West Haven athletic director Jon Capone confirmed that the school will not host any CIAC state finals this year — or in the foreseeable future.
The construction of the new high school is currently ongoing. It is scheduled to be completed in 2020. Until then, no finals will be held at West Haven’s Strong Stadium.
“We have half the parking we used to,” Capone said. “Until the completion of the high school, we are not hosting state football finals. We cannot host an event like that. We can continue to host soccer and softball (finals or semifinals) because those sports don’t draw anywhere near what football draws.”
Last year, West Haven was originally supposed to host the Class S championship game between St. Joseph and Ansonia, but when inclement weather postponed the game, the school couldn’t host on the rescheduled date.
Prep-WH to Thanksgiving Eve
Speaking of schedules, West Haven will host Fairfield Prep on Thanksgiving Eve for the first time. Start time is 6:30 p.m. on Nov. 21. The decision was finalized back in the spring.
“Rich (Boshea, the head football coach) reached out to me after both coaches (along with Fairfield Prep’s Keith Hellstern) looked at playing the game on Wednesday because of the extra day of rest. One or both teams are usually battling for playoff position,” Capone said.
The CIAC state quarterfinals are normally held the Tuesday after Thanksgiving. Capone said both sides agreed that it would be a two-year, home-and-home deal to play the game on a Wednesday night. Prep will host the game in 2019.
“One year is not enough to evaluate it,” Capone said. “We are not committed to it long-term. If we don’t think it went well (financially), we will move the game back to Thanksgiving Day.”
Emotions were at a fever pitch for Enfield even before it pulled off one of its biggest wins in recent memory, a 12-10 victory over Hall on Friday night.
Shyhiem ‘Trey’ Adams was arrested and charged with manslaughter the following day. A week later, Michael Cerrato was arrested and charged with hindering prosecution, the Hartford Courant reported.
Just hours after their teammate’s wake, the team was on a bus headed to Hall, bringing with them his No. 71 jersey to be draped over their visitor’s bench, according to the West Hartford site We-Ha.com and the Journal-Inquirer of Manchester.
According to multiple reports, Brady, 16, played football a year ago, but decided to skip this season because he was recovering from a broken collarbone and wanted to focus on basketball.
— Enfield Athletics (@EHSSPORTSONE) September 15, 2018
He was friends with many of the players on the team, coach James Lyver told the Manchester J-I. So when quarterback Cody Stager hit Wyatt Raymond with an 8-yard touchdown pass with 17 seconds remaining, it was a perfect way to honor their friend’s memory just days after his death.
“Cody Stager, who was a close friend of Justin’s, made an amazing throw to Wyatt Raymond, who was also a close friend of Justin’s,” Lyver told the J-I. “It was fitting that those two guys led us to the win. It was a huge victory and a huge boost for our town. Justin’s memory was definitely with us tonight.”
Enfield is now 2-0. The program is in its third season of existence after the merger of the town’s two high schools — Enfield and Fermi. While the Enfield side was modestly competitive in the Nutmeg and Pequot leagues, the Fermi program notoriously struggled in the CCC. It lost 48-consecutive games between 2010 and 2015.
It’s been at least 15 seasons, perhaps more, since an Enfield football team has been 2-0.
The Eagles play at home for the first time since Brady’s death on Friday night against Conard (0-2).
Facing the real No. 1
St. Joseph’s sloppy, penalty-filled 44-6 win over Fairfield Warde was as uninspiring as it was lopsided.
The No. 1-ranked Cadets have won both their contests in blowout fashion, but coach Joe Della Vecchia wants to see him team come out much crisper Saturday when it hosts No. 3 Darien.
“Now we have to play Darien, who in my opinion is the No. 1 team in the state until somebody beats them,” Della Vecchia said. “They don’t make mistakes, they don’t make stupid penalties, jump offsides, they don’t have breakdowns. They’re calm under pressure and we better be ready for it.”
The Blue Wave — winners of the last three Class LL titles — look once again like, well, themselves, disposing of Ridgefield and Brien McMahon to the tune of a combined 65-6 in their first two contests.
—ANTHONY E. PARELLI
Choate graduated 14 starters from last year’s 9-0 Glennon Bowl championship squad, all of whom have gone on to college football programs. So it was a relatively new group — one that was being tasked with upholding the program’s four-year, 38-game win streak — that arrived at the first day of camp just a few weeks ago. L.J. Spinnato, who has presided as head coach over the entire run, wasn’t quite sure what he was going to get.
One thing was for sure, they were going to work at developing the eight returning starters and the newcomers into a cohesive unit before the first game.
“We get here in the preseason and Coach Spinnato gets on us the first day,” said Choate quarterback Jack Maley, a Darien native who comprises strong class of Connecticut talent, including captains Spencer Witter of West Hartford, Fairfield’s Clay Zachery, Woodbridge’s Hunter Burns and West Haven’s James McCarthy. “It’s pretty much a job: three practices a day and, at 8 o’clock at night, we have install meetings. We just figure everything out at the beginning and we’re pretty tight by our first game.”
The night before facing St. Thomas More and its vast collection of FBS talent, Spinnato knew his boys were ready.
“Our boys, we have a returning group that knows hashtag-‘TheChoateWay,’ and the new guys really kind of bought into that,” Spinnato said Saturday after his team defeated STM 31-6 to extend the program’s win streak to 39 games. “Last night, we had a great team talk. There were a lot of tears and the fact that there were a lot of tears, and we’ve only been together a few weeks, is pretty impressive.
“Right then, we knew who this team was going to be. We found out they were pretty bought in. We weren’t quite sure how that was going to work against these guys (STM), but it showed itself on the field. These guys believe in each other.”
Choate will look to make it 40 straight when it travels to face Lawrenceville School (N.J.).
–SEAN PATRICK BOWLEY
Why So Serious?
Berlin gets on the board as Kevin Dunn hits Zach Hrubiec for a 4-yard TD catch. XP good.
Hrubiec then shows off the best football gloves in the state of CT
457 left in first
— Pete Paguaga (@PetePaguaga) September 13, 2018
Berlin All-Stater Zach Hrubiec scored the first touchdown of the game – a four-yard pass from Kevin Dunn – in the Redcoats’ 50-0 victory over East Catholic on Thursday night.
As the senior ran through the back of the end zone he turned towards the camera – covered his face with both his hands together showing off his Joker gloves. “Our team we like superheroes,” Hrubiec said. “We’re big superhero guys. The ‘Dark Knight’ is my favorite movie. I had to get for the squad.”
“Why so serious?” he said, laughing while reciting the line made famous by Heath Ledger’s Joker in the ‘Dark Knight,’ before running off to celebrate with his teammates after the win.
Despite the gloves, Berlin is taking every opponent and game seriously this season. It showed Friday night as the Redcoats never took their foot off the pedal. “We’re focusing one week at a time and I think it is helping us,” Hrubiec said. “We focus on one thing, dominate them and then go to the next.”
So far so good as Berlin is 2-0 to start the season and have outscored opponents 91-7 in those games.
Odds And Ends
— Trumbull Football (@TrumbullFB) September 15, 2018
…The SCC went 10-5 against its crossover foes from the SWC and the ECC in the “Connecticut High School Football Alliance” schedule last week. The SCC went 5-4 vs. the SWC and 5-1 vs the ECC. The SWC won both of its crossover games vs. the ECC. Bunnell defeated Ledyard 44-6 and Pomperaug defeated East Lyme in overtime 42-41.
…Wilbur Cross, which defeated visiting Foran 14-13 on Sept. 7 in their season-opening game, went 2-0 playing in their only home games of the season at Barbarito-Marone Field in New Haven. The Governors have eight games remaining on their schedule with five away games and three scheduled for a neutral site at Bowen Field in New Haven on Oct. 18 (Hamden, 7 p.m.), Nov. 3 (Notre Dame-West Haven, 3 p.m.) and on Nov. 22 (Hillhouse, 10:30 a.m.).
… It appears as though Wilcox Tech used its season playing junior varsity well. With wins over MCW United (34-8) and last week’s 7-0 OT victory over Thames River, the program is 2-0 for the first time in its 11-year history. In its previous varsity season, 2016, Wilcox Tech finished 0-9 and was outscored 112-319.
… At halftime of the Danbury-New Canaan game, New Canaan honored members of the 33-game winning streak which spanned from 1967 to 1970. Twenty-one players and coaches from those teams were on hand including many members of the unbeaten 1968 team which was also celebrating their 50th high school reunion.
…With Veterans Field, the off-campus site Notre Dame-West Haven uses for its home games, being refurbished, the Green Knights will play Friday’s Soderman Bowl home game vs. rival West Haven at University of West Haven’s Ralph F. DellaCamera Stadium, which is just across Route 1 from Notre Dame’s campus.
No. 2 GREENWICH — Greenwich’s defense allowed only one first down in the first half of its 56-0 win over Trinity Catholic and has yielded just seven points in its first two games of the season. The touchdown Trumbull scored in Week 1 was aided by five penalties on its scoring drive.
THE ECC — The league has been getting pushed around a bit by non-conference foes the first two weeks of the season. It’s 5-9 in non-league games, mainly in the ‘Connecticut High School Football Alliance’ schedule of Week 2. Only Windham, which defeated independent programs CREC and Capital Prep by 49-0 scores, has a winning non-conference record so far. The rest of the league is 2-6 vs. the SCC, 0-2 vs. the SWC and 0-1 vs. the FCIAC. The most lopsided loss was Montville’s 41-0 setback against Lyman Hal last week. Also of note, Fitch — a Class L playoff team last year — fell to Hamden in Week 1, 6-0.
Quote Of The Week
“I feel like we’re not rated the right way, actually. I feel like we need some respect now.”
— Newtown’s Dan Mason after his team’s 47-7 victory over Cheshire.
Here’s BRICE Karstetter’s OT strike to Nick Wright on 4th and G at the 3 for the go-ahead Cromwell/Portland TD.
Then the big goal-line stop to preserve the 28-20 win over North Branford. Great game #cthsfb pic.twitter.com/38qzYoFJt1
— Sean Patrick Bowley (@SPBowley) September 15, 2018
- Glastonbury’s Drew Daniels threw five passes, completed all five for touchdowns in a 40-0 win over South Windsor
- New Britain’s Shawn Robinson rushed for 228 yards five TDs and had an interception 55-26 win over Manchester
- SMSA/University/Classical QB Devin Hill threw five TDs in 49-0 win over Lewis Mills
- Sheehan’s Terrance Bogan ran for 319 yards and four TDs in 62-27 win over Stratford.
- Bullard-Haven’s Eddie Holmes had 316 yards of offense and scored five touchdowns in a 49-18 win over MCW.
- Manchester’s AJ Alilbiro had four catches for 111 yards and three TDs in a 55-26 loss to New Britain.
- East Hartford’s Jayden Gardner five catches 140 yards TD in a 25-16 victory over Conard.
- Windsor’s Daniel Elliott four catches 120 TD, rushing TD in a 29-14 victory over Bristol Eastern.
- Rockville’s Monty Thomas had 10 tackles in a 48-7 victory over Gilbert/Northwestern.
- Plainfield’s Lucien Dube made three interceptions in 13-7 win over Bacon Academy
- Trumbull’s Corey Osbourne rushed for three TDs in 46-7 win over Ludlowe.
- St. Joseph’s David Summers had five total TDs (4 passing, 1 rushing) in 44-6 win over Warde.
- Ansonia’s Shykeem Harmon scored five TDs (4 rushing, 1 punt return) in 48-7 win over Holy Cross.
- NDWH’s Jackson Zalinksy rushed 200 yards 3 TDs win 33-19 win over New London.
- Guilford’s Charles Schioppo rushed for 204 yards in 28-14 win over Waterford.
- Waterbury Career’s Jalen Gophie ran for 340 yards on 13 carries, had 12 tackles and five sacks in a 34-22 victory over Sacred Heart/KT.
- St. Paul’s Kevin Ashworth ran five times for 121 yards and a touchdown in a 30-16 victory over Watertown.
- Killingly’s Nsaiah Harriet ran nine times for 56 yards and two touchdowns, had six tackles and three sacks in a 48-23 win over Griswold.
- Pomperaug’s Jake Oldham ran for 129 yards and two touchdowns on 17 carries and caught a touchdown pass in Pomperaug’s 42-41 OT victory over East Lyme.
- Stafford/Somers/East Windsor’s Colton Engel rushed for 120 yards on eight carries and two TDs in a victory over Canton.
- Cromwell/Portland’s Nick Wright caught three TD passes in a 28-20 win over North Branford. He has made 16 catches for 362 yards and six touchdowns in his first two games playing varsity football.
- North Branford’s Tyler DiNapoli ran 23 times for 120 yards, threw a 61-yard touchdown pass and had eight tackles and an interception on defense in a 28-20 OT loss to Cromwell/Portland. Teammate Nick Mancini ran for 102 yards and a touchdown on 24 carries. He also made 11 tackles.
- Windham’s Isaiah English ran for 209 yards and three touchdowns on eight carries in a 49-0 victory over Capital Prep. Teammate Natanael Barbosa-Torres added 142 yards and three touchdowns on 14 carries.
- Lyman Hall’s Austin Ruiz rushed for 149 yards, two TDs in 41-0 win over Montville.
- Newtown’s Dan Mason rushed for 107 yards and three TDs in 47-7 win over Cheshire.
- Fitch’s Tyler Nelli rushed 140 three TDs, threw for a TD and had an interception in 28-14 win over Harding. Nick Helbig had three sacks.
- Weston’s James Goetz threw for four TDs in 35-7 win over Law.
- North Haven’s Devan Brockhamer rushed for two TDs, 49 and 50 yards, in 41-20 win over Masuk.
- Douglas Guilford rushed for 125 yards and a touchdown on 16 carries in Hopkins’ 21-0 win over Morristown Beard (N.J.).
- Taft School’s Nolan Grooms completed 15 of 22 passes for 211 yards and two touchdowns, also ran seven times for 124 yards and a score in a victory over Phillips Exeter.
- Ansonia (2-0) at Oxford (1-1), 6 p.m. — Junior Shykeem Harmon, who ran wild over Holy Cross in last week’s victory, will no doubt go for a repeat performance in this Thursday night title.
- Simsbury (1-1) at East Hartford (2-0), 6:30 p.m. — The No. 6 Hornets survived a scare from Conard, now must contend with a Simsbury squad that gave Southington troubles.
- Conard (0-2) at Enfield (2-0), 7 p.m. — Enfield is 2-0? We can’t find the last time any Enfield football team, Fermi or the old Enfield High, was 2-0. Can the Eagles, playing in the memory of former teammate Justin Brady, actually get to 3-0?
- Killingly (2-0) at New London (1-1), 6:30 p.m. — Fresh off their win over rival Griswold, No. 8 Killingly takes aim at toppling traditional ECC power New London.
- No. 7 New Canaan (1-1) at Trumbull (1-1), 7 p.m. — New Canaan hits the road to face QB Colton Nicholas and Trumbull after last week’s thorough, bounce-back win over Danbury.
- No. 5 Shelton (2-0) at Fairfield Prep (2-0), 6 p.m. — Shelton looked much more efficient in its takedown of Xavier. Let’s see how the Gaels handle Doug Harrison and playoff hopeful Fairfield Prep.
- West Haven (1-1) vs. Notre Dame-WH (1-1) at UNH, 7 p.m. — Both squads earned their first victories of the season last week and now compete for the Soderman trophy with a chance to go 2-1. The game is being played on the blue turf at next-door University of New Haven.
- East Haven (2-0) at Lyman Hall (1-1), 6:30 p.m. — Scott Benoit has East Haven on the verge of going 3-0 for the first time since 2015. Lyman Hall, coming off a 41-0 win over Montville, should be a tough opponent.
- Wilbur Cross (2-0) at Xavier (0-2), 7 p.m. — Wilbur Cross famously took down Xavier on its home turf last year. Another win over the Falcons will make the Governor’s 3-0 for the first time since 2010.
- Barlow (1-0) at Brookfield (2-0), 7 p.m. — Brookfield signaled its return with a 51-18 victory over Hillhouse. Barlow, last year’s Class M runner up, had an extra week off to prepare.
- North Branford (1-1) at Branford (2-0), 7 p.m. — It’s the first meeting of these namesake neighbors since 1985.
- Darien (2-0) at St. Joseph (2-0), 1:30 p.m. — Darien has finished No. 1 for three years running. The Blue Wave head to Dalling field to in hopes of officially reclaiming that ranking.