SWC Football 2014: New Milford preview

Above: Highlight reel for New Milford junior QB Tyler Hansen, who started a majority of last year in place of injured QB Jamie Portunado. The two are battling for the full-time position in 2014.

New Milford (old) 100pxVitals

  • Coach: Larry Badaracco (1st year)
  • Conference: SWC Colonial
  • Playoff Class: LL (708 boys enrollment)
  • Home: New Milford HS Field
  • 2013 Record: 4-7 (3-7 SWC)
  • 2014 Kickoff: Sept. 12 vs. Newtown, 7 p.m.
  • Team website: MaxPreps page

Top players

Key losses

Drew Hansen, WR; Scott Eherts, WR, A.J. McDonald, RB

Outlook

Football futures in New Milford were looking bright when the school hired championship coach John Murphy from Masuk last year. The Green Wave took some lumps in his first season, but optimism was high as the team emerged from spring camp.

Then Murphy suddenly resigned in June, and New Milford’s ship was rudderless once again.

The school district, which would love nothing more than a worthy football program, turned to assistant Larry Badaracco to set things right. The 32-year old Danbury native who played at Immaculate and WestConn, joined the team toward the end of last season. When Murphy resigned, guided the program’s offseason weight and passing league team.

[SWC 2014 PREVIEWS]

So, while there might be a learning curve as Badaracco tailors the team to his style, at least New Milford’s players are somewhat familiar with him.

Badaracco inherits perhaps the largest rosters in the SWC. New Milford, which moved up to Class LL this year and is the second-largest school in the SWC after Newtown, is chock full of players that saw time a year ago. Then again, they’re relatively unproven on a big stage. Every position, Badaracco said, is up for grabs.

“The Green Wave football team is going to build off last year’s successes and will move forward to become a more complete football program,” Badaracco said.

One of Badaracco’s primary concerns will be tightening up a defense that last year allowed 418 points, second-worst in the league. Many of the same players return, including All-SWC defensive lineman Denzell Phillips, linebacker Isaiah Jenkins and backs Kyler Cyr and Mike Zigamantanis.

On the offensive side, Jamie Portunato returns a year after a freak arm injury ended his season a week before the season opener. He’s been battling for the full-time job with junior Tyler Hansen, who played the majority of last season in Portunado’s absence.

Whoever wins the QB job will have a variety of targets. Though New Milford graduated offensive stars Drew Hansen, Scott Eherts and A.J. McDonald, a deep corps of senior and junior receivers — Robert Sherry, Mike Corroza, Trevor Hallas, Jackson Olson and Matt Ryan — move up to replace them. Juniors C.J. Argiento and Jacob Plancon will man the tailback positions.

Derek Laurentus, who’s 6-foot-5, 270 pounds, and Noah O’Connor lead the offensive line.

“I’m pretty familiar with what we have,” Badaracco said last month. “I’m pretty in tune with our abilities, our strengths and our weaknesses at this point. We have a lot of competition at all the positions across the board. We have a lot of kids and a lot of enthusiasm.”

New Milford’s early schedule is rough. kickoff the season vs. defending SWC champion Newtown at home and then hit the road to face Masuk. The Green Wave could battling uphill the rest of the year. Luckily, the rest of the schedule isn’t as daunting (Brookfield’s not on it) in what is looking like a wide-open SWC.

2014 Schedule

Sept. 12 — Newtown**, 7 p.m.
Sept. 19 — at Masuk**, 7 p.m.
Sept. 26 — at Stratford**, 7 p.m.
Oct. 2 — Pomperaug**, 7 p.m.
Oct. 10 — Notre Dame-Fairfield*, 7 p.m.
Oct. 16 — at Kennedy, 6 p.m.
Oct. 24 — Bunnell**, 7 p.m.
Oct. 31 — at Joel Barlow*, 7 p.m.
Nov. 7 — at Bethel*, 7 p.m.
Nov. 14 — Weston*, 7 p.m.
Nov. 27 — at New Fairfield*, 10 a.m.

Comments

  1. Jeff says

    Horrible article half the stuff isnt true and the heights and weights are all over the place. Where did u get this info from?

    • Sean Patrick BowleySean Patrick Bowley says

      Heights weights, names and general “competition at every level” synopsis from the coach. Rest is what I’ve seen — passing league info — etc and what I knew from last year. What’s the dispute?

      • GWFB14 says

        Well for 1 The kids are not familiar with Badaracco. He was only hired in January of 2014. As for the Defense, Denzel Phillips will be the best defensive player in the SWC if put in the right spot.

        • Sean Patrick BowleySean Patrick Bowley says

          Re: Familiar: Didn’t say they were comfortable, just familiar because 1. When I spoke with him last month, He said he joined the team part time in late November. And 2. He was with them during the spring and off-season training, including passing leagues. I’m comparing that to somebody who came fresh out of nowhere, like Chris Pace from East Harlem to Weston.

          Also: Phillips got his plug, I said he was a defensive leader and was all-SWC last year.

          • GWFB14 says

            I hear ya on what information you had received. But I’m telling you a lot of the information that’s was told to you is not correct. The kids were not even introduced to him until mid January. Good luck to them, as for Phillips you did give him his props, I’m just saying he will be the best defensive player on the SWC.

          • Sean Patrick BowleySean Patrick Bowley says

            OK, will clarify with “somewhat.” …What other information told to me was not correct other than that and the heights and weights (I’m keeping those as reported to us).

  2. Bill says

    I’m not real interested in the kids height and weight. Here is what I am interested in. I don’t get why coach Murphy is still being protected. Sean, everyone knows that Murphy’s “resignation” was not by choice. As plugged in as you are I am sure you know the details as well as everyone in town and in the SWC. So why do you continue to mislead? Is it legal concerns or is he a buddy? I just don’t get it

    • Sean Patrick BowleySean Patrick Bowley says

      I’m not misleading: He did resign on his own. The NewsTimes did report that the resignation came as New Milford’s administration was beginning an investigation for something it wouldn’t disclose. Rumors are everywhere, but confirmed facts are not. We report facts from direct sources, not what people tell us third-, fourth- or fifth-hand. If people want to give us details that can be proven, by all means: sbowley@nhregister.com

      • Bill says

        That is a fair response Sean. Unfortunately, it may never be publicly disclosed as I am sure a non-disclosure was signed in the rush to move him out. I guess I am still upset over the disappointment and letdown that all of the boys experienced after they completely bought in and worked so hard. A life lesson?…time will tell

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