- Coach: BOB MAFFEI (19th year, 113-60)
- Conference: FCIAC East
- Playoff Class: LL (1,012 boys enrollment)
- Home: Jerry McDougall Stadium, Trumbull
- 2015 Record: 5-4 (4-3 FCIAC East)
- 2016 Kickoff: Sept. 9 at Ridgefield, 7 p.m.
- Team website: Trumbullfootball.com | MaxPreps
- JOHN McELROY, Sr. QB (6-3, 190)
- MARKEESE WOODS, Jr. RB (5-11, 175)
- RYAN KELLY, Sr. LB (6-1, 220)
- DANNY HOFFMANN, Sr. WR (5-7, 170)
- JOE TURNER, Sr. T/DE (6-0, 225)
- JAKE DUDAL, Sr. C/DE 6-0, 260
- DUSTIN SIQUERA, Sr. FS (5-8, 170)
- TROY MURRAY, Sr. WR (6-2, 180)
- ANGELO TUCCINARDI, Sr. SS (6-0, 175)
- ZACH HESHE, Sr. LB (5-7, 180)
- HARRISON KLAS, Sr. LB (5-11, 210)
- PARKER DELLAQUILLA, Sr. T/G (6-0, 220)
- ERIC PALINKAS, Jr. T/G (6-4, 270)
- PATRICK DALY, Jr. WR (5-10, 160)
- TREVOR ARGANESE, Sr. DB (5-8, 160)
- PETER RAVERTA, Jr. WR
- ZACH LOMBARDI, Sr. WR (6-4, 200)
OL/DL Cory Haslam (Cornell), OL/DL Justin Appleby (Central Connecticut State), SS Jonny DeRosa, WR/FS Stephen Nagy (Wagner)
One of the enduring memories of Trumbull in 2015 was when the Eagles were caught, flat-footed as a hailstorm of touchdown passes rained down on them at Dunning Field in New Canaan in November.
At the time, it was a big game for Trumbull, a test of their strength against one of the most prolific teams of this era. Of course, the Eagles became a footnote in one of the greatest passing days in Connecticut history. New Canaan’s Michael Collins threw nine touchdown passes in the first three quarters of in a 69-26 victory.
Afterward, many scolded New Canaan and questioned its motives. But Trumbull coach Bob Maffei paid the controversy no mind. “I don’t worry about all that stuff,” he said. “Just play the game.”
Instead, he was more concerned about how his team performed beneath the klieg lights. And the answer was: Not well.
It just wasn’t their time. Trumbull finished the year 5-4.
“We were a JV team last year,” Maffei concedes now. “They were all young. Now they’re all back, so we’ll see what happens.”
Indeed, Trumbull returns one of the most veteran clubs in the FCIAC.
The Eagles are blessed with a three-year starter at quarterback in 6-foot-3 John McElroy, who threw for over 2,000 yards and 19 touchdown passes as a junior. Maffei says McElroy is an Ivy League-caliber student and a versatile athlete (he was a standout on Trumbull’s basketball team last year) who knows the offense and everyone’s role in it.
“Having a veteran back there who knows what he’s doing is nice,” Maffei said. “He’s probably one of the fastest players on our team. If he wants to run, he can run. We’d rather have him back there throwing. He throws the deep ball very well and has a very good touch on it.”
McElroy has plenty of options. Trumbull returns versatile tailback Markeese Woods, an All-FCIAC first team selection who was second on the team with 1,035 all-purpose yards and led the team with 11 touchdowns. Maffei said Woods, who catches passes out of the backfield as much as he runs, has become stronger and faster than he was a year ago and should to give opponents fits.
“He shined a little bit last year, but he also made a lot of sophomore mistakes,” Maffei said. “It was his first year playing varsity and you’re going to have growing pains. But he’s worked very hard this offseason. He’s getting schools interested in him. We’ll find ways to get him the ball.”
Also back is the entire receiving corps, particularly All-FCIAC second teamer Danny Hoffmann, who caught a whopping 77 passes last year for nearly 1,000 yards and seven touchdowns. What Hoffmann lacks in size, Maffei said, he makes up with exceptional quickness and a nose for getting open. “He should be a scoreboard changer,” Maffei said. “Johnny and Markeese have straight-line speed. Danny’s quick and elusive.”
Hoffmann leads a returning class that also includes juniors Patrick Daley (18 catches, 200 yards, 1 TD), Peter Raverta (13 catches, 324 yards, 5 TDs) and Dustin Siqueira (11 catches, 187 yards, 3 TDs). Senior Zach Lombardi (6-4, 200) will also give McElroy a large and speedy target.
Though Trumbull lost two boulders on the offensive line — Cory Haslam and Justin Appleby — the rest of the offensive line returns, senior Jake Dudal, a second-team All-FCIAC performer, Joe Turner, Parker Dellaquilla and Eric Palinkas. Maffei swears by their offseason training and says what they lack in overall size, they will make up with quickness and athleticism.
On defense, Trumbull returns three quarters of its secondary — Troy Murray, a three-year starter at corner, Siquera at free safety and Angelo Luccinardi who will move from strong safety to cornerback. They will be called on to replace graduated starter Jon DeRosa’s four interceptions.
Harrison Klas (5.7 tackles/game) and Ryan Kelly (4.5) both return at linebacker, giving that unit a solid core. The defensive line will be anchored by Turner, who is among the state’s top-returning pass rushers (he had 11 sacks and 18 tackles for a loss as a sophomore), Dudal (8 TFL) and senior Zach Heche (7 TFL). Maffei says others will be called on to help the front line. “We’re going to have a nice rotation there,” Maffei said. “We’re going to try and play a lot of people.”
They’ll look to improve a defense that was solid, but inconsistent in big moments last year.
Trumbull’s offense, meanwhile, averaged nearly 30 points per game and Maffei expects the unit to improve. He and his staff reached out to Baylor University and will employ the Bears’ popular, attacking style of offense into Trumbull’s game plan.
“We just want to attack the end zone,” he said. “We’re going to be exciting, a lot of fun to watch. It’s the best five bucks you can spend on a Friday night. We have music, cannons going off and a lot of fun players to watch.”
What ultimately doomed Tumbull last year were mistakes typical of a young team. If Trumbull is serious enough about making a legitimate run at its first state playoff berth since 2010, that has to be the team’s focus.
“We had a lot of pre-snap penalties, procedure penalties, jumping offsides, dropping TD passes and fumbling going into the end zone,” Maffei said. “We left at least two touchdowns off the board every game. Hopefully we can improve on that.”
Trumbull has the same schedule as last year, but with the elimination of the FCIAC championship game, the Eagles have added Ridgefield — another preseason team to watch — to kick off season. Trumbull also plays Greenwich, New Canaan and St. Joseph at key points of the season. Winning at least half these games will go a long way into determining the team’s fate.
|Sept. 9||at Ridgefield**||7 p.m.|
|Sept. 16||vs. Fairfield Ludlowe**||7 p.m.|
|Sept. 24||at Westhill**||1:30 p.m.|
|Sept. 30||vs. Trinity Catholic**||7 p.m.|
|Oct. 15||at Greenwich**||3 p.m.|
|Oct. 21||vs. Bridgeport Central**||7 p.m.|
|Oct. 28||at McMahon*||7 p.m.|
|Nov. 4||vs. New Canaan**||7 p.m.|
|Nov. 11||at Norwalk**||7 p.m.|
|Nov. 18||BYE||6:30 p.m.|
|Nov. 24||vs. St. Joseph*||10 a.m.|