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A look at high school football throughout the state

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Week 1: Friday's Highlights

Here's what happened in Week 1 on Friday:


 No. 1 Xavier blanks Notre Dame-West Haven

Fairfield Prep shuts out Wilbur Cross



North Branford rolls past Valley Regional/Old Lyme


Philips, Williams lead West Haven past Hamden in season opener


ROUNDUP: Cheshire slips past Shelton


Follow the action on our Week 1 Scoreboard

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Friday, September 14, 2012

ND-WH hosts No. 1 Xavier

HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL: NDWH has some holes to plug

WEST HAVEN — The word ‘rebuilding’ seems to be considered an obscenity within the Notre Dame-West Haven football program.

Rebuilding, though, is a term that could very well describe the Green Knights in 2012.

Just don’t tell that to coach Tom Marcucci or his players.

“I don’t like rebuilding, but we certainly have to replace a lot of guys,” Marcucci said. “We’re being realistic, but we expect to compete. They expect to win and that’s how we’re talking to them.”

Notre Dame lost a plethora of players from a team that went 8-3 and advanced to the Class L state quarterfinals last season. Nine players from last year’s squad are now competing on the college level.

This year, there’s inexperience in key areas, especially on defense, where Notre Dame has seven new starters.

Unlike like season, when several players saw action the year before, this year’s team is relatively green.

“This team here, there’s not a lot of guys that have been on the field,” Marcucci said. “I don’t know how they’re going to respond when the lights go on.”

But the Green Knights are not using that as excuse as they prepare to host No. 1 Xavier in the season opener on Friday at 7 p.m. at Veteran’s Stadium.

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Thursday, September 13, 2012

Week 1 Picks

Below are my Week 1 pics for games being played on Thursday and Friday.


Woodland (6-4 in 2011) at Sacred Heart (4-5), 6 p.m.: Woodland has the talent to ascend back into the upper echelon in the Naugatuck Valley League. Register’s pick: Woodland.

No. 7 Hillhouse (7-3) at Foran (3-7), 7 p.m.: Hillhouse, led by junior running back Harold Cooper, is a legitimate Class M contender. Register’s pick: Hillhouse.


Fairfield Prep (5-5) at Wilbur Cross (1-9), 4 p.m.: Fairfield Prep is expected to be one of the most improved teams in the Southern Connecticut Conference. Register’s pick: Fairfield Prep.

Platt Tech (4-6) at Cheney Tech (9-2), 6 p.m.: Platt Tech should be improved, but Cheney Tech appears poised to contend for the Constitution State Conference title. Register’s pick: Cheney Tech.

Hyde (4-6) at Haddam-Killingworth (8-3), 6:30 p.m.: H-K suffered a huge blow when senior quarterback Alex DiMauro-D’Amico suffered a season-ending leg injury. Register’s pick: Hyde.

Lewis Mills (2-8) at Morgan (1-9), 6:30 p.m.: Can Lewis Mills make it two straight season-opening wins over the Huskies? Register’s pick: Morgan.

Valley Regional/Old Lyme (10-2) at North Branford (9-2), 6:30 p.m.: Last year Valley Regional/Old Lyme won 48-47. It could be just as high scoring this season. Register’s pick: North Branford.

Amity (4-6) at No. 3 Hand (13-0), 7 p.m.: Hand has the talent to repeat in Class L. Register’s pick: Hand
No. 4 Ansonia (14-0) at Torrington (7-3), 7 p.m.: Ansonia won last season’s meeting convincingly in a game billed as one of the marquee match ups in the NVL. This year’s contest may truly be worthy of the hype. Register’s pick: Ansonia.

Bethel (7-4) at Bunnell (8-2), 7 p.m.: Bunnell and senior quarterback Bryan Castelot might have the most explosive offense in the South-West Conference. Register’s pick: Bunnell.

Guilford (4-6) at North Haven (9-2), 7 p.m.: North Haven senior running back Jalon White is one of the top backs in the SCC. Register’s pick: North Haven.

Hamden (1-9) at West Haven (7-3), 7 p.m.: Speaking of good running backs in the SCC, the Westies have a special one in junior Ervin Philips. Register’s pick: West Haven.

Law (0-10) at Sheehan (5-5), 7 p.m.: If there’s a sleeper team in the SCC, it could very well be Sheehan. The Titans’ offense could be as potent as any team in the league. Register’s pick: Sheehan.

Lyman Hall (4-6) at East Haven (2-8), 7 p.m.: New Lyman Hall coach Rob Marone will seek his first victory against a school where his father, Mike, is the athletic director. Register’s pick: Lyman Hall.

Shelton (8-2) at Cheshire (5-5), 7 p.m.: Shelton just missed qualifying for the state playoffs last season. With many starters back, expect the Gaels to make another push for the postseason. Register’s pick: Shelton.

Trumbull (2-7) at Branford (4-6), 7 p.m.: Tough to peg what kind of year either team will have. Trumbull, though, has been stronger overall in recent years so they get the edge here. Register’s pick: Trumbull.

Whitney Tech (first year as varsity team) at Seymour (5-5), 7 p.m.: Welcome to the big leagues, Whitney Tech. Register’s pick: Seymour.

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Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Kickoff 2012: What you need to know

All you need to know about high school football in this state this year is right here.

Below are links from the Register's 2012 preview.

Xavier lands at No. 1 in Preseason Top 10 Poll

Ervin Philips, Harold Cooper and Arkeel Newsome ready to run all over area defenses

Nutmeg Nuggets: Top 30 Players to Watch 

Sean Merrill, Sheehan thinking big this season

Haddam-Killingworth quarterback Alex DiMauro-D'Amico will miss senior season

Whitney Tech set to embark on first varsity season

Bob Barton: Many high school nicknames need a name changeEverything you needed to know about nicknames

Hand's Pete Gerson, Matt Walsh lead tenacious Tigers 'D'

North Branford favored to win Pequot Conference

Xavier takes aim at a hat trick

Staples chases another championship season

Fairfield Prep focused on taking another step forward

Bryan Castelot, Bunnell hope to have foes on the run

Condors developing O'Brien Tech pride in program's second year


CCC Capsules

ECC Capsules

FCIAC Capsules

NVL Capsules

Pequot Capsules

Preps Capsules

SCC Capsules

SWC Capsules

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Tuesday, September 11, 2012


We've added more capsules on-line today.

We present:

Fairfield County Interscholastic Athletic Conference (FCIAC)

Eastern Connecticut Conference (ECC)

You can view the other conference capsules we added previously here.

Note: Only teams in which information was made available were featured.

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Setting The Record Straight

The 2012 High School Football Record book has not yet been released (you can view the 2011 edition here), but here are the records that were broken in 2011 (courtesy of stat guru Bob Barton and Gerry deSimas, Jr.)


Most yards rushing, season – 3,763, by Arkeel Newsome, Ansonia (old record 3,596, by Alex Thomas, Ansonia, 2007).
Highest average gain per rush, season – 12.0 by Arkeel Newsome, Ansonia (old record 10.6, by Alex Thomas, Ansonia, 2007).
Highest average gain per rush, career -- 11.9*,  by Arkeel Newsome, Ansonia, 2010-11 (old record 10.2, by Alex Thomas, Ansonia, 2004-07).
 * Player remains active.

Most consecutive 300-yard games (record tied): 3, by Brenden Lytton, Torrington, 2011, and by Arkeel Newsome, Ansonia (twice), 2011 (original record 3, by Montrell Dobbs, Ansonia, 2010).

Most touchdowns by rushing, season – 59, by Arkeel Newsome, Ansonia, 2011 (old record 47, by Alex Thomas, Ansonia, 2007).


Most passes completed, game (record tied) --  38 by Matthew Milano, New Canaan, vs Hand, Dec. 10, 2011 (original record 38, by Jake White, Foran, vs. North Haven, Nov. 2, 2007).
Most passes completed, season --  257, by Matthew Milano, New Canaan, 2011 (old record 236 by Eian Bain, Stafford, 2003).
Most passes completed, career -- 635, by Casey Cochran, New London-Masuk, 2008-11 (old record 477 by Joe DellaVecchia, St. Joseph, 2007-10).

Most yards by passing, season -- 3,688, by Anthony Morales, Cromwell, 2011 (old record  3,558, by Matt Kelleher, Southington, 2005).
Most yards by passing, career -- 10,767, by Casey Cochran, New London-Masuk, 2008-11 (old record 7,710, by Joe Della Vecchia, St. Joseph, 2007-10).

Most touchdown passes, season -- 43, by Anthony Morales, Cromwell, 2011 (old record 42, by Matthew Milano, New Canaan, 2010).
Most touchdown passes, career -- 112 by Casey Cochran, New London-Masuk, 2008-11 (old record 85 by Joe DellaVecchia, St. Joseph, 2007-10).


Highest average distance, season: (minimum 25 punts) – 48.0, by Ardian Sahinovic, New Fairfield, 2011 (old record 47.5, by Jason Mawicke, Staples, 2010).


Most points scored, season -- 388, by Arkeel Newsome, Ansonia, 2011 (old record  294, by Tim Washington, Bristol Central, 2000).

 Most touchdowns scored, season -- 62, by Arkeel Newsome, Ansonia, 2011 (old record 47, by Alex Thomas, Ansonia, 2007).

Most points for which responsible, all methods (rushing, passing, receiving, kicking), season -- 394, by Arkeel Newsome, Ansonia, 2011 (old record  350, by Tim Washington, Bristol Central, 2000).

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My Preseason Top 10 Ballot

Here is the ballot I submitted for the New Haven Register Preseason Top 10 football poll. Voters are asked to vote for 15 teams. Points on tabulated on a 30-28-26-24-22-20-18-16-14-12-11-10-9-8-7 basis.

The poll should be up later tonight on the Register's website and will appear in Wednesday's print editions.

1. Xavier
2. Staples
3. Hand
4. Windsor
5. Ansonia
6. Hillhouse
7. Greenwich
8. Newtown
9. Darien
10. West Haven
11. Ledyard
12. Masuk
13. Berlin
14. New Canaan
15. Southington

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Merrill, Sheehan have big hopes

WALLINGFORD — Sheehan football coach John Ferrazzi says the sky is the limit for titanic Titan tackle Sean Merrill.

Hopes are equally as high for a program that hasn’t been to a state playoff game since the mid-90s.

“We have a lot of potential this year,” Merrill said. “We’re all finally old enough; we’ve been playing together since we were freshmen and sophomores. We have the potential to be a great team.”

The 6-foot-4, 275-pound senior left tackle has gotten looks from Villanova, Lehigh, Lafayette, New Hampshire and Stony Brook, in addition to New Haven, Southern Connecticut and Central Connecticut.

“There’s been a mix of I-AA schools that have been actively recruiting him throughout,” Ferrazzi said. “He’s been to a slew of camps over the summer. Nobody’s pulled the trigger yet. I think a lot of them are waiting for some senior film.”

What may potentially end up on that film is what has Sheehan players and coaches optimistic about the upcoming season.

“Our main goal this year is to make the playoffs,” Ferrazzi said. “With this senior class, with the experience of some of these kids, that’s their goal. Anything less than that is going to be a disappointment.”

One junior will figure prominently in helping this senior class achieve its goal. Jeremy Gannon is taking over for his graduated brother, Billy, as the Titans quarterback. He’s not worried about filling his shoes, but he’s already filled his jersey.

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H-K's DiMauro-D'Amico to miss season

When Haddam-Killingworth opens its season at home against traditional Pequot Conference power Hyde on Friday (6:30 p.m.), the Cougars will be without starting quarterback Alex DiMauro-D’Amico.

Just one year after the “biggest win” of his long coaching tenure — a 6-0 Thanksgiving Eve victory over rival Valley Regional/Old Lyme that propelled H-K into the CIAC Class S playoffs — Dennis O’Rourke and the rest of Cougar Nation are dealing with one of their most “significant” losses.

DiMauro-D’Amico, who would have been a four-year starter and senior captain, will miss the season after suffering a broken leg in a scrimmage against Rocky Hill last week.

“It’s a downer,” said O’Rourke, now in his 37th season at H-K. “His loss is significant in terms of leadership and the positions he plays on the field. He was going to do it all.”

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Monday, September 10, 2012

More Preview Capsules Added

We've begun to post more Preview Capsules by Conference on-line. We will post more in the upcoming days.

Southern Connecticut Conference

South-West Conference

Preps: Hamden Hall and Hopkins

Central Connecticut Conference

Here are some we posted the other day.

Note: Only teams where information was made available have been included.

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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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Sunday, September 9, 2012

Preview: Hand

FOOTBALL: Hand's Pete Gerson, Matt Walsh lead tenacious Tigers 'D'

MADISON — Hand defensive end Pete Gerson is strong, explosive and boasts a tremendous motor.

“Pete,” Tigers coach Steve Fillippone said. ”In my opinion, and I’ll probably get him and I in trouble for this at some point during the season, I don’t think there is an offensive lineman in the state who can block him one on one.”

And just in case Gerson isn’t a big enough problem for opposing offenses to deal with, teams have to worry about inside linebacker Matt Walsh, too.

“He always finds his way to the ball, no matter what,” said Gerson of his teammate. “He reads the play so fast, and he’s so quick and agile he will get there. He’s the heart of our defense.”

Together, Gerson and Walsh are arguably the top 1-2 defensive punch in the state and are a huge reason why the Tigers are contenders to repeat as Class L champions.

Fillippone says he’s never had a defensive duo this good, pointing out that Walsh (headed to UConn to play fullback) is the first Football Bowl Subdivision player and Gerson (committed to Yale) is the third Football Championship Subdivision player in his 23 years as head coach.

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What's in a name? Bob Barton explains it.

Bob Barton's annual football column calls for nickname reform.

By Bob Barton, Special to the Register
Twitter: @nhrsports

What does high school football in Connecticut need?

Better attendance? Sure.

Corporate sponsors, especially if playoff finals are to stay at Rentschler Field? You bet.

A “mercy rule” that won’t require coaches to shave points in lopsided games? Absolutely. (Shortening the third and fourth quarters would be a start.).

But there’s another need, long overdue for a solution, that ought to be addressed: Nickname reform.

Why? Too many Indians, for one thing. Also too many Panthers, too many Eagles, too many Red Raiders. And that’s just for starters.

Think of it: The Central Connecticut Conference, with 32 members, has four teams that call themselves Indians: Manchester, Farmington, Newington and Northwest Catholic. The Naugatuck Valley League, with 14 members, has two sets of Red Raiders (Torrington and Derby), two sets of Wildcats (Seymour and Wilby), two sets of Eagles (Kennedy and Wolcott) and another team of Indians (Watertown).

It’s tough on sports writers. When Guilford plays North Haven, the headline can’t read “Indians win,” because the Indians also lost. Nobody seems to have thought of that when they both joined the Southern Connecticut Conference.

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Preview: North Branford

FOOTBALL: North Branford favored to win Pequot Conference

The North Branford football team experienced a season full of defining moments a year ago.

There was a stinging, shootout loss against Valley Regional/Old Lyme on opening night that fueled the Thunderbirds’ motivation for the entire year. And there was a thrilling contest against unbeaten Cromwell where the Thunderbirds overcame tons of adversity and won it with some big defensive stops late in the game.

The Thunderbirds, however, earned their true football stripes with their version of The Drive.

Trailing Coginchaug 16-12 and backed up at their own 10-yard line midway through the fourth quarter, North Branford’s hopes of making the Class S playoffs were in jeopardy.

“I just wanted to complete some passes,” quarterback Brandan Basil recalled. “I wasn’t really thinking about how much time was against us. I just wanted to do my best to get the ball rolling and get down there and score.”

Basil marched the Thunderbirds down the field with Elway-like cool and precision. On a fourth down play inside the Blue Devils’ 10-yard line, Basil found Joe DeLucia, who shook off a Blue Devils’ defender and scored the game-winning touchdown with just 2 minutes remaining.

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