Above: Newtown coach Steve George holds up the team’s Sandy Hook Elementary tribute jersey, which will be worn for the team’s first home game Friday night vs. Bethel. (Photo by Sean Patrick Bowley)
No. 2 XAVIER (1-0) at NORTH HAVEN (1-0)
When: Today, 7 p.m.
Where: Vanacore Field, North Haven
On the Air: WELI 960-AM (weli.com)
Players to Watch: Xavier: Joe Carbone, Sr., QB; Nate Gonzalez, Sr., WR/DB Andrew Meoli, Sr., RB; North Haven: Mike Halloran, Sr., QB/LB; Mike Montano, So., RB/DB; Ethan Suraci, Sr., RB/LB.
What to look for: Xavier coach Sean Marinan wasn’t thrilled with his team’s 30-22 victory over Staples in Week 1, saying the Falcons were “flat”. Xavier let the Wreckers hang around, and the outcome was closer than it probably should’ve been, especially since the Falcons led by 16 points at one point in the third quarter.
After a likely intense and grueling week of practice, Xavier should be ready to make a statement. The Falcons, which dropped from the top spot in the Register Top 10 Poll, gained 364 yards, with the majority coming on the ground. Meoli rushed for 198 yards and three touchdowns, while Carbone scored on an 8-yard run.
Pass defense was a concern for Xavier in Week 1. Staples quarterback Jack Massie completed 19 passes for 232 yards, although the Wreckers trailed throughout the contest and were missing their top running back with an injury.
Expect North Haven, and its single-wing offense, to be a pesky opponent. The Indians rushed for 357 yards in a 42-8 win over Bridgeport Central. Montano led the way with 157 yards, while Suraci carried a team-high 12 times for 57 yards and two scores.
North Haven, though, is capable of throwing the ball, maybe more so than in year’s past. The big issue is whether or not North Haven can contain Xavier’s bigger and faster skill players. This game should be competitive, and one of the best of the weekend.
Wolcott (1-0) at Naugatuck (1-0)
WHEN: Friday, 7
WHERE: Naugatuck High School
ON THE AIR: WATR 1320-AM
PLAYERS TO WATCH: Wolcott: Sr. RB Joe Lynch; Sr. OL/DL Tom Longo (6-2, 240); Jr. QB Vincent Gambino; Jr. WR Jay Pelletier; Naugatuck: Jr. QB Jason Bradley, Jr. LB/OL Aaron Yourison; Jr. RB/LB Jordan Hopkins; Sr. OL/DL Kevin Mariano.
OUTLOOK: Wolcott had a more-than-fine debut against Sacred Heart, which put coach Jay Pace on the block for violating the CIAC’s 50-point policy. The Eagles should be warmed up to face one of the NVL’s most promising teams. Naugy is load with junior talent and in the first year of coach Craig Bruno’s tenure. The Greyhounds dropped 33 points on Crosby in the first quarter before taking their foot off the gas. This is the opening of Naugatuck’s refurbished stadium.
No. 9 Greenwich (1-0) at Darien (1-0)
WHEN: Saturday, 2
WHERE: Darien High School
ON THE AIR: WGCH 1490-AM
PLAYERS TO WATCH: Greenwich: Jr. RB/DB Austin Longi; Sr. QB Jose Melo; Sr. DE Jack Wynne; Soph. LB/WR Scooter Harrington; Darien: Sr. RB/LB Nick Lombardo; Sr. QB Silas Wyper; Sr. DE Mark Evanchick; Jr. OL/DL George Reed.
OUTLOOK: Greenwich’s defense made big play after big play in last week’s 22-21 victory over West Haven and Longi proved he was a player by making two of them. Darien, meanwhile, showed some offensive might in its victory over Hillhouse, Lombardo in particular. These teams haven’t played since a Darien upset in 2008 and it’s a critical early-season matchup.
Montville (0-1) at No. 4 NFA (0-0)
WHEN: Saturday, 1
WHERE: Norwich Free Academy
PLAYERS TO WATCH: Montville: Sr. RB/LB Jeremiah Crowley, Sr. WR/DB Chad Mooney, Sr., WR/DB; Sr. FB/DE Will Thompson. NFA: Sr. RB/DB Marcus Outlow; Sr. DE Tuzar Skipper; Jr. RB Khaleed Exum-Strong; Sr. WR Ramel Williams.
OUTLOOK: Montville’s youth showed in game one as it was grounded to a pulp by Windham’s Wing-T. Now the Indians dive straight into the belly of the beast: a trip to NFA to face the 2012 Class LL runners-up. NFA hasn’t played since its loss to Xavier. Loaded and primed for a return, the Wildcats should be properly motivated to start their journey.
East Catholic (1-0) at Platt (1-0)
WHEN: Friday, 6:30
WHERE: Falcon Field, Meriden
PLAYERS TO WATCH: East Catholic: Jr. RB Pablo Colon; Sr. RB/LB Jim Droney; Platt: Jr. RB Tyzhan Leatherwood; Sr. QB Andrew McBride; Sr. OL Erlin Colon (6-4, 300), Sr. OL Michael Barnett.
OUTLOOK: Both teams featured 200-yard runners in Week 1 in Platt’s Leatherwood and East’s Colon. Leatherwood was making his first start, making Platt’s fanbase breathe easier knowing graduated back Justin Potts had an able replacement. Platt’s offensive line is big and should try that again. East would do well to use its patented run game to keep the ball out of the Panthers’ hands.
No. 7 St. Joseph (1-0) at Fairfield Prep (1-0)
WHEN: Friday, 6
WHERE: Alumni Field, Fairfield University
PLAYERS TO WATCH: St. Joseph: Sr. QB Jordan Vazzano; Jr. WR/S Lars Pedersen; Jr. RB/S Mufasa Abdul-Basir; Sr. TE/LB Mark Hirshbeck. Fairfield Prep: Jr. RB Joe Ganim; Jr. QB Colton Smith; Sr. OL/DL Nick Crowle; Sr. DL Tony Fox.
OUTLOOK: Both teams are simply massive up front, with strong and talented linemen across the board. The battles in the trenches are worth watching. St. Joseph might have the edge in total weapons, but Prep seems determined to make this their year.
Bethel (0-1) at No. 8 Newtown (1-0)
WHEN: Friday, 7
WHERE: Blue and Gold Stadium, Newtown
PLAYERS TO WATCH: Bethel: Sr. QB Joey Piatnik; Sr. WR/DL Cal Daniels; Sr. OL/DL Ethan Draper; Newtown: Sr. QB Drew Tarantino; Sr. RB/LB Cooper Gold; Sr. WR/DB Julian Dunn.
OUTLOOK: Bethel was beat up front and stunned by Jack Shaban in its opening loss to Barlow, a game that was as must-win as it gets. Now comes a completely different animal. Newtown is loaded and everybody’s favorite to win the league with its array of weapons and veteran lines. Bethel must find a way to punch holes in the young Newtown defense. Add in the fact that this is Newtown’s first home game of the season, and its players will be wearing green-and-white Sandy Hook Elementary School uniforms for the home crowd… it might be too much for Bethel.
New London (1-0) at Capital Prep/Classical/A1 (1-0)
WHEN: Saturday, 6:30
WHERE: Dillon Stadium, Hartford
PLAYERS TO WATCH: New London: Sr. ATH Nico Ramos, Sr. RB Orinn Parke, Jr. WR Jelani Lucas, Sr. WR Jose Ramos. Jr. QB Danny Miranda. CPCMA: Sr. RB/LB Mike Jones; Soph. RB/DB Bennie Fulse.
OUTLOOK: One of the ECC’s powers meets the upstart CSC program which played well in its state playoff appearance a year ago. New London is young, but talented at the skill positions. But so is Capital Prep. This game should gage just how good both teams will be in 2013.
North Branford (1-0) at Ellington/Somers (1-0)
WHEN: Saturday, 1
WHERE: Ellington High School
PLAYERS TO WATCH: North Branford: Sr. RB/LB Josh Melaccio, Jr. QB Eddie Miller, Sr. OL/DL John Burke; Ellington/Somers: Sr. QB Joe Leslie; Sr. RB Mike Casciano; Sr. RB Christian Schneider.
OUTLOOK: They’re both in the Pequot but these power programs rarely play each other. With the league’s realignment, crossovers are more common, giving us this interdivisional matchup. Both teams were in the state playoffs a year ago, but look markedly different now. Ellington/Somers gave new coach Sean Byrne a 40-14 opening victory over Stafford. North Branford, which played Ansonia for last year’s Class S title, was gutted by graduation. It managed an impressive 39-0 win over H-K in Week 1.
- WEEK 2 SCHEDULE
- Week 2 Games to Watch
- Pooch’s Picks: Mike Pucci’s greater New Haven predictions
- SPB’s Audibles: Sean Patrick Bowley’s guide to statewide football games
- Jim Bransfield’s greater Middletown picks: Middletown looking for big football win
- It’s GAMETIME on CPTVSports: Mike Drury, George French, Jeff Roy
- After the games, submit your Play of the Week!
- Ray Curren’s Inside the SCC: Hard work pays dividends for East Haven
- Week 2 football notebook: North Haven running game still giving opponents fits.
- The Day: The Lonesome Polecat – YOUR itinerary…
- The Day: High school football’s newest (and dumbest) rule
- The Day: Neighbors Fitch, Stonington face tonight
- Hartford Courant: Notebook: Platt’s Run Game Strong Again
- CT Post: St. Joseph, Fairfield Prep renew football rivalry
- Stamford Advocate: Trinity and Westhill prepare to meet on gridiron
- Greenwich Time: Greenwich, Darien set to renew football rivalry
- NVL Football Blog: Game of the Week – Wolcott at Naugatuck
- New Britain Herald: New Britain ready to start new season at home against South Windsor
- New Britain Herald: Southington ready for another tough game against Manchester
- New Britain Herald: Berlin takes on Bloomfield in home opener
- New Britain Herald: Plainville looks to start season with win at home over Weaver