COACH — JASON BRUENN (13th year, 80-49)
CONFERENCE — CCC Division II West
PLAYOFF CLASS — Class M (492 boys enrollment)
HOME — Falcon Field, Meriden
2018 RECORD — 9-3, lost to Maloney in Class L semifinals
2019 OPENER — Sept. 13 vs. RHAM, 6:30 p.m.
TEAM WEBSITES — TWITTER: @PlattPantherFB
Jake Baker WR/RB/DB, Lorenzo Sanson QB, Keaton Caffrey LB
Take the snap, hand the ball off to Roberto Salas and let the junior run behind his experienced offensive line. That’s what Platt is going to do this season.
After losing their two, top running backs before last season even started, Salas burst onto the scene rushing for 180 yards and a touchdown in his varsity debut.
That was a sign of things to come for the Panthers as Salas rushed for 1,330 yards and 11 touchdowns, leading the Panthers to the Class L semifinals. Platt was 7-0 in the regular season when Salas scored a touchdown.
Platt’s returning four offensive lineman, Jaylen John, Cristian Calero, Lashaun Hiill and Daniel Hand, will be back to anchor the line and help Salas run wild again.
Clayton Bruenn, junior son of coach Jason Bruenn, is the new starting center for the Panthers and despite not starting the whole season a year ago, Bruenn saw some time.
“With four returning offensive linemen and a returning running back with quality backups, we want to run the ball,” Bruenn said.
Salas will be joined in the backfield by senior Freddy Hidalgo, a transfer from Maloney, and Corey Ford, a sophomore transfer from Florida.
The running will be key, not just because of all the returning players but because Platt has some positions to fill.
Lorenzo Sanson stepped in last season as a senior and threw for 1,458 yards and 18 touchdowns and added 371 yards and five touchdowns on the ground. He’s gone. So, too, is Jake Baker, the most versatile Panther, caught 50 passes for 728 yards and 10 touchdowns.
Senior Deavan Tanner and junior Blaise Lanoue are competing to take over for Sanson, while Bruenn said they have a handful of young receivers ready to step up.
John, a third-team New Haven Register/GameTimeCT All-State selection last year, returns with his team leading 15 tackles for a loss and 67 tackles to hold down the line and junior Jasiah Cooper (79 tackles) returns at middle linebacker.
“We are expecting our defense to be a very strong part of our team,” Bruenn said. “There has been some very lofty goals set for them.”
After a trip to the Class L semifinals, the Panthers have been moved down to Class M due toenrollment.
With as wide open as Class M will be this season the Panthers should have lofty expectations.
Platt opens up with RHAM at home and then travels to play Wethersfield before going to West Haven to play Notre Dame-West Haven in its Scheduling Alliance game.
Two teams reached the Class M playoffs a year ago with three losses.
Sept. 13 — RHAM*, 6:30 p.m.
Sept. 20 — at Wethersfield**, 7 p.m.
Sept. 27 — at Notre Dame-West Haven, 7 p.m.
Oct. 4 — E.O. SMITH*, 6:30 p.m.
Oct. 11 — at Newington**, 6:30 p.m.
Oct. 25 — BRISTOL CENTRAL**, 6:30 p.m.
Nov. 1 — at Windsor*, 7 p.m.
Nov. 8 — BRISTOL EASTERN**, 6:30 p.m.
Nov. 15 — at Manchester*, 6:30 p.m.
Nov. 28 — MALONEY**, 10:30 a.m.
Home games in CAPS
Scheduling Alliance games in bold