By John Torsiello
Who would have thought after an 0-3 start that this would turn into a most spectacular season for the Granby Memorial High School football team.
Well, the coaches and players didn’t quit after that rough start and were rewarded with their place in history, winning six of their last eight games to finish the season 6-5, which set a record for most wins in a season for the fledgling Bears’ program, and finishing above .500 for the first time in their brief tenure as a varsity program. Oh yeah, throw in a tasty Thanksgiving Eve win over arch-rival Canton to conclude the season and this was one sweet campaign.
“This season sets the bar even higher,” said head coach Rich Gadoury. “Now that we have a winning season it needs to be the focus of the staff and players to keep it a winning program and the next level will be being a playoff contender.”
The head coach wasn’t surprised by his team’s soaring finish.
“We knew we had a good core of players coming back and with the division realignment we had our hopes set high and our goal was to have a winning season. Some games we thought we could be competitive in went the other way. We knew we had to step up and we had an amazing run at the end of the season.”
He continued, “Curt Field, Connor Field, Ian Downey, Dom Pagano and all my lineman kept the offense balanced. We had a dual attack for the first time at Granby and that kept a few teams in check. The biggest surprise was the play of my offensive lineman John Brucker. He found what it took to be a varsity player.”
Curt Field was the man who made the Bears go on offense. He completed 119 of 242 passes for 1,656 yards and 11 touchdowns. His favorite receivers were Ian Downey (48 catches for 801 yards and seven touchdowns) and Connor Field (39 catches for 652 yards and five touchdowns).
Sophomore Dominic Pagano burst onto the scene as one of the best schoolboy running backs in the state. He carried the ball 192 times for 1,142 yards and scored 14 touchdowns, three in the win over Canton.
Pagano was also a star on defense making 66 tackles and picking off three passes. Logan Strain led the team in tackles with 111, Gage Florentino had 74 tackles, and Brucker 66, as well as four sacks. Matt Holmes led the team in interceptions with four.
Holmes did a fine job as the team’s placekicker, making 28-of-30 point-after-touchdown kicks and 3-of-5 field goal attempts.
Granby’s coaches and players are already looking forward to 2014.
“Next season our expectations are the same. We rotated eight linemen throughout the year to get them varsity experience. We lose great talent but we are gaining experience.”
Among the key players back are Pagano, Connor Field, Florentino, Strain, and Nick Kenney.
Said Gadoury, “Jake Largay and John Brucker are going to be hard to replace, as well as four-year starter Curt Field and his favorite receiver Ian Downey.”
He added, “Our goals for next season are to get these boys in the weight room and go after our first game. Granby football has still never won a week one game. It’s about time…next year’s team will work as hard as possible to maintain momentum with the new tradition.”