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Kenmore East hopes it has turned a corner

Pat Veltri could look out over the practice field at his Kenmore East football team on Monday afternoon, and see the future laid out before him.

Right in front of the second-year coach was the varsity squad, which consisted of close to 30 players. That was a big improvement over last year, when the Bulldogs had to forfeit one game because of a lack of players and didn't have any spare parts for the rest of the season.

"I've been counting bodies since November," Veltri said during a break in the team's first workout of the season. "We've looked at roster projections, trying to spread the word. We've hovering around 28 to 30 players for both varsity and JV. I'd love to get up to 40, but if we're around 30 kids with the size of our school, we're happy."

Kenmore East suffered through a winless season in 2015 that was difficult for everyone. Just having those extra bodies should do wonders for everyone's spirits in 2016.

"We're not going to have to forfeit games," Veltri said. "We're not going to get worn down. We're not going to bring up guys from JV. We can practice in a completely different way. We can go varsity vs. varsity.

"Everyone will be practicing, and they'll get better that way. It will help us there too."

If Veltri raises his eyes a few degrees during practice, he could see another part of the team's future. The football stadium is a construction site. Soon, the stadium will have artificial turf and lights.

"We're talking hopefully Week Six this season," Veltri said. "We hopefully will get our last couple of games in, starting with Grand Island."

But the project slips a little behind schedule, everyone will have to wait for the next home date - against Kenmore West.

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