- COACH — MARK BASIL (17th year, 116-58)
- CONFERENCE — Pequot Sassacus
- PLAYOFF CLASS — S (252 boys enrollment)
- HOME — Colafati Field, North Branford
- 2017 RECORD — 4-6
- 2018 OPENER — Sept. 7 at Granby Memorial, 7 p.m.
- TEAM WEBSITE — Maxpreps
- NICK MANCINI, Sr. RB/LB (5-10, 190)
- COLBY ANASTASIO, Sr. OL/DL (6-0, 245)
- TYLER SIBLEY, Sr. OL/DL (5-11, 260)
- ERIC FRUIN, Sr. OL/DL (6-2, 280)
- LOU RAFFONE, Sr. RB/DB (5-7, 165)
- NATE RAYMOND, Jr. WR/DB (6-0, 180)
- TYLER DINAPOLI, So. RB/LB (5-11, 185)
- BRANDON FRATTA, So. QB (6-0, 160)
- ALEX CLINTON, So. WR/DB (6-1, 160)
- JAMISON O’BRIEN, So. OL/DL (5-10, 195)
QB Jeff Jablonski, WR/DB Sydney Franklin, Charles Walcott (transferred to Guilford),
Last year was truly a tale of two seasons for North Branford, which started off the season 4-1 before suffering five-straight losses.
Hopes are high that the Thunderbirds will be closer to the top of the Pequot standings than the middle with 15 starters returning; last season’s 4-6 mark was the first under .500 for the school since 2009.
Sophomore Brandon Fratta will take over under center after two-year starter Jeff Jablonski graduated. Fratta appeared in several games as a freshman and tossed three touchdowns and four interceptions. Two of the top backs from last season’s run-heavy spread attack are back, including senior captain Nick Mancini, an All-Sassacus selection from a year ago.
Mancini is approaching a record on the other side the ball, too. He’s 60 tackles away from tying the school record of 376; anything near his impressive total of 107 last year will eclipse that easily. Alex Clinton was a key contributor as a freshman (68 tackles, two interceptions) and will line up in the secondary.
Another top freshman from last season, Tyler DiNapoli, returns. DiNapoli led the team with five sacks. Size along the lines could be a major strength for North Branford, as seniors Colby Anastasio, Tyler Silbey and Eric Fruin lead the group.
One of the most intriguing parts of the season for the Thunderbirds lies in the schedule. North Branford will visit Branford, which marks the first time the two schools have played since 1985. Six of the Thunderbirds’ 10 games are away from home, including a trek to Granby on opening night.
- Sept. 7 — at Granby,* 7 p.m.
- Sept. 14 — CROMWELL/PORTLAND,** 6:30 p.m.
- Sept. 21 — at Branford, 7 p.m.
- Oct. 5 — LEWIS MILLS,** 2:00 p.m.
- Oct. 19 — at Valley Regional/Old Lyme,** 6:30 p.m.
- Oct. 26 — HADDAM-KILLINGWORTH,** 6:30 p.m.
- Nov. 3 — at Old Saybrook/Westbrook,** 6:30 p.m.
- Nov. 9 — STAFFORD/EAST WINDSOR/SOMERS,* 6:30 p.m.
- Nov. 21— at Coginchaug/Hale Ray/East Hampton,** 6 p.m.
Home games in CAPS