Above: Highlight reel for Montville junior OL/DL Kevin Murtha, who figures to lead a young, but experienced line crucial to the Indians’ defense and retooling run game.
- Coach: Tanner Grove (9th season, 55-22)
- Conference: ECC Medium
- Playoff Class: S (352 boys enrollment)
- Home: Montville High Field
- 2013 Record: 7-4 (3-2 ECC Medium)
- 2014 Kickoff: Sept. 12 vs. Windham, 6:30 p.m.
- Team website: MaxPreps page
- Tyler Quidgeon, Sr. QB (6-4)
- Jordane Virgo, Sr. RB/DB (5-9, 165)
- Sean Peterson, Sr. RB/DE
- Chance Collier, Sr. WR
- Jon McCray, Jr. RB/WR/QB/DB (5-11, 183)
- Cody Calash Jr. WR/CB
- Kevin Murtha OL/DL (6-2, 275)
- Troy Sullivan OL/DL (6-0, 260)
- Lucas Berube, OL (6-0, 196)
- Tyler Price, Jr. FS
- Kevin Dougherty, Jr. OLB/DB
Jeremiah Crowley, RB (CHSCA All-State)
Montville doesn’t like ceding anything to anyone in the ECC. It doesn’t happen too often. Under coach Tanner Grove, the Indians have reached the state playoffs four times in eight years, including a Class SS championship berth in 2009. They bring lofty goals into every season.
Despite a relatively young squad, Montville was its usual, competitive self in 2013. But the Indians lost two games too many — a 26-21 upset by Killingly’s hands particularly hurt — and finished two spots out of the Class S playoff race. Which was too bad for fans who wanted to see back Jeremiah Crowley strut his stuff in the state playoffs.
Alas, Crowley, an All-State back who ripped the ECC and broke the single-game state record for rushing yards against Stonington, has graduated.
The good news is that the rest of last year’s team returns virtually intact. Grove said he played a lot of sophomores who “endured growing pains.” A year later, the Indians boast a deep class of juniors led by what Grove says is a great senior class. He’s hoping last year’s experience pays off. “We expect much more from them this season,” Grove said.
The offensive and defensive lines could be a strength. Juniors Kevin Murtha, Troy Sillivan and Lucas Berube all started on the offensive line a year ago and will be charged with making Grove’s run-oriented attack hum.
Seniors Jordane Virgo, a hurdler on Montville’s track team, and Sean Peterson, who also stars at defensive end, should have plenty of room to run. Tall quarterback Tyler Quidgeon returns to direct the offense. Starters Cody Calash and Jon McCray will be options at receiver.
Montville’s defense, which surrendered 310 points last year, should be vastly improved with eight starters back, including Murtha, Peterson, Sullivan and Kevin Dougherty manning the front seven and McCray, Calash and Tyler Price in the secondary.
Montville has a heavyweight early-season schedule. They’ll tackle Windham and Waterford in Weeks 1 and 2 before getting Stonington, Ledyard and NFA in a crucial three-game stretch that will prove if these Indians are ready for a return to prime time.
Sept. 12 — Windham*, 6:30 p.m.
Sept. 19 — at Waterford**, 6:30 p.m.
Sept. 26 — Bacon Academy**, 6:30 p.m.
Oct. 3 — Woodstock Academy*, 6:30 p.m.
Oct. 10 — at Stonington**, 6:30 p.m.
Oct. 17 — Ledyard**, 6:30 p.m.
Oct. 24 — Norwich Free Academy*, 6:30 p.m.
Oct. 31 — Killingly**, 6:30 p.m.
Nov. 7 — at East Lyme*, 6:30 p.m.
Nov. 21 — at Fitch*, 6:30 p.m.
Nov. 26 — at St. Bernard/Norwich Tech*, 6:30 p.m.
** Division games