Anthony Morello experienced Homecoming Day when he was a member of the Greenwich football team and as an assistant coach for the Cardinals for numerous seasons.
Saturday, marks his first time coaching the squad on its special day as head coach.
“I’m very excited for Homecoming,” said Morello, who is in his first season at the helm. “It’s a longstanding tradition at Greenwich High School, a tradition for the town.”
Greenwich (4-0) celebrates its Homecoming with a 3 p.m. game against Westhill at Cardinal Stadium on Saturday. Past Homecoming games drew a big crowd, full of Cardinals football alumni.
“I’m looking forward to seeing alumni and guys that I played with,” said Morello, a 2005 GHS graduate, who was an offensive lineman on the Cardinals’ football team. “It will be nice to see former players I had the pleasure of coaching. From beginning to end, I’m looking forward to the day.”
A victory over the Vikings (0-4) would, of course, make it an even more enjoyable day, particularly for the seniors, who have helped lead the Cardinals on and off the field the first four weeks of the season.
“Our seniors have done a great job, a lot of our seniors have vaulted into leadership roles, due to injuries,” Morello said.
Seniors Jonathan Alexandre (running back) and David Nasimi (offensive lineman) have enjoyed expanded roles this season due to injuries and have performed well when called upon.
“They were our on-field captains last week against Bridgeport Central and they deserved it,” Morello said. “They’ve worked so hard over the years.”
Ranked second in the CIAC Class LL rankings, Greenwich is coming off a 33-0 win over Bridgeport Central — a game in which it scored all of its points in the first half.
Junior quarterback James Rinello continued to show improvement, completing 11 of 13 passes for 156 yards and two touchdowns. For the season, Rinello has passed for 842 yards with 11 touchdowns passes and only one interception.
“With Rinello it’s never been ability, it’s been how much he can grasp at a young age,” Morello said. “We are beginning to add the layers to our foundation. His completion percentage is right where we want it to be. He’s trusting the offensive line in the pocket. We are beginning to jell as a unit.”
Junior Kobe Comizio and senior Matthew Pilc each caught touchdown passes from Rinello, while junior running back Hunter Clark reached the end zone twice in Week 4 against Bridgeport Central. The Cards hope to see the same effectiveness against Westhill on Saturday, before their Homecoming crowd.
“Coach (Joe) DeVellis (Westhill coach) is a defensive-minded coach,” Morello said. “He gives us a lot of different looks defensively and if we allow them to get extended up front they can be difficult to move.”
Through four games, Greenwich has yielded just 23 points, while allowing seven points or less three times. Junior linebacker Vincent Ceci (team-leading 37 tackles), senior linebacker Evan Weigold and defensive lineman Eddy Iuteri have helped anchor a rock-solid Cardinals’ unit.
“They are mentally tuned in to the install for the week, and they spend time watching film together,” Morello said of the squad’s defensive unit. “They are sound, they give our offense fits at practice day in and day out.”
Following Saturday’s game, Greenwich has a bye next week. Then Darien comes to town on Oct. 19 for an FCIAC showdown.
“We have some things to work on, we aren’t where we need to be,” Morello said. “We’re still searching for the perfect game, I know that’s an unobtainable goal for most teams. But the goal for every game is to play perfect. That’s something you can aim for.”