The last time the Blue Streaks won a state football title, Woodstock coach Mike Brasile was starting on both lines in 1997. His players can attest to his playing days.
“He’s a beast,” wide receiver Nate Archambeau said. “I’ve seen highlights of him. He was a beast, and he won state here. Only two [teams] have ever done that. He’s a stud.”
“I know he still has it,” quarterback Michael Purkey added. “He has the fire inside of him. He loves the game of football.”
That love for football brought him back to his alma mater more than two decades later to become the head coach last fall after spending four seasons at Hampshire.
In Brasile’s second year as head coach, the Blue Streaks are looking to end a decadelong postseason drought.
“Our goal is to make the playoffs for the first time in 10 years,” Brasile said.
“It’s something that Woodstock has always had a tradition of making the playoffs, and we kind of struggled here recently ever since the split of the two schools.”
The Blue Streaks believe the playoffs are within reach, especially with senior Purkey coming back after a full year as a starter under Brasile.
“I definitely think it will be easier to pick up the plays now,” Purkey said. “We’re pretty much sticking with the same offense and just putting twists on every single play. So I think I’m definitely more comfortable with it.”
Brasile spoke highly of his returning quarterback.
“Purkey’s really worked on his skills in the offseason,” Brasile said. “Our first 7-on-7 competition he couldn’t run out there and place the ball any better. … He’s been making great throws and great reads. I’m expecting a lot from that kid this year.”
Brasile previously coached on former Woodstock coach Steve Beard’s staff for five seasons, three as offensive coordinator. He coached the offensive line for one season at Leyden before taking the Hampshire job in 2014.
“In Year 2, I definitely feel a lot more comfortable just being back in the building, the new role (dean of students) and also being with the staff again,” Brasile said. “There’s some guys that are here that weren’t here when I was here. … I feel a lot more comfortable.”
Heading into the 2019 season, experience will be a big factor for the Blue Streaks.
“I think they do have a level of comfortability with the things that we did last year,” Brasile said. “We’ll be better off as a result of last year getting that experience.
“Last year, we had five sophomores starting and one freshman. So we were very young last year, and I think that experience is going to help carry us through this year.”
Brasile is looking for the work that the team is putting forth in the offseason to translate to the field.
“I think our kids have prepared their bodies in the weight room in the offseason,” Brasile said. We’ve had great attendance in the weight room and kids playing multiple sports. Then here in camp we’ve had pretty good attendance, too, so I’m hoping that translates to big things in the fall.”