Above: Junior season highlight reel for all-state back Manny Sanabria, who ran for 1,619 yards and 18 touchdowns as Ledyard reached the state playoffs for the fifth time in 10 seasons. With a brand new team and a new head coach, Sanabria and the Colonels will have their work cut out for them in 2016.
- Coach: MARK FARNSWORTH (First year, interim)
- Conference: ECC Large
- Playoff Class: S (379 boys enrollment)
- Home: William Mignault Field, Ledyard HS
- 2015 Record: 10-2 (4-1 ECC Large), lost to New Fairfield in Class M semifinals
- 2016 Kickoff: Sept. 9 at Cranston East, R.I., 7 p.m.
- Team website: Maxpreps | Twitter: @ledyardfootball
- MANNY SANABRIA, Sr. RB/LB (5-10, 185)
- MAX EBDON, Jr. LB/QB/RB (6-1, 185)
- JAMES SMITH, Soph. DB/RB (5-7, 150)
- CODY CRAWFORD, Sr. WR (5-10, 175)
- JONATHAN ARCHER, Sr. DE (5-10, 185)
- BRANDEN WHIPPLE, Sr. DT (6-2, 230)
- NICK WHIPPLE, Jr. DE (5-9, 195)
- A.J. FEASTER, Sr. WR (6-1, 180)
QB Ty Ebdon, DB Luke Saccone (All-State), OL Mike Leandri, Matt Nova, Jeff O’Hanlon, DL Tannor Daggett (All-State), DB Justin Carter, LB Derrick Johnson
Following an early-season loss to eventual ECC Large Division champion Bacon Academy, Ledyard reinvented itself around junior tailback Manny Sanabria and its veteran offensive line.
The result was an eight-game win streak and a vengeance victory over Bacon in the Class M quarterfinals before losing to New Fairfield the next round.
Sanabria wound up rushing for 1,619 yards and 18 touchdowns and, deservedly, was named to the Class M All-State team.
Sanabria is back to do it all over again. But the team surrounding him has changed drastically, starting at the top.
Coach Jim Buoncore, Jr. resigned toward the end of the school year to become the school’s vice principal in addition to continuing his duties as athletic director. In the interim, Bunocore elevated assistant Mark Farnsworth to head coach.
Farnsworth has been with the program since Bunocore took over as coach back in 2008, so other than putting his own stamp on the program, don’t expect too many changes. The rest of the coaching staff returned intact.
The team, however, will look entirely different. Aside from Sanabria, one of the ECC and state’s top returning tailbacks, and junior receiver Max Ebdon, everyone else of consequence is gone — including just about everyone of the offensive line and all-state defensive back Luke Saccone.
The team has also dropped from Class M to Class S, for which it’s decidedly tougher to qualify.
So Farnsworth and his coaches have their work cut out trying to prepare Ledyard for a run at its sixth playoff berth in nine seasons.
Max Ebdon, who played at tailback last year, will get a turn at replacing his older brother Ty at quarterback. He’ll also lead the Colonels at linebacker. Smith played as a freshman last year and will start at defensive back and play tailback.
After that, it’s an overhaul in Ledyard. But Farnsworth believes the Colonels will remain competitive. They’ll prepare for their ECC competiton with a pair of non-conference games to kick off the season, beginning at nearby Cranston East, R.I.
In Week 2, Ledyard will host its former Class M playoff friends, St. Joseph, a team Ledyard was supposed to play last season before the FCIAC cut its season to nine games.
St. Joseph defeated Ledyard in the 2014 Class M-Small championship game and in a record-breaking Class M quarterfinal shootout in 2013.
Ledyard’s ECC opener vs. Bacon Academy, which is also rebuilding, is Sept. 23. The Colonels also get ECC contenders in Montville, Norwich Free Academy and New London.
|Sept. 9||at Cranston East (R.I.)||7 p.m.|
|Sept. 17||vs. St. Joseph||6:30 p.m.|
|Sept. 23||vs. Bacon Academy*||6:30 p.m.|
|Sept. 30||at Montville*||6:30 p.m.|
|Oct. 14||vs. Waterford*||6:30 p.m.|
|Oct. 21||at East Lyme**||6:30 p.m.|
|Oct. 28||at Norwich Free Academy**||6:30 p.m.|
|Nov. 4||at Windham*||6:30 p.m.|
|Nov. 11||vs. New London**||6:30 p.m.|
|Nov. 22||at Fitch**||10 a.m.|