On Sunday an unlikely group of middle school students on the Greenwich Youth Football League’s BANC Raiders football team head to the playoffs with a proud 3-5 record.
While possessing a sub-500 percent record, the coach and players, along with the Byram community recognize the odds they have to overcome against some of the other opponents.
The BANC Raiders will dress 15 players this Sunday, Nov 12 for their playoff bout against the Cos Cob Crushers who are 8-0.
“Our record may be sub-500, but this is a team of winners. These young men have fought the odds, challenged expectations, and come out on the field with great community spirit and incredible resiliency,” said Coach Richard Muskus Jr. “I’m incredibly proud of the inspiration they have become.” Muskus, who played three years of NCAA college football, also happens to be President of Stamford based Patriot Bank.
The story of the team’s climb, from having zero coaching staff at all to making the playoffs, began three years ago when Muskus was asked to “lend a hand” for a team of 12 and 13 year old’s sponsored by the Byram Archibald Neighborhood Center.
That organization’s mission is to help provide safer environments for youth after school and during the summer months.
Muskus’ team of 7th and 8th graders dedicate themselves to practice every Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday from at Western Junior Middle School.
Muskus tapped a nephew Jeff Wilson and fellow Patriot Banker, Adam Ercoli, who works in Greenwich and happens to have been an All-American player in his days at Marist College.
In season one they did not win a single game. Last year, they rose to two wins. And this year, their three victories not only gave them great pride, but propelled them into the GFYL’s fourth playoff seed and a Sunday 1:30 p.m. showdown against the league’s top team in a game to be played at Greenwich High.
The BANC Raiders count among its standouts, Jason Agudelo, who plays wide receiver, tight end, and middle linebacker and Michael McGhee at running back and linebacker whose older brother is also a Senior cornerback of the Harvard University football team, Raishaun McGhee. Several of the BANC Raiders alumni have moved up to play for Greenwich HS.
Win or lose on Sunday, the GYFL BANC Raiders and their coaching staff have plenty to hold their heads up high about, for representing the community center and their Byram neighborhood with great pride.