblo makes a move on a defender on Aug. 2.

The Mamaroneck Tigers will continue to build up their presence in the community during the regular season. During the year, Vitti said, the team will help out at soup kitchens and also raise money for the Wounded Warriors Project during 12th Man Week, which celebrates the 12 Mamaroneck football players who lost their lives while serving during the Vietnam War.

A Tiger grad makes an interception during the Aug. 2 Alumni Day at Mamaroneck High School. Mamaroneck coach Anthony Vitti said roughly 75 alumni were in attendance.

A Tiger grad makes an interception during the Aug. 2 Alumni Day at Mamaroneck High School. Mamaroneck coach Anthony Vitti said roughly 75 alumni were in attendance.

“We feel that’s really great for the kids, to honor these guys, some of whom were just 18 years old, just a whisker away from where these guys will be,” Vitti said.

Vitti hopes that projects like 12th Man Week–and the recent Alumni Day–will not only serve to strengthen the bonds of Tiger football, but also help his current crop of players take stock in what it means to don the orange and black.

Former Tiger wideout Will Giddon makes a grab in the endzone. Photos/Bobby Begun

Former Tiger wideout Will Giddon makes a grab in the endzone. Photos/Bobby Begun

“The message that they get from these guys is that it’s a short, precious time they have here,” Vitti said. “They should embrace it and love it, and I think it rings true to them.”

CONTACT: sports@hometwn.com

 
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About Mike Smith

Mike Smith has been with Hometown Media Group since 2007, serving as the company’s Sports Editor. Mike has been commended for his work by the New York Press Association, winning awards in 2008 for “Best Sports Feature” and again in 2009 as part of a team that put together “The Game,” a breakdown of the Harrison-Rye football rivalry, which won for “Best Special Section.” His weekly column, “Live Mike,” offers his unique insights into a broad range of topics in the sports world. He resides in Eastchester, N.Y. and spends most of his free time serving as the player-manager for a competitive men’s baseball team in New York City. Reach Mike at 914-653-1000 x22 or sports@hometwn.com; follow him on Twitter @LiveMike_Sports.