To say that the Trinity Catholic football team has been going through trials and tribulations this year would be putting it mildly.
Through it all, however, the Trinity football players, who weren’t sure they were going to even have a team, or a school for that matter, until last month, have held it together and looked forward.
“I always tell the guys to just focus,” new head coach Thomas Broschardt said. “Have the win mentality which is what’s important now and focus on that. Right now, they have to look at what they can handle and what we can control. It’s the same thing on the football field and in the classroom. Things that are out of your control, don’t worry about. These guys have stayed positive.”
Trinity Catholic, which will co-op with Wright Tech, expects to have a team of around 45-50 players. The final roster is not complete, but many of the skill position players were in action for New Canaan’s annual Grip It and Rip It 7-on-7 tournament on Friday.
The Crusaders lost their first two games, but came back to win their third, beating Hall 17-16. Win or lose, it was good to see the Green and Gold on the field.
“This (7-on-7) is really helping the team’s mentality because they see that they can compete with anybody,” Broschardt said. “Once they see that and get out here and start playing, they really come together. I was hired in February and we didn’t get a chance to do spring football, so this is helping us with team bonding and getting ready.”
Broschart gave a lot of the credit for the team’s positive approach to his three captains: Quarterback Matt Dougherty, safety Evan Field, and Tahj Morgan, who Borschardt said has the “real ability to be a game-changer” for Trinity.
While the summer tournaments are great, the real elation will come in two months — first when the Crusaders open the 2019 season at Norwalk on Sept. 13, and then when they host Danbury at Galglio Field on Sept. 20.
“It’s going to be huge,” Broschart said. “The community is excited, the school’s excited, the administration, the diocese — everybody is excited for us. This group is really special because a lot of other teams would’ve folded but not this group of guys.”
REBEL GAINS: New Fairfield went from 1-9 two years ago to 6-4 last year, but the Rebels feel there’s still some room to bounce back some more. Friday was a good step, senior receiver J.T. Thuesen said.
“We get a feel of what’s going to happen for the season. It’s obviously the first time together as a team,” Thuesen said.
“Losing most of our seniors, it’s basically a whole new team for us. It’s good to see us coming together.”
Thuesen said he thought the Rebels had the pieces to win some games, and junior quarterback Matt Constantinides agreed.
And their day began auspiciously with a pass from the 40 to the 3.
“That was a big confidence booster, my first time playing varsity, really,” Constantinides said.
The junior said he likes the array of targets he has, all of them options on any down.
“I’ll look what’s the best play we can possibly make,” Constantinides said.
“I want to throw to (Thuesen), like I said, but want to give some love to the other guys.”
Thuesen laughed and gave him a slap on the arm. So the chemistry’s good already.
HOME SWEET HOME: Drew Pyne, New Canaan’s Notre Dame-bound quarterback, has been a jet setter this summer, playing with the Elite 11 in Atlanta and Dallas in recent weeks.
In the big picture, there’s no place like home.
Pyne was back on Dunning Field on Friday, helping to lead New Canaan to a 4-0 record during pool play of the Grip It and Rip It tournament. Pyne and the Rams are defending tournament champions, and they’re in position for another deep run on Saturday.
“It feels great just to be back on this field,” Pyne said. “I haven’t been on this field in about a month and just to be back here is unbelievable. I’m very thankful for all the opportunities I’ve had, but I can’t wait to be back playing with all my buddies for my senior year.
“This is a great tournament and being able to play in it for the past three years has been awesome.”
Head coach Lou Marinelli said the players enjoy the format, and for Pyne, it gets him in synch with his wide receiving corps.
“With the Elite Eleven and all of that stuff, he’s throwing to some of the best receivers in the country,” Marinelli said. “Here, he’s throwing to his team and the guys he’s going to be throwing to in the fall. So it’s great for him to be here and get to know the receivers. They’re getting their chemistry and timing down and since he’s done with the rest of that stuff now, we’ll have him for the rest of the summer.”
CENTRAL SCOUTING: Defending Class S champion Bloomfield looked potent Friday, winning four games handily, and at least one of their opponents took full notice, looking back at the field as the Warhawks played New York’s John Jay.
“We come here so we can learn how to work as a team,” Central receiver Jermaine Green said. “Last year, we had a bad season. We’re here to get better and get our reps in every single day.”
The Hilltoppers went 0-10 last season. They’re working on it: They got a win Friday against Staples.
“We just come in with the mentality to be prepared. All these teams are playoff competitors,” senior receiver Juan Guzman said. “(We want) to come in and play our best, play our hardest.”
Said running back Jaquis Fleming, “We’re also here to shock everyone and show everyone we’re better than where we are, and take advantage of our opportunities.”
Nothing accomplished yet, obviously, but they’re hoping to build something.
“My offense wasn’t good at all — it was good, but I could’ve been better,” Green said. “There were some plays where I gave up, I lost breath. I still came out there to fight.”
It was a 90-degree day, with pretty constant sun on Dunning Field.
TOOK BALL, WENT HOME: Rye forfeited a game against Suffield Academy midway through, claiming Suffield (which was winning) was playing too rough for the one-hand-touch game.
SUPER SATURDAY: Seven teams made it through pool play with 4-0 records and will be the top seven seeds, with the ranking based on point differential, for Saturday’s double-elimination tournament.
No. 1 Bloomfield is followed by No. 2 Suffield Academy, No. 3 New Canaan, No. 4 Windsor, No. 5 Shenendowa, No. 6 Choate and No. 7 Cardinal Hayes.
Games will begin at 8:30 a.m., Saturday, at NCHS, and will run into the afternoon, with the final taking place at approximately 3 p.m.