- COACH — STEVE CALANDE (7th year, 28-35)
- CONFERENCE — CCC Division III West
- PLAYOFF CLASS — S (314 boys enrollment)
- HOME — Cheney Tech High School Field, Manchester
- 2017 RECORD — 0-10
- 2018 OPENER — Sept. 8 vs. Avon, 1:30 p.m.
- TEAM WEBSITE — Maxpreps, FACEBOOK — @EastCatholicEaglesFootball
FB/NG/LB Tito Pasqualoni, RB/FS Luke Rumley
Once upon a time, East Catholic sat among the state’s football elite. Under Jude Kelly, the Eagles were a 1980s power — state titles in 1983, 1986 and 1987, the No. 1 ranking in the state polls after an 11-0 1987 season.
Kelly’s wishbone offense was the talk of the state and Manchester’s Catholic school was a program to be reckoned with.
Much has changed over the nearly three decades since Kelly left. East Catholic spent 10 years as a coop program with the school’s next door neighbor, Cheney Tech. There was lots of losing in the early 1990s and winning in the recent past under Steve Calande, who came to East Catholic from Old Town, Maine in 2012.
But the program is experiencing something of a reboot. Coming off an 0-10 season, the Eagles are rebuilding with four starters returning on each side of the ball.
Calande, who deploys the Double Wing offense, says his team lacks experience and depth. The Eagles graduated two significant players — Tito Pasqualoni and Luke Rumley. Pasqualoni, son of respected Connecticut native and former UConn coach Paul Pasqualoni, is on the Boston College roster as a tight end after leading East in total offense and scoring last season.
East Catholic does have leadership on both sides. Senior quarterback Harrison Ecklund has size and experience, and Calande says he will use the play action pass to control the ball. On defense, senior linebacker Matt Byam (6-4, 220) has size and will set the tone for the unit.
Six of East Catholic’s 10 opponents had winning records and two (Rocky Hill and Berlin) were playoff teams in 2017. Combined, the opponents were 56-49 last season.
“We play a crazy tough schedule where we are the smaller school something like 80 percent of the time,” Calande said. “We are rebuilding. We must embrace the underdog role.”
- Sept. 8 — AVON*, 1:30 p.m.
- Sept. 15 — at Berlin*, 6:30 p.m.
- Sept. 22 — at Bulkeley/HMTCA/Weaver*, noon
- Sept. 28 — at Bloomfield**, 7 p.m.
- Oct. 5 — ROCKY HILL**, 6:30 p.m.
- Oct. 19 — TOLLAND*, 6:30 p.m.
- Oct. 26 — PLAINVILLE**, 6:30 p.m.
- Nov. 3 — at RHAM*, 1 p.m.
- Nov. 10 — BRISTOL CENTRAL*, 1:30 p.m.
- Nov. 22 — at Northwest Catholic**, 10 a.m.
Home games in CAPS
* Conference games
** Division games