- Coach: Tim King (17th year)
- Conference: Pequot Sassacus
- Playoff Class: S (535 boys enrollment)
- Home: Richard Blythe Field, Deep River
- 2013 Record: 11-2 (Pequot South champions, lost to Brookfield in Class M semifinals)
- 2014 Kickoff: at Nonnewaug, Sept. 13, noon
- Captains: Chris Jean-Pierre, Justin Cheverier, Dan Figuenick, Jack Gianconia, Tyler Cheverier
- Chris Jean-Pierre, Sr., QB/DB/P
- Justin Cheverier, Sr., RB/LB (5-9, 180)
- Dan Figuenick, Sr., OL/LB
- Jack Gianconia, Jr., OL/DL
- Tyler Cheverier, Sr., OL/DL (5-9, 190)
- Evan Smith, Sr., WR/RB/DB (5-11, 130)
- Justin Burgess, Sr., WR/TE/LB
- Andrew Tuscano, Sr., WR/DB
- Tajhay Marshall, Sr., OL/LB
- Will Visiglio, Jr., OL/DL
- Christian Marraquinn, Sr., DB
- Sean Hunt, Jr., RB/DB/LB
- Jared Roche, Jr., WR/LB/K
Phil Cohen (QB), Jean Luc-Poulard (DB), Tyler Jaynes (RB), Cole Turner (OL), Jackson Driscoll (OL), Peter Barry (DL), David Peck (WR), Iestyn Norton (OL)
Most teams starting a new quarterback along with a new, revamped offensive line would head into the season with some trepidation.
But that doesn’t seem to be the case for defending Pequot Conference champion Valley Regional/Old Lyme.
The new quarterback, senior captain Chris Jean-Pierre, will be directing a talented, diversified attack, while the offensive line has the size and potential to be very good.
With nine starters returning to a defensive unit that has traditionally been one of the Pequot’s best under longtime coordinator Paul Ginter, the Warriors should contend for another Pequot championship in 2014.
“We can compete but we’ve got a tough schedule again and that’s going to make things difficult,” said Valley Regional/Old Lyme coach Tim King, now in his 17th season. “There’s some goods teams out there, teams like Morgan, North Branford, Coginchaug, Avon, and Hyde. And H-K is always tough on Thanksgiving. Those are the teams we have to beat if we’re going to make another run at the playoffs.”
Last season, the Warriors went a school-record 11-0 during the regular season, its second unbeaten season in four years (Valley is 37-4 during that span). Valley blitzed Quinebaug, 48-3, in the Class M quarterfinals before a heartbreaking 20-13 loss to Brookfield in the semifinals.
The Warriors, who have been to the state semifinals in three of the past four years, have dropped to Class S this season.
“The team goal is obviously to win the state championship,” said Jean-Pierre. “(The Brookfield loss) is a thing of the past but it definitely made us hungrier to get back there and advance from the semis to the finals. Just helping the team win is my goal every game.”
Jean-Pierre’s move from wide receiver to quarterback seems to be a perfect fit for Valley’s read zone and spread offense.
“Chris is really learning on the run and he’s doing a great job,” King said. “It’s tough when you’ve got eight guys wanting to tear your head off coming at you. But the summer passing leagues were a good start for us and now we’ve got a couple of scrimmages under our belt. Chris is catching on to it the more he’s playing and the more he is feeling comfortable there.”
Valley’s dynamic attack will also feature senior captain Justin Cheverier, an all-state linebacker, who rushed for 900 yards last season with 19 touchdowns, and speedy senior receiver Evan Smith.
Valley’s deep receiving corps includes seniors Andrew Tuscano, Justin Burgess, and Tyler Boland, juniors Jared Roche and Gus Cummins, and freshman Ernest Jean-Pierre, Chris’ brother.
Sean Hunt, a junior, will see action at running back.
The Warriors revamped offensive line is anchored by senior captain and center Dan Figuenick. Junior captain Jack Gianconia, an all-league nose guard on defense, and junior Will Visiglio, who missed last season with a knee injury, are the tackles. Senior captain Tyler Cheverier has moved from tackle to guard, while senior Tajhay Marshall has solidified the line by moving from tight end to guard.
“Tajhay has done wonders and really helped the team moving to the O-line,” said King. “We lost a lot of good players last year there and all of those guys have stepped up. We’re pretty big across the whole front and it’s starting to jell.”
The Warriors season opener is at Nonnewaug on Saturday, Sept. 13 at noon.
The highlight of Valley’s schedule is the Sept. 27 (1 p.m.) contest against Old Saybrook-Westbrook that will be played at Old Lyme High School.
King’s father, George, 91, who was an original member of Old Lyme’s last football team before serving in World War II, will perform the ceremonial coin toss before the Valley-OSW game that afternoon.
“The kids are really excited to be playing a home game at Old Lyme,” said King. “But I think my dad is more excited than them.”
- Sept. 13 – at Nonnewaug, 12 p.m. *
- Sept. 20 – at Lewis Mills, 1 p.m. *
- Sept. 27 – Old Saybrook/Westbrook (at Old Lyme), 1 p.m. **
- Oct. 2 – North Branford, 6:30 p.m. **
- Oct. 11 – at Cromwell, 1:30 p.m. *
- Oct. 17 – Gilbert/NW Regional, 6:30 p.m. *
- Oct. 25 – at Coginchaug, 1 p.m. **
- Oct. 31 – Morgan, 6:30 p.m. **
- Nov. 8 – at Avon, 1 p.m. *
- Nov. 14 – Hyde Leadership, 6:30 p.m. **
- Nov. 26 – Haddam-Killingworth, 6:30 p.m. **