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Friday, August 17, 2012

W2L4: North Branford


Coach: Mark Basil (10 years, 70-37)
League: Pequot Conference
Last season: 9-2 (Class S quarterfinalists)
Top offensive players: Brandan Basil, 6-2, 190, Sr., QB; Joe DeLucia, 5-9, 170, Sr., RB/WR
Top defensive players: Gary Falanga, 6-0, 185, Sr., LB; Rocco Morgan, 5-11, 220, Sr., DL
Key losses: Damoy Hunter, OL/DL; Anthony Franco, OL/LB; Cory Onofrio, SE/DB; Christian Perrotti, OL/LB.
Inside the huddle: Returns several talented skill players. Rebuilding offensive line. Strong group of seniors. Good balance of experience, strength and speed. 
Stat Facts: Brandan Basil threw for 2,113 yards and 31 touchdowns last season, DeLucia had 1,571 all-purpose yards and 22 touchdowns, senior running back Dale Hausman had 1,051 all-purpose yards, senior split end Chris Caron had 34 receptions and 438 yards, Falanga made 63 tackles and scored five defensive touchdowns. 

The Thunderbirds have a plethora of skill players, but must rebuild their offensive line. Still, North Branford has enough returning to be, perhaps, the most talented team in the Pequot Conference.

"We have some very good parts coming back this year,"  Basil said. "I think we're going to be able to fill those voids pretty well."

Brandan Basil, who saw spot action as a sophomore and took over full-time last season, will operate the offense out of a spread formation. Expect plenty of offensive fireworks from the Thunderbirds, who averaged 37.7 points per game last season.

"Last year, I think teams came in expecting us — we've always been a run team — to run the ball, but we started to air the ball out," Mark Basil said. "I think teams are going to play us through the air.

"We have so many good athletes. They're good athletes, but they're football players. They know the game. They're not just kids that we took from another sport and put them in a position. They know the game. We have a lot of options to get the ball to."

 Caron and senior Alex McGuigan will be part of the team's receiving corps. McGuigan (6-3, 180) is a tall target, while Basil calls Caron a "Wes Walker like player".

"Both of these kids are very good," Mark Basil said. "I think both of them will be able to make a lot of plays."

Mark Basil says Brandan, his son, has learned to understand coverages much better. Brandan attended several passing camps this summer and Mark says Brandan learned how to spot the ball, rather than throw the ball to an area. 

"In those areas, he picked up a lot of things," Mark Basil said. "He also learned a lot in the play-action aspect. He got schooled pretty good this summer."

Mark Basil said Brandan was invited to several camps: Penn, Princeton, Columbia and Dartmouth. Brandan is also looking at Marist, Sacred Heart, Stonehill and Bryant.

DeLucia, meanwhile, gives North Branford an option at several positions. 

"Joey can do a number of things," Mark Basil said. "He's a punt returner, kick returner threat, he's a running back and he's a receiver."

DeLucia is hoping the Thunderbirds can make a lengthier postseason run this year. 

"We'll try to do a little bit better than last season, even though we had a really good year last year," DeLucia said. "We have a lot of upcoming linemen that can fill in the positions of the linemen that we graduated."

DeLucia may add the role of kicker to his resume this season.

"I'm just trying to have as good or even better season than I did last year," DeLucia said. "I know my teammates will help me out, but I'm just trying to do what I can for the team."

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