BELVIDERE, Ill. (WTVO/WQRF) — Belvidere’s football program is on its fifth head football coach in ten years and its third in three years. He’s Tony Ambrogio and he’s no stranger to the NIC-10. He’s the former head coach at Jefferson. The past two years he was the head coach at Rockford Lutheran. He also has ties to Belvidere.
“I’ve spent a lot of time here and when the school called me, the administration called me, and made me an offer I couldn’t refuse. It was kind of like a homecoming of sorts.”
Ambrogio took over for Jim Morrow after Morrow completed just one season as the Bucs’ head coach. Ambrogio hopes to restore life into a Bucs program that hasn’t seen the playoffs since 2015, and has a 7-44 record over the last five seasons.
“I’d just say right off the bat one of the challeges is this is their third system in three years,” said Ambrogio. “You can tell they’re having a little bit of issues picking it up, but that’s understandable, and I think we’re just going to keep getting better.”
Despite a shorter offseason, the players have already noticed a different intensity and level of focus than years prior.
“Amazing! The energy is different,” said defensive back Chris Boose. “We have a lot of one-on-one coaching. We have small numbers, but it benefits us more. It’s more of a family. We practice family and we preach it. You can tell it’s a family and they really care about us.
Senior quarterback Justin Dennis will be leading the charge on offense. He enjoys being back with his teammates for the final time of his high school career.
“I love football. It’s one of my favorite sports so it’s always good to just come out and play football.”
On defense Boose will be playing this season with a chip on his shoulder.
“Be ready. We want it way more than them. It doesn’t matter that they have more numbers. They may be bigger, but we want it way more. We’re working hard every day.”
For Ambrogio, it’s not necessarily about wins and losses, but about the Bucs taking pride in what they do.
“We want them (fans) to come out and say, ‘that team played hard, they played physical and they just came short on the scoreboard, or they’re ahead on the scoreboard, but, we just want something for the community to be proud of.”