Above: Quick highlights for E.O. Smith junior Anthony Stigler, who should be one of the Panthers’ top offensive threats in 2014.
- Coach: Jody Minotti (5th season, 13-28)
- Conference: Central Connecticut Conference (Division II East)
- Playoff Class: Class L (594 boys enrollment)
- Home: E.O. Smith High School
- 2013 Record: 5-6
- 2014 Kickoff: Sept. 12 vs. Rockville, 6 p.m.
- Team website: MaxPreps Site, eosmithfootball.com
- Anthony Stigler, Jr., WR/CB (6-1, 175)
- Jacob Gross, Sr., OL/MLB (5-7, 170)
- Jesse Governale, Sr., OL/DL (6-3, 265)
- Jake Harakaly, Sr., WR/OLB (5-8, 160)
- Dan Lopez Saucier, Sr., OL/MLB (5-8, 180)
- Greg Pociask, Sr., OL/DL (5-7, 205)
- Syie Prince, Sr., RB/DL (5-11, 236)
- Darien Rexach, Sr., TE/OLB (5-7, 170)
- Luis Santos, Jr., OL/DL (6-2, 300)
- Mark Tracy, Sr., OL/DL (6-4, 290)
- Andre Wade, Sr., WR/S (5-4, 145)
- Brandon Desautels, Jr., QB (6-3, 175)
- Josh Horowtiz-Beniot, Jr., RB/MLB (5-10, 170)
Brad Marston, QB (489 yards, 7 TD passing); Tony Bell, WR/S; Nick Kyparidis, RB/DE (392 yards rushing).
After finishing 5-6 a year ago, E.O. Smith is returning a plethora of starters on both sides of the ball and is hoping it can make a move up the CCC Division II standings.
The Panthers bring back three of their top rushers from a year ago in Andre Wade, Josh Horowtiz-Benoit and Anthony Stigler. That trio combined for 842 yards on the ground last year, led by Stigler’s 367 yards and three touchdowns. Stigler, an All-CCC pick, also excelled as a kick returner and finished with 836 all-purpose yards.
They’ll have a few massive offensive linemen to run behind, including junior Luis Santos, Mark Tracy and Jesse Governale. The three average 6-foot-3, 285 pounds.
A big question is at quarterback, where Brandon Desautels will replace Brad Martin for the Panthers. The junior saw action in nine games last season, but only threw three passes.
Defensively, E.O. Smith returns nine starters, including its five top tacklers from last year. It boasts a veteran linebacker corps of Dan Lopez-Saucier (100 tackles), Jacob Gross (68), three-year starter Darien Rexach (81) and Jake Harakaly (20). Stigler, a cornerback, had a pair of interceptions. All-CCC pick Syie Prince (64 tackles), Santos, Governale and Tracy will man the defensive lines.
The same group, however, were part of a defense that surrendered 313 points, tied with RHAM for third-worst in CCC Division II in 2013.
Despite all they have returning, the Panthers couldn’t defeat opponents with a winning record last season. They were overrun by the likes of Bristol Eastern, Bristol Central, Wethersfield, Farmington and Hartford Public. All of those same opponents come calling again. E.O. Smith installed lights and will be playing at night for the first time in school history. Will this group be ready for prime time?
- Sept. 12 — vs. Rockville, 6 p.m.*
- Sept. 19 — vs. Bristol Central, 6 p.m.*
- Sept. 26 — at Wethersfield, 7 p.m.**
- Oct. 3 — vs. Maloney, 6 p.m.*
- Oct. 11 — at Farmington, 3 p.m.*
- Oct. 17 — vs. Bulkeley/HMTCA, 6 p.m.**
- Oct. 24 — vs. Hartford Public, 6 p.m.**
- Nov. 1 — at Fermi, 1 p.m.**
- Nov. 7 — vs. RHAM, 6 p.m.**
- Nov. 14 — at Bristol Eastern, 6:30 p.m.*
- Nov. 26 — at Tolland, 6 p.m.*