- COACH — JASON BRUENN (12th year, 71-46)
- CONFERENCE — CCC Division II West
- PLAYOFF CLASS — L (532 boys enrollment)
- HOME — Falcon Field, Meriden
- 2017 RECORD — 4-6
- 2018 OPENER — Sept. 6 at Farmington, 6 p.m.
- TEAM WEBSITE – Twitter: @PlattPantherFB
- JAKE BAKER, Sr. WR/FS (5-7, 165)
- LORENZO SANSO, Sr. QB/OLB (5-9, 165)
- JAYLEN JOHN, Jr. OL/DL (5-10, 275)
- LASHAUN HILL, Jr. OL/DL (5-10, 305)
- TREMAYNE CARTER, Jr. WR/DB (5-9, 160)
- NEHEMIAH VARGAS, Sr. C/DL (5-7, 190)
QB Aurelio Marinelli (WestConn), WR Elijah Felton (Plymouth State), LB Zavian Arroyo (Post), LB Javon James
Heading into the 2018 season, Platt believed it would only need to replace a three-year starting quarterback, its top wide receiver and just a handful of starters on defense.
But an ACL injury to E.J. Dudley, the Panthers’ top returning rusher, during passing league will force the senior to miss his final high school season. Dudley rushed for over 1,300 yards last year.
Ian Agnew, another running back who transferred in from Southington, is also out for the season after tearing his ACL at a camp this summer. Agnew saw playing time for the Blue Knights in the backfield and scored six touchdowns last season.
Suddenly, coach Jason Bruenn has been forced to look elsewhere.
“The big plan is it has to be the next guy,” Bruenn said.
The veteran head coach said the loss of the injured players will hurt Platt more on defense than offense. Both seniors were expected to play both ways for the Panthers.
“Defenders in today’s football game, at least at Platt, they are getting harder and harder to find,” Bruenn said.
Last season, the Panthers used a handful of different variations on the offensive line. By Thanksgiving, Bruenn was starting three sophomores. “You do that, that’s a recipe for a disaster,” he said. “We had to start a lot of young kids.”
Now, four starters return on the offensive line, including senior center Miah Vargas and juniors Len John and Lashaun Hill, this season. “They have a little bit of chemistry that you don’t normally get,” Bruenn said of his returning linemen.
They are expected to form a more cohesive unit to protect first-year starting quarterback Lorenzo Sanson, who is replacing three-year starter A.J. Marinelli.
The Panthers offense heavily relied on throwing the ball with Marinelli and will now switch up their offense slightly.
“It’s not going to be the pass-first type offense, but were still going to throw the ball,” Bruenn said. “It puts more strain on the defense because of (Sanson’s) ability to run, not to sit in pocket and go through progressions. If something is not there, he’s going to run. It’s more dangerous than the kid that you know where he is going to be.”
Fortunately for Sanson, he will have two top offensive weapons at his disposal. Senior Jake Baker and junior Tremayne Carter return close to 50 catches and 10 touchdowns from last season.
“Tre can jump out of the roof. Baker has played some different positions,” Bruenn said. “He’s willing to do whatever it takes for the team. They’re going to have to make some plays.”
On the defensive side, the Panthers are bringing back only three starters. “We’re going to be young and we’re going to make mistakes,” Bruenn said.
Bruenn believes his team will be in the mix in the CCC Division II West division, which has been notoriously tough over the years.
If all goes well, a shot at the division title could come down to the final weeks of the season when the Panthers play Bristol Central and Maloney. Of course, they’ll have to get past Windsor and Middletown first. The Panthers get the two playoff contenders at Falcon Field.
- Sept. 6 — at Farmington,* 6 p.m.
- Sept. 14 — BRIDGEPORT CENTRAL, 6:30 p.m.
- Sept. 21 — NEWINGTON,** 6:30 p.m.
- Sept. 28 — WINDSOR,* 6:30 p.m.
- Oct. 12 — WETHERSFIELD,** 6:30 p.m.
- Oct. 19 — at Bristol Eastern,** 6:30 p.m
- Oct. 26 — at E.O. Smith,* 6 p.m.
- Nov. 2 — at Bristol Central,** 6 p.m.
- Nov. 9 — MIDDLETOWN,* 6:30 p.m.
- Nov. 22 — at Maloney,** 10:30 a.m.
Home games in CAPS