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A look at high school football throughout the state

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Blowout Scrimmage Saturday: Masuk, Southington, Berlin

We took a day off Saturday, the last real day off of the summer. But the teams around the state continued to gear up and fall in for the 2013 season.

There were scrimmages galore, with various reports filtering over via Twitter.

The most intriguing scrimmage occured up at Fontana Field in Southington between Southington, Berlin and Masuk.

Once again, YouTuber Rick Volk was on the scene the night after we checked out Ansonia-West Haven.

Perusing the video, Masuk, which has made a couple dubious headlines of late, looked pretty darn good, thank you, against two other 2012 state playoff participants.

Since we weren't there, we can only go by what we see. What we see is Masuk running a pretty effective attack and a solid defense behind QB Malik Cummings, among others.

Masuk did more than hold its own, it pretty much looked like its old self. Perhaps the feelings of impending demise is far from accurate, eh?

That's what coach Dave Brennan and members of the team told Connecticut Post's Michael Fornabaio in a Sunday story from the scrimmage.

From the article:

"We had a team meeting, and (Brennan) basically told us we've all got to come together," senior running back Joe DaMota said. "We've got him the rest of the year. We've got a journey. We improved from the Shelton scrimmage (Wednesday)."

According to RickVolk, the scrimmage was via 10-play format.  Also featured is Southington QB and Yale recruit Stephen Barmore.

Again, these are scrimmages, take from them what you will.

Here's a short vid with highlights from all three teams.

Here's a more comprehensive package between just Masuk and Southington.

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West Haven-Ansonia: The Super Preseason Scrimmage Bowl movie!

It felt like the gang was all there at the annual Super Preseason Bowl between West Haven and Ansonia.

Roll call: the Lonesome Polecat (aka Ned Griffen), 'Remmy' (of NVL Football blog fame), Kyle Brennan (of NVL Football Blog and Rep-Am fame), Kevin Duffy (for Hearst CT) and a smattering of coaches of fans, opposing players and former players.

We unnecessarily hyped the game up, and the casual media presence might have hinted this scrimmage was important somehow. But it was just a scrimmage and we used the occasion to size up what should be two of the best teams in the state this season, not to mention get some extra intel from sources who attended.

With the varsity playing a majority of the scrimmage, Ansonia "won" the (ahem) game four scores to two. But it was a pretty even exchange, with hard-hittin' defense a-plenty.

Arkeel Newsome scored a few touchdowns for Ansonia, including a 70-yard run. West Haven's Erv Phillips score on a 30-yard burst. Westies' QB Duane Gary showed some nifty running, as did Ansonia QB JaiQuan McKnight. But overall, it looked like the season was two weeks away.

Yea, there were no fancy schmancy spread offenses in this affair. It was a strap-it-up, dig-in, fire-out, good ol' fashioned smashed-mouth friendly at Jarvis Stadium.

Of course, here were some hints that a few in attendance and on the field might have considered this more than it really was, like this Tweet:

Overall, there wasn't much to take from this except Newsome and Phillips are good. Ansonia and West Haven are big and are capable of digging in and banging in the trenches with the best of 'em.

In other words, these teams probably can play football.

But, you knew that, didn't you?

Thanks (once again) to YouTube's Rick Volk, you can take a gander at what the Super Preseason Bowl looked like Friday night.

Check it. Let us know what you think:

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Friday, August 30, 2013

Masuk's DeGennaro to ConnPost: Brennan is our football coach

The Connecticut Post got to the bottom of the boiling signs of discontent in the Masuk football program Thursday night.

Following a meeting with parents Thursday night, John DeGennaro told the Post, in no uncertain terms, "Dave Brennan is our football coach."

Brennan was hired in the spring to replace longtime coach John Murphy, who resigned in December after 15 years and three state championships.

Throughout the first weeks of fall camp, however, multiple sources in and around the program described large pockets of unrest, including a walkout by players and one assistant coach's resignation, to the New Haven Register on Thursday afternoon.

Team parents hoped to address the situation at a Thursday meeting, which DeGennaro described to the Post as a routine annual fall sports meeting with parents.

Though details were scarce and parents declined to comment to Connecticut Post after the meeting broke after 8 p.m., a source told the Register Thursday night that Masuk's administration had reinforced its commitment to Brennan.

Principal Joseph Kobza told parents there is plan to help Brennan succeed and that he would correct many of the complaints pervading the program, the source said.

DeGennaro echoed similar sentiments to the Post.

"He has a full vote of confidence as our head football coach," DeGennaro told reporter Michael Fornabaio.

 Neither Kobza, DeGennaro or Brennan have responded to calls seeking comment Thursday.

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Westies-Chargers, the 'state championship' of scrimmages, kicks off tonight

West Haven's Ervin Phillips during
last year's Ansonia scrimmage.

We're knee-deep in scrimmage season, boys and girls. A few go tonight and then a motherload tomorrow as the final week of preseason begins.

Tonight, 6 p.m. at Jarvis Stadium in Ansonia, your favorite preseason scrimmage (and mine) will kick off (or maybe they'll just start) in front of a larger-than-normal crowd of curious onlookers.

Ansonia-West Haven.

Ah, sweet, sweet Chargers-Westies.

There was a time, not too long ago, that this glorified practice was once the centerpiece of the "Who's No. 1?" argument.

The 2000-era, Kenny Tinney-led Ansonia teams staked their claim to the New Haven Register Poll's top spot by pointing out their team beat the Tommy DeMorro/Desmond Lymon/Rob Jackson West Haven championship teams. Yea, their schedule was 'soft' compared to the Westies' SCC slate, the argument went. But those Chargers could (and would) beat anyone. This scrimmage proved it.

Ansonia's Arkeel Newsome at
last year's  West Haven scrimmage

Of course, that was quickly countered with It's just a scrimmage! There were coaches on the field, the format wasn't a live game... how in the good Lord's name was this proof of anything other than the lineman got their schemes right in August?

Ah, Chargers-Westies.

Those were the days [Plays the theme to 'All In The Family']

But happy days could be here again.

With Ansonia already early favorite to receive the No. 1 spot in the polls to start the season, and West Haven looking similarly, if not equally strong, will this relatively insignificant clash of CT titans get significant replay come December when we're tallying our final votes?

Of course, there will be a lot of attention paid to how three-time defending LL champion Xavier, or two-time defending Class L champion Hand fares this season, not to mention the usual suspects in the FCIAC, the CCC and ECC and so-on.

Incidentally, West Haven plays both Hand and Xavier all this year. Oh, and they kick off with Greenwich. So if Erv Phillips and the Westies somehow navigate that bloody gauntlet and finish with their first unbeaten season since 2002, you'd think it would be a slam-dunk decision on No. 1 right?

Ah, well, that's where this scrimmage is gonna start getting attention.

Let's say the Westies somehow, miraculously survive... or maybe even lose just one game, en route to a Class LL championship.

Meanwhile, Ansonia smokes through the NVL, Masuk in its SWC-NVL crossover, and then rolls to a third-straight 14-0, Class S championship season.

We'll all be reaching for that Ansonia-West Haven game tape, won't we?

You're damn right we will.

So, Chargers and Westies, while you're minding your stances, your blocking schemes and the play calls while listening to your coaches standing just five yards away in the backfield, make sure to play your best.

Not that it'll really mean anything right? ...right? 

Ah, the good ol' days. They're here again.

As much as things in Connecticut football have changed this past year, nothing really does, does it?


In addition to Ansonia-Westies, a full slate of dual scrimmages, tri-scrimmages and full-blown jamborees get underway around the state Saturday.

Then, next week come the final dress rehearsals.

Before you know it, Week 1 will be here.

Can't wait, boys and girls.

Here's the master schedule from 

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Thursday, August 29, 2013

The 2013 Connecticut High School Football Record Book is here

Thanks to the tireless work of Bob Barton and Gerry DeSimas Jr., we Connecticut High School football mavens once again have been treated to an updated record book for the 2013 season.

This version -- the 14th edition -- came in waaay ahead of schedule. And it's awesome, as usual.

This year, on the heels (or front toe) of Elsa Formiglio's kicking performance for NFA in the Class LL state championship game, the guys added a section for female participants. They also added more records for the top crowds and completed the history of the coaches' poll.

Read more about the different features in this year's book at DeSimas' home base, the Collinsville Press.

And be sure to thank him and Mr. Barton if you happen to cross their paths this year.

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Mutiny at Masuk? Discord among program's ranks prompts meeting (updated)

David Brennan
A number of players and parents within the Masuk's football program appear to be in rebellion against new head coach, David Brennan.

Concerned about widespread changes, ineptitude in scrimmages and feelings of despair over the state of the program, multiple sources have described incidents of players skipping practices and requesting private meetings with school athletic director John DeGennaro and principal Joseph Kobza.

On Thursday night, team parents and players are scheduled to meet with Brennan, Kobza and DeGennaro to address their grievances. Monroe Public Schools superintendent James Agostine and Monroe Board of Education chairman Darrell Trump have also been invited to attend.

To at least one football parent, the solution is simple:

"We want him out," David DeGirolamo said of Brennan. "He's just been God-awful. He has no organizational skills and is way over his head."

Brennan, a Monroe public schools teacher, was hired from Ridgefield to replace John Murphy. Murphy resigned in December after winning three state championships and nearly 200 games in 15 years.

But just two weeks into the preseason, detractors -- most of whom declined to use their names on the record -- have described underwhelming performances at scrimmages and unwelcome changes Brennan has made within the program.

Earlier this week, eight of the team's seniors skipped a practice to speak with DeGennaro and Kobza, according to DeGirolamo and several sources.

On Sunday, approximately 20 players skipped another practice. Assistant coach Justin Scarpatti quit on Saturday, but returned after a few days.

On Wednesday night, detractors say the team didn't perform well vs. Holy Cross and Shelton in a three-way scrimmage, which has only added to the internal strife. "We probably got three first downs the whole night," DeGirolamo said.

With Masuk's anticipated Week 1 game vs. former coach Murphy and New Milford two weeks away, DeGirolamo said he and other parents are praying the administration makes a change.

"It's a mess," DeGirolamo said. "A monster mess."

DeGennaro and Kobza were not immediately available for comment. Neither returned separate phone messages as of early Thursday afternoon.

Brennan also did not return a phone message seeking comment Thursday afternoon.

"I loved Murphy, but he's gone," DeGirolamo said. "We knew going in our numbers would be down. But we only have 40 kids on varsity now. I don't even know if we're going to field a (junior varsity) team. Does it have to be this far away (from the past)? The kids don't look at any game film, they're not prepared, they've lost all respect for (Brennan)."

"My kid's not a quitter, but if he came to me tomorrow and said, 'Dad, I'm not playing,' I'd be fine with it. A lot of parents feel the same way," he said. "I don't know what's going to happen (at the meeting). We just want to keep up the tradition of Masuk football. That's all we're looking for."

UPDATE: The Masuk administration reaffirmed its commitment to Brennan at the meeting and promised to address issues, according to a source.

A call to athletic director John DeGennaro for confirmation not returned Thursday night.

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Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Hello again and welcome to the football blog

Sean Patrick Bowley
Hello again.

This is Sean Patrick Bowley.

It's been a week or so since I began settling into my new gig as the editor of, Connecticut's soon-to-be premier high school site.

Yes, we have high hopes. It's been a lot of hard work. Though it's going well, we're not quite there yet, but we hope to launch soon.

In the meantime, the sports staff from the New Haven Register and its Connecticut compadres in the Digital First family have decided to begin revamping our high school sports coverage.

Beginning with football.

Scrimmages are in full effect. Information has been trickling out of camps from around the region. So it's time for us to get cracking before we get left behind.

For those who don't know me, I spent nine years at Connecticut Post and Hearst CT Newspapers primarily covering the Fairfield County and western New Haven County teams. I started their high school football blog (which, has now been rebranded) and I'm thrilled to take my experiences to a new venue and join with a talented stable of co-workers.

I'll joining up with Mike Pucci, the company's lead football beat writer, Register high school sports editor Joe Morelli, Middletown Press sports editor Jimmy Zanor, Torrington Register-Citizen editor Peter Paguaga, Minuteman editor Mary Albl, writers Dan Nowak and Henry Chisholm and many, many more to start the GameTimeCT football blog.

Oh, and did you hear? We're going to cover the entire state. From the ECC to the FCIAC, the CCC to the SCC. From one half of the Pequot to the other half of the Pequot. (And there's also a third half. But we'll get to that).

And, if the guys at the NVL Blog will allow us, we'll cover the mighty Naugatuck Valley League.

Thankfully, there's not much catching up to do for me. Mike 'Pooch' has been diligently compiling our team-by-team preview capsules for the entire state, some of which he's added here already.

In addition to Mike's continuing great coverage, we'll also use this space to give you news and views from scrimmages and practices from around the state as we lead up to kickoff of the 2013 season.

And what a kickoff it will be.

But we'll get to that soon. There's so much to do. So many teams, players and coaches to see and profile.

This is just a quick note to say hello. Personally, it's great to have a space again after toiling for years to build a spot at Hearst CT.

We'll be making changes as the days and weeks progress, the site's address and the overall look, for example. Overall, we're excited to continue the great work here and ratchet it up a notch. Give us a little time as we kick off a new era of high school football coverage.

By the way, we can't do any of this without your help. What's a good sports blog without its readers and commenters? The community's the thing, so we hope you'll join us as we navigate our way through what should be an incredible season.

No hyperbole necessary. It's going to be a great year.

So, let's get started, yeah?



Follow me on Twitter at @SPBowley and be sure to follow @GameTimeCT

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Inside The Huddle: Amity

Sim Field, Woodbridge
Coach: Bert Mozealous
Conference: SCC
2012 Record: 4-6
2013 Kickoff: Seymour, Sept. 11, 7 p.m.
Top offensive players: Dave Ryan, 6-4, 195, Sr., QB; Joe Choiniere, 5-9, 185, Sr., capt., RB/WR/DB; Nick Bottone, 6-4, 165, Sr., WR; Ben Feola, 6-0, 180, Sr., WR/LB; Cory Ricks, 5-8, 165, Sr., RB/DB; Eric Laugeni, 5-10, 220, Sr.,capt., OL; Joe Capela, 5-9, 210, Sr., OL; Tyler Burns, 5-8, 160, Jr., QB/WR/DB; Lyle Luth, 5-9, 175, Sr., K/P.
Top defensive players: Choiniere, Sr., DB; Feola, Sr., LB; Ricks, Sr., DB; Burns, Jr., DB; Matt Attolino, 5-8, 170, Jr., DB; Mike Butler, 6-1, 255, Sr., DL; D’Andre Wilson, 5-9, 155, Sr., LB; John Mezzone, 6-2, 185, Sr., LB.
Key losses: Dennis Flanagan, OL/DL; David Attolino, RB; James Semmonella, RB.
Outlook: The line on both sides of the ball suffered heavy graduation losses, including two-time all-SCC selection Dennis Flanagan, and Greg Purcell. Quarterback James Semmonella and running back David Attolino (1,136 yards, 13 TDs) also graduated. But some talent returns. Ryan will get the start under center. He has good size and strength but is untested. Choiniere and Ricks will likely share the duties at running back. The two will also be threats to catch passes out of the backfield, while Bottone, Feola and Burns will add depth to the receiving corps. Luth is expected to be one of the top place kickers in the SCC. He made 46 of 47 extra points and nine of 10 field goals as a junior.

Previous entries in the Inside The Huddle series:

Fairfield Prep
Hamden Hall
New Canaan
North Branford
North Haven
Norwich Free Academy
Notre Dame-West Haven

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Middletown football sets sights on big season

 Middletown football sets sights on big season 

By Jimmy Zanor, The Middletown Press

MIDDLETOWN --- Middletown’s 21-14 loss to Masuk in last year’s Class L quarterfinals was the elephant in the Blue Dragon’s weight room this offseason.

The defeat, one in which Middletown squandered a two touchdown lead in the second half, still seemed to linger Tuesday at the Keigwin Middle School where head coach Sal Morello pushed his team through some practice drills on a patch of grass that was starved for water.

The Blue Dragons are also hungry. And poised for a big season.

“(Masuk) was a tough loss,” said Morello, “but I tell you what, it’s led into a pretty good offseason in the weight room. We’ve got to learn from that experience. The kids seem to be hungry to get back there but at the same time it’s my job and the coach’s job to understand that there is a process and we’ve got to take it one step at a time.”

Middletown went 8-3 a year ago, losing to Class L finalists Windsor and Class LL champion Xavier before their playoff defeat.

“The big thing we learned from last year too is there has been a real big emphasis on taking care of the ball and on defense going to get the ball,” Morello said. “So we shot ourselves a little bit with that last year and that’s one area we definitely have to get better at.”

The Blue Dragons, who lost Isiah Swain, Otto Marcello, and Akeino Chamberlain to graduation, still possess enough speed to drive defensive coordinators crazy. But they’ve also added some size into the mix.

“We’re bigger than year’s past,” said Morello. “When people see Middletown or hear Middletown they think speed. I think we’re a little bigger and more physical. The weight room has really paid off. We’ve got three running backs over 200 pounds so we’re going to come downhill as well. And we think we’ve got some speed on the outside as well to really put some stress on a defense.”

Leading the way will be junior quarterback Dario Highsmith (5-11, 180), junior running back/linebacker Isiah Thompkins (6-1, 200), senior center Jeff Woodcock (5-11, 215), senior defensive end RaJahn Johnson (6-0, 211), senior receiver Jacob Homar (5-10), senior defensive tackle Sam Rivera (6-1, 280), senior linebacker Cody Carrillo (6-1, 185) and the Bednarz twins, senior linemen David (6-7, 275) and Anthony (6-7, 250).


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Gilbert/Northwestern hopes to have memorable season

Gilbert/Northwestern Yellowjackets hope to have memorable season

By Pete Paguaga, Register Citizen   

WINSTED --- After a disappointing 7-3 season which saw the Gilbert/Northwestern Yellowjackets finish fifth in the Pequot Conference and on the outside looking in for the State playoffs, the Yellowjackets have high hopes for this season.

“I want that damn banner, we want to hang something up,” said Yellowjackets head coach Scott Salius speaking of the Yellowjackets goals this season. “Twenty years from now, I want them (players) to see the banner in the gym and say I did this.”

The Yellowjackets will have a tough road ahead if they want to win their first conference championship since the 1970’s. Though they made the Class M semifinals in 2010 they didn’t win the conference.

“We got to win the hard ones, we have to be able to beat the top teams,” said Salius. “We always get close.”
One game that stands out to Salius was their 20-17 loss to Ellington/Somers.

“We were beating Ellington 17-7 in the fourth quarter and we lost,” he said. “We have to finish against the quality teams.”

Leading the way for the Yellowjackets this season are senior quarterback John Lippincott and senior running back Tony Ortiz, who are two of the Yellowjackets four captains.

“I’m blessed to have had great backs, Tony is just an overall athlete,” he said. “Johnny is the best overall leader I’ve had in my tenure; he’s been a leader since he was a freshman.”

The combination of Lippincott and Ortiz leading the Yellowjackets’ run heavy offense was very successful last season with Ortiz rushing for 1280 yards and 13 rushing touchdowns while Lippincott threw for 20 touchdowns and 14 interceptions to go along with seven rushing touchdowns, according to MaxPreps.

“We have to keep the momentum up,” said Ortiz.

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Hand now on the road for opener

With renovations still not complete at the Surf Club in Madison, Hand, the defending Class L champion, will now travel to New Canaan for its season opener on Sept. 11. Kickoff is scheduled for 6:30 p.m.

The game was originally scheduled for Sept. 12 at 6 p.m. at the Surf Club. The home-away series between Hand and New Canaan as part of the SCC-FCIAC challenge will continue next season, but with the game at the Surf Club in 2014.

"The field (Surf Club) is not ready," Hand athletic director Craig Semple said. "We thought it would be a well-attended game, so we wanted to have the best situation for the safety and security of the players and fans."

After visiting New Canaan, the Tigers visit Hillhouse on Sept. 20. Semple said the Surf Club will be ready for Hand's home opener against Wilbur Cross on Sept. 27 at 7 p.m. 

Semple added that bleachers on the home side still need to be installed, which will "take a week to assemble". The new bleachers will accommodate 2,000 fans. 

Other renovations at the Surf Club include an artificial turf playing surface. 


Updated SCC-FCIAC Challenge Schedule

Wednesday, Sept. 11
Law at Harding – 6 p.m.
Staples at Xavier – 6:30 p.m.
Hand at New Canaan – 6:30 p.m.
Warde at Foran – 7 p.m.

Thursday, Sept. 12
Hillhouse at Darien – 4 p.m.
Bassick at East Haven – 6 p.m.
Cheshire at Ridgefield – 6 p.m.
Ludlowe at Lyman Hall – 6 p.m.
North Haven at Bridgeport Central – 6 p.m.
West Haven at Greenwich – 6 p.m.
Danbury at Hamden – 7 p.m.
Fairfield Prep at Stamford – 7 p.m.
Trumbull at Shelton – 7 p.m.
Wilbur Cross at McMahon – 7 p.m.
Wilton at Guilford – 7 p.m.

Friday, Sept. 13
Trinity Catholic at Sheehan – 6 p.m.

Saturday, Sept. 14
Notre Dame at St. Joseph – 1:30 p.m.

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Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Inside The Huddle: Woodland

Woodland High Field, Beacon Falls
Coach: Tim Shea (6th year, 32-21)
Conference: NVL
2012 Record: 8-4 (Class S semifinalists)
2013 Kickoff: Branford, Sept. 12, 6:30 p.m.
Top offensive players: Tanner Kingsley, Sr., QB; Levi Fancher, Sr., TE; Jack Pinho, Sr., WR; Taylor Tucciarone, Sr., WR; Alik Bures, Sr., OL; Jake Boncal, Sr., OL.
Top defensive players: Fancher, LB; Pinho, DB; Tucciarone, SS; Chris Slavin, Sr., LB; Justice Alefosio, Sr., DL; Austin Clarke, Sr., DL; Gage Rek, Sr., DL; Zach DeBrizzi, Sr., LB; Max McSperrin, Jr., DL.
Key losses: Anthony Scirpo, WR/DB; Jeremy Clark, OL/DL; Rahmi Rountree, WR/DB; Brian Reis, WR/DB; Joe Fancher, RB/LB; Kevin Brennan, OL/DL; Eric Collodel, OL/DL; Nick Brown, OL/LB.
Outlook: The best piece of news for the Hawks is that Kingsley returns under center. Kingsley completed 246 of 351 passes (70.1 percent) for 3,227 yards and a state-record 51 touchdowns against just eight interceptions last season. Kingsley has a chance to set the state record for career touchdowns. Kingsley has thrown 68 in his career, the state record is 112, set by former Masuk standout Casey Cochran. Woodland, though, lost a bunch to graduation, including its top two receivers, Anthony Scirpo and Rahmi Rountree, who combined for 134 catches, 1,998 yards and 37 touchdowns. But some talent remains in the receiving corps. Pinho caught 24 passes last season and should be the team’s top threat, and Fancher has the talent to be a play maker. Shea says the team is in the process of getting everyone on the same page offensively. The coach also said that the Hawks should be improved defensively. If the offense jells, the Hawks could make a return trip to the postseason.

Previous entries in the Inside The Huddle series:

Fairfield Prep
Hamden Hall
New Canaan
North Branford
North Haven
Norwich Free Academy
Notre Dame-West Haven

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Monday, August 26, 2013

Inside The Huddle: Norwich Free Academy

NFA Turf Field, Norwich
Coach: Jemal Davis (6th year, 40-15)
Conference: ECC
2012 Record: 12-1 (Class LL finalists)
2013 Kickoff: Montville, Sept. 21, 1 p.m.
Top offensive players: Marcus Outlow, 5-11, 210, Sr., RB; Ramel Williams, 5-7, 160, Sr., WR; Khaleed Exum-Strong, 5-11, 200, Jr., RB; Alex Beaudreault, 6-3, 200, Sr., QB.
Top defensive players: Tuzar Skipper, 6-3, 230, Sr., DE; J’Von Brown, 6-2, 290, So., DL; Calvin Green, 5-10, 180, Sr., LB; Airec Ricks, 5-10, 175, Sr., S.
Key losses: Joey Paparelli, QB; Ryer Caruso, WR; Tyler Beauchesne, OL; Cody Brown, OL; John Crooks, C; Steven Makowicki, LB; A.J. Gomes, LB; Elisa Formiglio, K.
Outlook: The Wildcats might have surprised some by defeating Newtown and Staples in the Class LL state playoffs before losing to Xavier in the championship game. NFA won’t surprise many this season, however. The Wildcats appear loaded, and are expected to be one of the state’s most dangerous teams. Returning is Outlow, a Register All-State selection as a junior, who as orally committed to play at Boston College. Outlow rushed 142 times for 1,336 yards and 18 touchdowns, caught 10 passes for 206 yards and four touchdowns and scored a touchdown on both a punt and kickoff return last season. Exum-Strong is another talented runner, and him and Outlow should become a formidable duo in the backfield. Last year’s starter at quarterback, Joey Paparelli, graduated, but NFA will call upon Beaudreault, a transfer from Windham, to lead the offense. Skipper has potential to be one of the state’s top defenders, while Brown appears to be a star in the making.

Previous entries in the Inside The Huddle series:

Fairfield Prep
Hamden Hall
New Canaan
North Branford
North Haven
Notre Dame-West Haven

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Sunday, August 25, 2013

FOOTBALL: Wolcott Tech assistant coach Jennifer Stango gets ready for her second season with the Wildcats

 TORRINGTON -- What’s good about playing football?

“The contact,” beams Jennifer Stango, immediately gaining credibility in her position as an assistant football coach at Wolcott Tech High School in Torrington.

Stango, a 2005 graduate of Post University (Waterbury), has played in a national women’s league for nine years, the past two with the Connecticut Wreckers in Danbury.

At 5-feet-3, she’s a linebacker and a running back.

Recovered from an ACL tear last year, Stango knows contact.

“I don’t want to hear that ‘He’s bigger than me,’” she says in her coaches role with some of Wolcott Tech’s smaller cornerbacks and receivers. “Get down low; the low man wins.”

Stango, a social studies teacher at Waterbury’s Kaynor Tech in her day job, played soccer, basketball and softball at Sacred Heart High School and at Post. A former coach recruited her for a women’s football team in Hartford; later, she switched to another team in Danbury before the Wreckers were formed two years ago.

“The ball is smaller, but the rules are the same as college,” she says, explaining that there are 50 league teams in North America, including one in Canada. The regular season, running from April through July, has eight games.


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