DURHAM >> After four straight winning seasons, including a Class MM semifinals appearance as a cooperative program with Vinal Tech in 2009, the Coginchaug football team took a step back a year ago. The Blue Devils finished 3-7 and, as Hall of Fame coach Bill Parcells was known to say, you are what your record says you are.
On further inspection, however, the Blue Devils lost games against Hyde, Old Saybrook and Haddam-Killingworth by less than one score last fall and the goal this season will be to execute better in those close games.
“We’re looking to improve on that,” said Coginchaug coach John Bozzi. “We want to turn those close losses into wins.”
This is Bozzi’s ninth season at the helm. His teams have gone 31-20 over the past five years.
The Blue Devils lost Ian Augur, an all-state center who is playing at Springfield College, and fullback/defensive end Sean Harper to graduation.
Bozzi’s optimistic Coginchaug can be Pequot Conference contenders again. His enthusiasm stems from the 64 players that came out for the team this fall. “That’s our strength,” Bozzi said. “We’ve got some numbers and kids that are team oriented and hard workers.”
Leading the way are senior tri-captains Jack Granger (running back), Tyler Meeker (quarterback) and Ty Kartiganer (linebacker).
Meeker, who is in his third season as the starting quarterback, suffered a broken wrist in the second game of his junior year. He came back and played with a cast the rest of the way. He also suffered a broken leg during spring practice.
“Tyler is an incredibly tough kid and we couldn’t ask more from him,” said Bozzi.
Joining Meeker and Granger in the backfield will be junior Jake Ober, while junior Devin Rodrigue will help the Blue Devils at the tight end spot.
Seniors Brian Paxton and Ryan Murphy will anchor the offensive line.
“Our expectations are the same as every year,” Bozzi said. “We’re going to work hard and compete. We also want to play well against the Shoreline teams (Valley/Old Lyme, Morgan, Old Saybrook/Westbroook, Hyde, North Branford and Haddam-Killingworth) in our division.”
Coginchaug’s season begins tonight at home against Sports Medical Sciences Academy. Kick-off is at 4:45 p.m.