The second-year Rice Memorial High School football coach is emphasizing attitude, gratitude, and effort as key principles for his team this season.

Chad Cioffi, the coach at Rice Memorial High School, stressed, “Variables will go for or against us. But we can control our attitude, we can show our gratitude, and we can control our effort.”

In the previous season, the Green Knights had a strong performance, finishing towards the top of the DIII standings. However, their season came to an end in the quarterfinals against Mount Abraham, with a game-winning touchdown scored off a kickoff.

Owen Messineo, a linebacker for Rice Memorial, reflected on the outcome, saying, “It was pretty heartbreaking. I struggled a bit.”

Nolan Worgan, a running back, stated, “Our team uses it as motivation to come back stronger this year.”

Junior quarterback Dallas St. Peter expressed determination, mentioning, “We want Mount Abraham because they bounced us from the playoffs.”

Kevin Howrigan, a center, revealed the impact of that loss, sharing, “We wouldn’t let that happen again to us. I broke my finger in that game.”

The loss has become a driving force for returning players, including junior starting quarterback Dallas St. Peters, who aspires to be one of the best quarterbacks in the state and lead his team to victory and a championship.

The team will face challenges as they move forward without their leading rusher from last season, Mathias Alvin Mazanti, an exchange student from Denmark. Chad Cioffi acknowledged, “He brought an immeasurable work ethic and pushed a lot of returning players to put in the work this offseason.”

The departure of Kaiden Quinn, one of the state’s top cornerbacks according to MaxPreps, will also be felt. Cioffi noted, “He didn’t take a rep off last year. He was a workhorse for us.”

The team’s goal this season is to secure their first playoff win since 2014. Cioffi conveyed, “The message every day is just to enjoy every moment. A lot of these guys will forget the results of the games but not the people in the huddle and team dinners. That’s what’s going to carry on for the rest of their lives.”

St. Peter shared the team’s determination, addressing their critics: “We want to prove everyone wrong because there are a bunch of Rice haters out there. What is your message to those Rice haters, we’re coming, we’re coming.”

The team is gearing up for their first game of the season against BFA Fairfax on September 3.