SIMSBURY – Heading onto the field for the Simsbury football team’s opening game at Hall high school, Aiden Boeshans wasn’t the most confident.
“I came into that game jittery, just absolutely terrified,” Boeshans said.
It was his first career varsity start as a quarterback, after playing tight end last season.
Simsbury tied the game with six seconds left and then won in overtime. Since then the Trojans have just kept winning.
For the first time since 2002 the Trojans are 6-0 and the junior quarterback is an important reason why.
Boeshans has thrown for 907 yards and eight touchdowns, and rushed for 372 yards and seven more scores.
“He makes our lives easier, knowing that he is going to do the right thing with the ball,” Simsbury coach Dave Masters said. “That you have an option to run him. If things break down, he knows when to run. He knows his reads, he knows when to do things.”
It wasn’t always like that.
After the Trojans ended their season a year ago, Masters told Boeshans he wanted him to switch to quarterback and compete for the starting role.
The junior went right to work the Monday after Thanksgiving, throwing on the field with all of his receivers as often as he could.
“We kind of knew it was going to be a battle for the quarterback spot with Jackson Butler graduating,” senior wide receiver and defensive back Zach Gilbert said. “We knew if we could help Aiden anyway we could, it would help him and his confidence and his ability to lead our team.”
He was going to be a junior taking over a senior laden Trojans team.
Building confidence was key for Boehshans, who played quarterback on the junior varsity team as a sophomore, but struggled to be confident.
Boeshans remembers two conversations that helped him.
During a car ride conversation last year, Butler told him being confident will help the team respect him.
And after Boeshans was under-throwing the receivers during a practice, wide receiver’s coach Nick Colagiovanni pulled him aside.
“He said you shouldn’t be worried about making the throw, you should be excited to make that throw,” Boeshans said. “I can’t wait to hit this post, score this touchdown.”
Boeshans took the conversations to heart. As he became more confident, he became more relaxed in the huddle, which stood out to the seniors.
“His will to win, he’ll do whatever it takes,” senior linebacker and offensive lineman Tommy Guilfoyle said. “He’ll hand the ball off 20 times if we need to do that. He will do whatever it takes.
“He’s really stepped up as a junior, that shows a lot about his character.”
As the season has continued and the wins have piled up, Boeshans has used his confidence to stay level headed.
“He handles it well, it doesn’t matter,” Masters said. “It didn’t matter in the Hall game when he was struggling and we weren’t scoring points. It didn’t when things weren’t going perfect at New Britain or things weren’t perfect at Manchester.
“Whatever the situation, he is pretty consistently calm. Throws a pick, turns the ball over, something doesn’t go right, he’s kind of the same.”
That mindset will help him as the Trojans travel to play CCC powerhouse Southington (5-1) on Friday.
The Blue Knights haven’t lost a home game in the regular season since 2017, when they lost to East Hartford in the final minutes.
“I would say it’s the biggest game of my high school career,” Guilfoyle said. “We’ve had this date circled for a long time, we were staying quiet about it, but know we can finally talk about it. This is the one.
“We’ve beaten all the teams we played, but we haven’t really played any legitimate teams and this is the one. If we win this game, this will give us a lot of momentum going into the end of the season.”
Aside from Boeshans’ play on the field, the Trojans’ defense has been outstanding.
The front seven of Ryan Guilfoyle, Brett Araniti and Arjun Bhamidipati on the line and the linebacker corps of Tommy Guilfoyle, Mohammed Haroon, Collin Crowe and Michael Schuiltz has continually put pressure on opposing team’s quarterbacks.
“It’s a lot of fun,” Gilbert said of the team’s ability to put pressure on the quarterback. “We love to see it, we love when the ball is in the air and we can make plays.”
The team has allowed 8.6 points per game, including two shutouts. They have nine sacks and have made 12 interceptions.
“We’ve stopped the run and forced them to throw in situations where the secondary has made plays,” Tommy Guilfoyle said.
The Trojans’ defense will have to continue to play that way if they plan on slowing down the Blue Knights’ high powered office that has scored 38.3 points per game, 44.4 in games that they have won.
“They reload. They’re a powerhouse. They’re a great team,” Tommy Guilfoyd said. “We’ve kind of modeled our program after them, trying to do what they do. They do a great job.”