Above: Nolan Cooney punting. Credit: Syracuse University
While a host of hometown boys are sitting out this fall football season, EG’s Nolan Cooney has been seen on the screen in several games for the Syracuse Orangemen. Cooney, a 5th year senior holds down kickoff, punting and place holding duties for the upstate New York grid eleven.
A three-sport athlete at EGHS, he didn’t even play football, instead taking the field in soccer and baseball, and the court in basketball. He attended some kicking camps and then Bridgton Academy in Maine, where he handled punting and kicking duties.
He started slow at Syracuse, but since 2018 the 6’3” 202-pound Cooney has appeared in every game. He has won the Atlantic Coast Conference and Syracuse Athletic Director Honor Roll Awards several times. He started off holding for field goals and points after, and his unit of center, holder and kicker has achieved a 95+ percent in PAT’s and 85 percent in field goals.
This year he has assumed kickoff and punting duties and he is averaging 47 yards per punt and is putting his kickoffs in the end zone.
In 2019 he won the Jim DaRin Courage Award for his comeback from testicular cancer, which he defeated through surgery and a regimen of chemotherapy treatments during high school.
Nolan is a member of Syracuse’s Uplifting Athletes Leadership team and was the chapter’s Vice President. He also served on the Student Advisory Board. Along with his six AD Academic Awards and three-time ACC Academic honors, he has also won two letters and is going to get his third this year.
Syracuse is on TV a lot so if you see them posted take a look – Cooney is #92. His rare triple-threat talents of punting (he recently had a 64 yarder and has had several punts travel 50+ yards), placekicking and holding. Coach Belichick, right up the road in Foxboro, particularly likes athletes, who can offer more than one skill.
The other East Greenwich boys anxiously awaiting a chance to get on the field of play include Matt Sylvia at Salve Regina, Conrad Swanson at Western New England,
Matt Licciardi at Endicott and his brother Kevin at Catholic U., Carlos Greene (EG- Bishop Hendricken) at Cortland State and Cristos Argys (Holy Cross-Moses Brown).
There is a strong possibility that there will be a spring college football season
and RI high schools may also be playing football then. Covid has really wrecked things but the schools, and the boys, are going to adapt and get their chance to shine.
Extra Notes: The uptick in quality of Rhode Island High School football could be seen on TV just this past weekend with Cooney on in the Syracuse-Liberty game; Xavier Truss of
Hendricken was at left tackle in spots for Georgia against Alabama; Jehlani Galloway of Classical at wide receiver for Boston College; Dan Karlin (Classical) as a backup QB at Duke. In another week or so Kwity Paye from Hendricken will line up for Michigan in Big Ten play. He is being touted, not only for possible All Big Ten and All American awards, but also as a possible NFL draft pick.
This release brought to you courtesy of the Providence Gridiron Club, whose mission is to promote football on all levels in Rhode Island and feature outstanding players, coaches, officials and administrators.