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A look at high school football throughout the state

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Inside the Huddle: Morgan

Morgan QB Alex Lipka
(photo courtesy Shoreline Times)


Peter's Complex, Clinton
Coach: Mike Eagle (4th year)
Conference: Pequot
2012 Record: 5-5
2013 Kickoff: vs. Lewis Mills, Sept. 13, 6:30 p.m.
Top offensive players: Jake Ward, 5-10, 180, Jr., RB; Alex Lipka, 6-0, 195, Sr., QB; Mark Zumpano, 6-3, 170, Sr., WR; Thomas White, 5-11, 175, Sr., WR; Riley Cronan, 6-3, 245, Sr., C.
Top defensive players: Ward, Jr., SS; Joe Lee, 5-11, 185, Jr., FS; Jace Garcia, 6-3, 350, Jr., DL; Jake Teuner, 6-6, 220, Jr., LB; Eric Peterson, 6-3, 275, Jr., DL; Greg Lee, 5-10, 205, Jr., LB.
Key losses: Hunter Aiono, LB; Nick Sneider, DL; Marc Simmons, WR.
Outlook: The Huskies are experienced, with several seniors and juniors who have started since they were freshmen. There's speed and athleticism offensively, especially at wide receiver. Then there's the size factor. Eagle noted that from left to right on the offensive line his team goes: 6-6 220, 6-3 350, 6-3 245, 6-3 275, 6-2 255. Ward returns after rushing for 1,323 and 14 touchdowns as a sophomore. He is expected to be one of the top players in the Pequot Conference. Morgan must fill a huge hole at the inside linebacker position with the departure of Aiono, who graduated. There's athleticism at corner back, although that group is inexperienced.  Eagle said that minimizing turnovers and staying healthy and consistent week to week will be the main challenge and goal for this year's team. With Ward returning, several other talented skill players, and the size on the offensive line, Morgan is a legitimate contender in the Pequot Conference.


Previous entries in the Inside The Huddle series:


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Friday, August 2, 2013

Inside The Huddle: Xavier

(photo courtesy of the Middletown Press)
Palmer Field, Middletown
Coach: Sean Marinan (13th year)
Conference: SCC
2012 Record: 12-1 (Class LL champions)
2013 Kickoff: vs. Staples, Sept. 11, 6:30 p.m.
Top offensive players: Joe Carbone, 6-3, 215, Sr., QB; Andrew Meoli, 5-11, 180, Sr., RB; Nate Gonzalez, 6-0, 180, Sr., WR.
Top defensive players: Gonzalez, 6-0, 180, Sr., DB; Will Garrity, 5-11, 220, Sr., LB; Edwin Luster, 5-7, 145, Jr., CB; Chidi Broderick, 6-1, 220, Jr., DE; Mike Scherer, 5-10, 175, Jr., SS.
Key losses: Tim Boyle, QB; DeAngelo Berry, RB; James Sullivan, WR; Kris Luster, WR/SS; Max Tylki, TE/LB; Jonah Dorsey, RT; Kevin Dean, RG; Zack Creeron, OL/DL; Max Schumann, C/DE; Ben Lisle, LT.
Outlook: The Falcons, who won their third straight Class LL state title last season, lost a bunch to graduation, including Boyle, who will play at UConn. Despite the graduation losses, a talented roster returns. Carbone (picture above) completed just one pass last season, a 48-yard touchdown strike against Amity, according to stats inputted on Max Preps. Carbone, though, caught 18 passes, including four for touchdowns last season, so there's no doubting his athleticism. He may even be more dangerous than Boyle because of his mobility. Meoli is expected to take over the duties at running back after playing behind Berry last season. Meoli rushed for 408 yards and six scores as a junior. Gonzalez is a two-way threat. He only caught 11 passes last season but made 76 total tackles and seven interceptions. Garrity chipped in with 64 total tackles in 2012. Marinan said that developing a work ethic, minimizing mental mistakes and how well the team matures will be keys to this season. With the success Xavier has had in recent years, it's expected that the Falcons will be in the hunt for yet another state playoff berth.


Previous entries in the Inside The Huddle series:


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Thursday, August 1, 2013

Inside The Huddle: Sheehan

John Riccitelli Field, Wallingford
Coach: John Ferrazzi (9th year, 31-48-2)
Conference: SCC
2012 Record: 4-6
2013 Kickoff: vs. Trinity Catholic, Sept. 13, 6 p.m.
Top offensive players: Jeremy Gannon, 5-9, 165, Sr., ATH; Rafael Dominguez, 5-3, 142, Sr., RB; Brandon Gauthier, 5-11, 165, Sr., WR; Greg Suplinskas, 6-3, 195, Sr., OL; Justin Lange, 6-4, 190, Sr., QB.
Top defensive players: Jordan Lytle, 6-1, 215, Sr., DE; Tom Francis, 5-10, 230, Sr., DE; Riley Konopka, 5-9, 205, Sr., LB; Brandon Selvaggi, 6-0, 190, Sr., LB.
Key losses: Sean Merrill, OL/DL (playing football at Sacred Heart University); Kyle Paolella, WR/CB (running track at CCSU).
Outlook: Sheehan returns a deep group of skill players. Gannon will be among best athletes in the league with his versatility. He can play quarterback, receiver, running back, on special teams and at defensive back. Dominguez (pictured above) returns as the team’s top running back after gaining 1,036 all-purpose yards with 10 touchdowns last season. Gauthier is expected to emerge as one of the top receivers in the SCC.  Depth at wide receiver should help bolster the offense. Lytle and Francis have the strength, toughness, and tenacity to be dangerous at defensive end, while there's also depth at the linebacker position. Replacing Merrill and three other offensive linemen who graduated will be the main challenge.


Previous entries in the Inside The Huddle series:


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Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Inside the huddle: Pomperaug

I sent out preseason preview forms to state coaches on Tuesday; props to Pomperaug coach Dave Roach for being the first coach to reply.

In the coming days and weeks, as coaches begin to send back forms, I'll post team previews on this blog to get us ready for the start of the 2013 High School Football Season, which kicks off on Sept. 11. 

Since they were the first, we'll start with Pomperaug.

Ed Arum Field, Southbury
Coach: Dave Roach (3rd year, 12-8)
Conference: SWC
2012 Record: 4-6
2013 Kickoff: vs. Newtown, Sept. 12, 7 p.m.
Top offensive players: Wade Prajer, 6-0, 190, Sr., QB; Steve Croce, 5-9, 165, Jr., WR; Sam Rubinstein, 6-1, 170, Sr., WR; Seamus Conway, 6-2, 220, Sr., OL; Bob Tzepos, 5-9, 185, Sr., RB.
Top defensive players: Jack Yule, 6-0, 230, Sr., LB; Nico Rosa, 6-4, 230, Sr., DE; Matt Silverman, 5-8, 165, Sr., LB; Jake Parsell, 5-10, 235, Jr., DL.
Key losses: Eric Beatty, K/QB; Jesse Prajer, DE; Carl Gatzendorfer, CB; Corey Bake, OL.
Outlook: The Panthers have size, strength and speed, according to Roach. There was a renewed emphasis on off-season lifting and conditioning, and Roach thinks his squad will be competitive.  Pomperaug will likely run several formations offensively, but the Panthers have to adjust to life without Beatty, who directed the offense last season. Three of Pomeraug's losses last season were to teams that qualified for the playoffs (Masuk, Newtown, Weston) and another (Oxford) that just missed out on a Class S berth. There's a good chance that the Panthers can climb back over .500 this season.

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St. Paul finishes second at New England Tournament

St. Paul finished second at the 7-on-7 New England tournament held Tuesday at Peabody, Mass., losing 16-14 to St. John's Prep (Mass.).

From the ESPN Boston article on-line:

As St. John's Prep quarterback Mike Geaslen walked off the Bishop Fenwick High School football field, a teammate asked whether he was going to be at the next day's morning workout.

Geaslen held up the Under Armour Northeast 7-on-7 New England Championship trophy and said, “No man, I'm going to eat my cereal out of this cup.”

Prep, guided by the steady arm of Geaslen and its impressive list of offensive playmakers, defeated St Paul Catholic (Conn.) in the finals, 16-14, after grinding through pool play and a talent-laden bracket. The Eagles knocked off Chelmsford in the semifinals to set up a showdown with one of Connecticut's top teams.

During the finals, Thomas was charged with defending St. Paul receivers being fed by Logan Marchi, considered one of the top quarterbacks in Connecticut. Marchi, who verbally committed to UConn back in June, spent most of the day picking apart opposing defenses but was stonewalled by Prep during the final five minutes of the championship.

“That was a good quarterback. He was one of the best athletes on the field,” said Thomas, admitting that Marchi beat him a few times with accurate passes. “He throws some dimes.” 

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