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Monday, September 10, 2012

Preview: Whitney Tech

HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL: Whitney Tech set to embark on first varsity season

HAMDEN — The story isn’t so much about tackles or touchdowns. It’s more than that.

Whitney Tech will be taking the field as a varsity program for the first time in school history this season. It’s been an uphill battle to get to this point, but the Owls have managed.

Hard work, perseverance and plenty of help from the community have been critical.

“We needed about $100,000 to start the team,” said head coach Victor Cooper recently at a team fundraiser event in Hamden. “You can get away with $50,000. You can maybe slide by with $25,000. We did it with $12,000.”

The circumstances aren’t ideal, but Whitney Tech is making the best of them.

Right now the team has no weight room and no home field. They try and build strength with workouts using their own body weight and are practicing at the old Hamden Middle School. The program only has two coaches and its borrowing equipment like tackling dummies and sleds from Hamden’s Pop Warner league.

“Problem is, these are made for little kids,” Cooper said. “The sled is this high (pointing at a small distance off the ground). We’re going to be low, which isn’t bad.”

As for jerseys, the Southern Connecticut State football team handed down Whitney Tech some old ones. It works out because they are both the Owls. Southern, along with Black and Decker and the Connecticut NFL Alumni Association, have also helped with generous donations.

Peter Dzialo, a teacher at Whitney Tech, gave a home weight set to the team. The school’s carpentry program made plyometric blocks for training and Adirondack chairs for the team to raffle off. University of New Haven football coach Pete Rossomando has offered free clinics for Whitney Tech, which is made up of mostly underclassmen with little to no playing experience.

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