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.
- 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
- Jamie Portunato, Sr. QB (6-1, 190)
- Tyler Hansen, Jr. QB (6-2, 210)
- Derek Laurentus, Sr. OL (6-5, 270)
- Denzell Phillips, Sr. DL (6-1, 225)
- C.J. Argiento, Jr. RB (6-0, 190)
- Matt Ryan, Jr. WR (6-1, 190)
- Trevor Hallas, Sr. WR (6-2, 190)
- Isaiah Jenkins, Sr. LB (5-10, 185)
- Kyler Cyr, Sr. DB (6-0, 175)
- Mike Zigamantanis, Sr. DB (6-1, 185)
- Jackson Olson, Jr. WR (6-2, 185)
- Robert Sherry, Sr. WR (5-8, 165)
- Mike Corroza, Sr. WR (5-9, 170)
- Noah O’Connor, Sr. OL (5-10, 190)
- Jacob Plancon, Jr. RB (5-7, 155)
- Chris Ryan, Jr. LB (6-1, 225)
- Brett Leonard, Jr. LB (6-0, 180)
- Ryan Christopher, Soph. DB (5-8, 170)
Drew Hansen, WR; Scott Eherts, WR, A.J. McDonald, RB
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.
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.
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.