- Coach: Joe Della Vecchia (17th year, 94-81)
- Conference: FCIAC East
- Playoff Class: M (425 boys enrollment)
- Home: Dalling Sports Complex, St. Joseph HS, Trumbull
- 2013 Record: 13-2 (FCIAC runners up, Class M champions)
- 2014 Kickoff: Sept. 11 at Notre Dame-West Haven, 7 p.m.
- Captains: Matt Laveneziana, Chris Taylor, Troy Vazzano, Lars Pedersen, Mufasha Abdul-Basir, Conrad Pszczatowski
- Team website: MaxPreps page | stjoeshogsfootball.com
- Mufasha Abdul-Basir, Sr. RB/CB (5-10, 165)
- Lars Pedersen, Sr. WR (6-0, 190)
- Chris Taylor, Sr. T (6-2, 295)
- Nick Colucci, Sr. OLB (6-0, 205)
- Troy Vazzano, Sr. G (6-3, 255)
- Cameron Ryan, Jr. (6-3, 197)
- Conrad Pszczatowski, Sr. NG/OL (6-1, 242)
- Marc Bernatchez, Sr. T (6-3, 240)
- K’Tory Cobb, Sr. DB (5-8, 160)
- Seamus Keating WR (6-0, 170)
- Matt Laveneziana, Sr. LB (6-0, 170)
- Kevin Trefz, Jr. QB (6-1, 158)
- Jack Ganser, Sr. C (6-0, 243)
- Christian Trefz, Jr. WR (6-0, 154)
Jordan Vazzano, QB; Steve Hashemi, OL (UConn), Mark Hirschbeck, WR; Shane Miller, WR/DB; Mike Schuchmann, DL; Darren Jackson, DB; Pete Mestre, OL; Tom Adzima, C; Dylan Ryan, LB; Jack Yerxa, LB; Mike Konecny, DL; Kevin Bortnick, LB (transferred to ND-Fairfield), Shea Olayos, QB/K (transferred to ND-Fairfield)
St. Joseph fielded, perhaps, the best team in school history in 2013. And given the 11 titles the Hogs have won, that’s a feat.
The Hogs amassed more than 7,000 yards of offense, shattering school marks along the way, reached their first FCIAC Championship game and won the Class M title in a record-breaking playoff burst. St. Joseph outscored its opponents 200-99 and scored 261 points in its final four games.
St. Joseph was built to win last year and it did, 52-16 over Brookfield for its third title in five years.
Two pretty huge names from the title run return for another run: All-State back Mufasha Abdul-Basir (2,481 rushing, 30 TDs) and All-State receiver Lars Pedersen (1,087 receiving, 16 TDs), who’s committed to play at Cornell. The seniors accounted for 54 percent of the team’s offense and 44 percent of the team’s 689 points last year.
“They’re as good as you get,” St. Joseph coach Joe Della Vecchia said. “Lars is one of, if not the top receivers in the state. And Muf is one of the best backs around. They can play anywhere on the field, offense and defense.”
But it’s almost entirely a new team around them. The Hogs will miss Shane Miller’s 1,800 yards of total offense. They’ll miss all-state lineman Steve Hashemi (UConn) and receiver Mark Hirschbeck.
Two starters return from last year’s massive offensive line, tackle Chris Taylor and guard Troy Vazzano. The rest will be learning on the job.
Also gone is massive All-State quarterback Jordan Vazzano, who scorched the state for 3,065 yards and 41 touchdowns
Junior Kevin Treftz, whose build and arm strength won’t be confused with Vazzano’s (who’s will?), takes over at quarterback. Della Vecchia has tailored the offense to take advantage of Treftz’s strengths. “We’ve told him: We’re not asking you to be Jordan. We want you to be Kevin. He’s responded to it pretty well in our preseason scrimmages.”
As good as St. Joseph’s offense was, its defense was prone to giving up big yardage last year. Della Vecchia believes the linebackers, led by Nick Colucci and Matt Laveneziana, are stronger and faster than they were a year ago. He’s particularly high on a 6-foot-3, 197-pound junior Cameron Ryan, who had 31 tackles in the postseason. “He had two monster games against Barlow and Brookfield,” Della Vecchia said. “The kid’s a stud. He can flat-out play.”
The Hogs will miss Mike Schuchmann on the defensive line. Conrad Pszczatowski will a young front this season.
The names are familiar, but the team’s different and Della Vecchia believes they’re hungry for another title run. “Every class is different and I think they want to create their own name for themselves,” he said. “I wasn’t sure where were were mentally this preseason, but our last scrimmage (vs. Foran) they were ready to play. They were dying to get out there. I know they want to win.”
St. Joseph’s season will, once again, live or die from the first four weeks of the season. The Hog play Notre Dame-West Haven, Class LL finalist Fairfield Prep, Ridgefield and FCIAC favorite Darien. Last year, St. Joseph won them all, barely in the case of Fairfield Prep. Thousands are expected for the Week 2 rematch of former MBIAC rivals and Della Vecchia St. Joseph might move the game to Friday night at a neutral site to accommodate.
There’s also a great chance St. Joseph will have lights installed at the Dalling Sports complex on campus before a November 1 clash with defending league and Class L champ New Canaan while the Hogs are in the middle of a six-game home-stand.
- Sept. 11 — at Notre Dame-West Haven, 7 p.m.
- Sept. 20 — Fairfield Prep, 1 p.m.
- Sept. 26 — at Ridgefield, 7 p.m.
- Oct. 2 — at Darien, 3 p.m.
- Oct. 11 — Wilton, 2 p.m.
- Oct. 17 — Bassick, 3 p.m.
- Oct. 25 — Trinity Catholic, 2 p.m. –
- Nov. 1 — New Canaan, 1:30 p.m.
- Nov. 8 — Fairfield Warde, 2 p.m.
- Nov. 15 — McMahon, 1:30 p.m.
- Nov. 26 — at Trumbull, 6 p.m.