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A look at high school football throughout the state

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Preview: Cromwell seeks return trip to Class S final

CROMWELL — Chris Eckert made a special demand of his Cromwell football team before classes started.

He told each football player that, on the first day of school, they needed to take seats in the front of their classes.

It was no suggestion, either — the second-year coach did some reconnaissance work that first day to make sure his Panthers were following orders.

“I want to make sure the emphasis is on academics as well as athletics,” Eckert said. “We’ve got 17 seniors, and they need to be going to college. Senior slide can’t happen.”

The off-the-field rule is a refreshing one for a team that played so well on the field last year — battling to the Class S championship game at Rentschler Field before a fingertips-close loss to Holy Cross.

The memory of that loss remains — particularly with the senior captains — as the Panthers embark on a new journey that could end at Rentschler Field once again. Cromwell opens their season at Pierson Park on Sept. 15 against East Hampton/Vinal Tech.

“We have to forget about last year — it’s in the past now,” captain Jake Suzio said. “It’s a whole new year, and we have to step up even more to reach our goal.”

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