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By Dave Merchant


Trenton coach Bob Czarnecki still has a love for football and his love, as always, has been coaching at the high school level. The Trojans this season have experience in some areas, but lacks the varsity-level experience in other spots.

     “We have experience up front on offense and defense,” Czarnecki said. “We have new personal everywhere else.

     “When a team lacks experience its seniors have to step up and lead. That is what we are waiting for.”

     The 2012 offense for Trenton will consist of junior center Josh Berry (6-0, 210), senior guards Justin Chaplin (5-10, 205) and Justin Youngert (6-2, 290). Key senior tackles are T.J. Stackpole (6-3, 260), Garrett Hughes (6-0, 255), Brett Micallef (6-2, 215) and Derek Wilson (6-4, 280).

     Two tight ends on the squad are senior Allen Bonds (6-3, 210) and junior Garrett Carrol (6-0, 185).

     Quarterbacking may be split between senior Tom Jernigan (5-11, 190) and sophomore Christian Mercure (6-0, 165).

     Fullbacks will be senior David Duclo (6-0, 200) and junior Chase Abraham (6-1, 205). At tailback could be senior Garrett Vandenberg (5-11, 180), Abraham, junior Zak Clark (5-10, 150).          Two wide receivers will be senior Jeremy Host (5-11, 165) and senior Trevor Woods (6-0, 160). Split ends will be Mercure and senior Jon Swiatkowski (6-2, 155).

     At defensive tackle will be seniors Sam Cappuccilli (5-10, 200), Richard Linenfelser (6-3, 235) and Jordan Conti (6-1, 215). Defensive ends will be Eric Szczepaniak (5-11, 190), Tyler Purcell (6-4, 190), and Andrew Lindsay (5-7, 185). Linebackers are Duclo, junior Jacob Walsh (5-11, 190) and sophomore Connor Cunningham (5-10, 200).

     Outside linebackers will be Abraham, Jern-igan and sophomore Max Holden (5-11, 180).  Corners will senior Jeremy Horst (5-11, 165), Mercure, senior Mitchell Ford (6-0, 150) and junior Aaron Arturi (5-6, 145). The last line of defense at the safety position will be Vandenberg, Mercure, sophomore Brady Tanguay (5-11, 140) and Swiatkowski.

     Trenton opens the regular season on Friday, Aug. 24, when it hosts the Truman Cougars.

     “It is a tough league,” he said. “Truman, Carlson, Wyandotte and Allen Park are always tough.”

      This is the fourth year of the Downriver League and the one thing he doesn’t like about it is not having a non-league game for an opener and a closer.

     “They want to name a champion in the league so everyone has to play everyone,” he said. “I am not interested in winning a league championship as much as doing well and making it into the post season. Aside from Melvindale we are the smallest school in the league. In the playoffs we play schools more our size.”

     Czarnecki is the dean of Downriver Football and has been at the coaching helm for Trenton for the past 22 years. That, combined with his previous 10 years as the head coach at another school, makes him the coach many come to ask for advice.

     “Every year has a different challenge,” he said. “High school football is so much different and we don’t get to recruit.”

     He said he use to believe that he could mold the group he had to what he wanted. Now, with the experience he has gained through the years, he knows this isn’t always the case.

     “We try to see what we have,” he said. “When I came back we were running an option but we didn’t have the players for that. Last year was the perfect year.”

     Unfortunately the team missed the playoffs with a 5-4 record. They had a tough 7-0 loss to Allen Park. They lost to Anderson 28-7 but had the ball inside the 5 yard line twice and fumbled once at the goal line.

     A lot of the team’s play last season was going on the shoulder of Bob’s oldest son, Michael, who unfortunately broke his collar bone and missed the majority of his senior season.

     “He played on kickoffs, was a running back and played defensive back for us,” he said. “It happened in week two and he only played about three and half games all season.

     “It was kind of heart-breaking,” he said. “I don’t like to say it was tragic because it is high school football but it was tragic for us.”

     Michael and Chad Hamilton will be playing this season at Albion. Jason Barbosa and Nick Moutgalias will be playing at Olivet and Tim Walters and Cody Perrault will be at Sienna Heights.

     “We never had this many kids from one class playing in college,” he said. “It will be exciting, especially when some of them will be playing each other.”

     Dave Merchant can be reached at

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