- COACH — DAVE SOLLAZZO (2nd year, 9-2)
- CONFERENCE — NVL Iron
- PLAYOFF CLASS — L (671 boys enrollment, moved down from Class LL)
- HOME — Veterans Field, Naugatuck HS
- 2017 RECORD — 9-2
- 2018 OPENER — Sept. 7 at Wolcott, 6 p.m.
- TEAM WEBSITE — Maxpreps | TWITTER — @NaugyFootball
- ZACK KOSLOSKY, Sr. WR/CB (5-11, 180)
- JAYDEN ANDERSON, Sr. OLB (6-3, 200)
- MALACHI GATISON, Jr. RB/LB (6-0, 200)
- MIKE NATKIEL, Sr. LB (5-10, 190)
- TYRELL ALLEN, Sr. DT (6-2, 250)
- DEREK McGRATH, Sr. C (6-0, 210)
QB Mike Plasky, DL/RB Efe Onakpoma, OL/DL Jiram Lopez, OL/DL Sam Ayash, WR/CB Ricardo Montanez
They made their first CIAC playoff appearance in three years, went unbeaten into their annual Thanksgiving-morning showdown with Ansonia. What do the Naugatuck Greyhounds have for an encore?
Well, 18 seniors, for one thing. They’ve been together awhile, some since Pop Warner.
“Some of them haven’t played before, but they’re still seniors,” said coach Dave Sollazzo, entering his second year at Naugatuck. “They can lead by example and provide the leadership we need, because it starts at the top.”
Though the Greyhounds graduated a lot of top players, they have a solid handful returning from last year’s 9-2 team that fell to South Windsor in the first round of the Class LL playoffs last fall. Naugatuck’s enrollment narrowly knocked the Greyhounds into Class L this time around.
“(The playoff appearance) was a good building block, to see that we could get there,” lineman Derek McGrath said. “Now we want to go deep into the playoffs.”
The experience showed the younger players that they had to get tougher, said Tyrell Allen, an All-Iron Division lineman last season.
“Definitely, we have,” Allen said, and Sollazzo said the team was committed in the weight room. “I think it’s going to carry over to the postseason.”
Five all-division players return, including Allen, wide receiver Zack Koslosky, linebacker Jayden Anderson and Mike Natkiel, and junior running back/linebacker Malachi Gatison.
They’re still looking to build their depth, Sollazzo said, but he liked how players stepped up last year when called upon.
Ansonia hasn’t lost an NVL game since the Greyhounds beat them on Thanksgiving 2010. But the Chargers graduated most of their starters. With what Naugatuck has back, there are coaches around the league who wonder if the order might flip this year.
“Like I told the team, now we’re the team being hunted,” Sollazzo said. “Obviously Ansonia is still the class of the league, but we made a statement last year. You’ve got to embrace the fact that people want to hunt you now.
“We’ve got to embrace that people know we have a chance. I’m not saying we’re totally there, or we’ve totally arrived. We’ve got a lot of work to do. But embrace the fact that last year you made a statement, and let’s keep this community behind us.”
- Sept. 7 — at Wolcott,** 6 p.m.
- Sept. 14 — CROSBY,* 7 p.m.
- Sept. 21 — ST. PAUL,** 7 p.m.
- Sept. 28 — at Watertown,** 7 p.m.
- Oct. 5 — OXFORD,* 7 p.m.
- Oct. 19 — at Kennedy,* 7 p.m.
- Oct. 26 — TORRINGTON,** 7 p.m.
- Nov. 2 — at Seymour,* 7 p.m.
- Nov. 9 — HOLY CROSS,* 7 p.m.
- Nov. 22 — at Ansonia,* 10 a.m.
Home games in CAPS