- COACH — JOEY DEVELLIS (1st year)
- CONFERENCE — FCIAC West
- PLAYOFF CLASS — Class LL (999 boys enrolled)
- HOME — Walter Kennedy Stadium
- 2017 RECORD — 4-6
- 2018 OPENER — Sept. 7 at Ludlowe, 6 p.m.
- TEAM WEBSITE — WesthillFB.com | Maxpreps | TWITTER — @WesthillFB
- AJ LACCONA, Sr. QB (6-2, 185)
- JAKAI YOUNG, RB/WR (6-0, 160)
- MARCELLOUS BELL, Sr. RB/LB (5-11, 205)
- RICHARD FELIUS, Sr. RB (5-6, 150)
- JOHN MENDEZ, Sr. RB/FS (5-11, 170)
RB/LB SaQuon Kelly, WR/DB Noodles Metayer (All-State), T/DT Jemeson Charlestin, OL/DL Christian Beir, OL/DL Qu’ran Cameron
With former head coach Frank Marcucio abruptly leaving the job this summer, the Westhill football program could have gone into a free fall with nobody in charge.
The vacancy did not last long, howefver, as the Vikings stayed in house by hiring defensive coordinator Joe DeVellis as the new coach within a week.
That continuity saved what could have been a disaster for the Vikings and now the team is ready to prove something to its new head man.
“It helps that I was in the program before, but my head is still spinning, a lot,” said DeVellis, who starred at Newtown as a through 2006. “The transition to all the administrative stuff is wild. Having to stay in constant contact with parents, coaches and the AD has been a whirlwind. It has been nice just going to practice and dealing with just football a little bit.”
On the field, the team took heavy graduation losses along both lines. No starters are returning up front on offense and none of the receivers or running backs. But the returning players feel they can once again finish above .500 and win a city championship.
AJ Laccona returns at quarterback, giving the team experience at a valuable spot, though the senior is being asked to expand his leadership role.
“We are just going to try and keep getting better each day. We want the kids to grind, grind, grind every day and just enjoy the process,” DeVellis said. “(Laccona) is starting to become more of a vocal leader for us. Last year we had a lot of big personalities on the offense, which we don’t have this year, but having him there is an awesome luxury.”
With a season under his belt, Laccona is more confident coming into the 2018 campaign.
“It’s different because I am seeing a lot of things that I am used to now after having a full varsity season,” Laccona said. “When we found out Coach DeVellis was being hired, not only me, but the whole team was fired up. He’s a coach we all know and he always brings hype to the team. Having him as a head coach is a big boost for us.”
Juniors Marcellous Bell and Richard Felius will be the feature running backs with John Mendez taking over one of the wideout spots and Jakai Young coming back at receiver.
Mendez said that while having to replace graduating standout wideouts like Noodles Metayer and Wyklend Turenne will not be easy, the new receivers are developing a strong rapport with Laccona.
“Last year, I didn’t play offense, at all. This has been a learning experience and having AJ (Laccona) back there gives us all a lot of confidence,” Mendez said. “Yeah we don’t have Noodles or Wyklend but overall I think we have a more skilled receiving corps this year.”
The coaches realize the team is not competing for a FCIAC championship but rather trying to finish above .500 in back-to-back seasons and trying to bring the city championship back to North Stamford.
“We just want to compete. We are here to fight and we don’t want to lay down for anybody,” DeVellis said. “I expect us, the way our schedule is set, to be competitive in a lot of games. We want to go and scrap and claw. We have had this ‘be a dog’ mantra this whole preseason which is how I was brought up and I am trying to get that culture to the whole team now.”
The first three games of the season against Ludlowe, Norwalk and Danbury should give the Vikings an idea of what kind of a season it will be before taking on the likes of New Canaan and Greenwich later in the fall.
- Sept. 7 — at Ludlowe**, 6 p.m.
- Sept. 15 — NORWALK**, 1 p.m.
- Sept. 22 — DANBURY**, 1 p.m.
- Sept. 29 — at New Canaan**, 1:30 p.m.
- Oct. 6 — at Capital/Achievement, 1:30 p.m.
- Oct. 20 — GREENWICH**, 2 p.m.
- Oct. 27 — TRINITY CATHOLIC**, 1 p.m.
- Nov. 2 — at Trumbull**, 7 p.m.
- Nov. 10 — WILTON*, 1 p.m.
- Nov. 21 — at Stamford*, 6 p.m.
Home games in CAPS
* Conference game