WALLINGFORD >> Thin in numbers, but not short on talent, the Sheehan offense has been self-described as dangerous when healthy.
The Titans, who have been injury-prone the last few seasons, scored 63 points and gained 566 yards from scrimmage in a victory over Trinity Catholic last week.
“When we’re all healthy, we can do anything,” Sheehan senior wide receiver Brandon Gauthier said. “We’ve been here all four years. We know the offense and how it runs. It’s a crisp, fast offense, so I feel like we can be really dangerous.”
Lack of depth, and injuries to several key starters were factors in the Titans’ 4-6 campaign last season. But with the majority of its skill players returning this year, the Sheehan offense has the potential to be consistently explosive.
“It could be,” Sheehan coach John Ferrazzi said. “I think that’s still yet to be proven. The potential is there, without a doubt. Right now, we have the potential to be talented. We have to stay healthy, staying healthy is part of it. We’re real thin in numbers so if we stay healthy, we have opportunities to do great things.”
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Gauthier, receiver Jeremy Gannon, quarterback Justin Lange, running back Rafael Dominguez and defensive end Jordan Lytle all missed action due to injury last season.
“Everyone staying healthy is always important,” Lange said. “We’re not the biggest team, and everyone plays a role, so keeping healthy is very important.”
Lange completed 14 of 19 passes for 258 yards and two touchdowns in last week’s victory. Lange took every pass attempt last week but Gannon, who could play any of the skill positions, will also be used under center this season.
“We let the in-game scenario take place as far as who plays what,” Ferrazzi said. “They’re two unselfish guys who want to win and who are looking at this as a great opportunity, not only for them, but for the team, too.”
The 5-foot-9, 165 pound Gannon passed for 595 yards and seven touchdowns and rushed for 436 yards and five scores last season.
“Jeremy has a unique skill-set,” Ferrazzi said. “He obviously has the speed and savvy to play receiver, he has the strength to be a running back and he has the throwing ability to be a quarterback.”
Ferrazzi felt that Gauthier (5-11, 165) could’ve had a break through season as a junior if not for injury. Still, Gauthier caught 16 passes and ran for 209 yards.
“I don’t think he had a chance to emerge last year because he broke his hand, “Ferrazzi said. “But he has the talent, he has the ball skills, and he just has that football instinct that makes him dangerous. We’re banking on him staying healthy and if he does, I really think he can shine and do great things for our team.”
Dominguez (5-4, 142), who rushed for 782 yards and 10 touchdowns last season, will again be used as the team’s primary running back.
“Obviously he’s small in size but we don’t look at him that way,” Ferrazzi said. “He’s small in size but he is incredibly strong and he has great passion for the game.
He works his tail off. He’s a veteran guy that’s well-respected around here.”
Sheehan faces Amity tonight at 7 p.m. in Woodbridge. The Titans defense, led by Lytle and Tom Francis at defensive end and Riley Konopka, Dave LaPlante, Bruce Rutowski and Brandon Selvaggi at linebacker, has improved, and features several talented and speedy athletes. But playing against the Spartans, a Class LL school, poses its challenges.
“The biggest one is that they’re a Class LL school,” Ferrazzi said. “With a bigger school comes more numbers, but we’re used to that. We don’t use that as an excuse. We feel we can match up with them.”
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