By Justin Rodriguez
Section 9 Football Insider
Breakout players come in many forms every season in Section 9: The overachiever who comes out of nowhere to make an impact, the underclassmen who unexpectedly steps up at a key position, the reserve who effectively replaces an injured starter.
Every team needs these types of players and Warwick coach Greg Sirico thinks he has one mountain of a breakout player. Meet 6-foot-3, 235-pound senior defensive lineman Dan McNally, who missed all of last season after breaking a small bone in his right foot during Warwick’s season-opener against Monroe-Woodbury.
“We had our first day of one-on-ones this preseason and we have some pretty good offensive linemen,” Sirico said. “Danny lined up and they couldn’t stop him on the pass rush. That’s when I knew that our defense was going to be special. I think Danny could be the best player in Section 9 at his position, if not the best.”
McNally has made an impact for Warwick (3-0) quickly. He made six solo tackles and two for a loss in the Wildcats’ historic 14-13 win over Monroe-Woodbury on Sept. 1. McNally also blocked a punt and an extra point, the difference in Warwick’s first win over the Crusaders since 1979.
McNally had four sacks and another blocked punt in a 28-21 win over Goshen on Sept. 9 in the Spirit Trophy game. With the win, Warwick has now taken 13 in a row from Goshen and 20 of 21, dating back to 1996. The Wildcats lead the all-time series 55-46-4. Warwick vs. Goshen is the second-oldest continuing rivalry in the state behind Rome Free Academy and Utica Proctor, which began playing in 1891. McNally registered 1.5 sacks in Warwick’s 36-15 win over Saugerties last Saturday.
“It feels great to be back and be off to a good start,” McNally said. “I think Warwick has a lot of potential. I want to be one of the top players and just help this team. It definitely was tough not to play last year.”
McNally attended St. Joseph’s in Montvale, N.J. as a freshman, but returned to Warwick the following year to reunite with his friends. His arrival came in early-September, but it was too late for McNally to play for the Wildcats. He suited up as a junior, but broke his foot in the season-opener against Monroe-Woodbury.
McNally figured he would be out for only a few games, but doctors informed him that he would be out for the season.
“It was awful,” said Warwick running back/linebacker Harrison Parrelli, who filled in for McNally last year. “Dan has been my friend since we were in second grade and seeing him so down hurt. It really hurt the team. It’s great to have him back because there really is no blocking him. Dan will be a big part of our team this season.”
Warwick - Dan McNally Photo Credit: Gregory Sirico
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