COACH — TOM HAMMON (1st year)
CONFERENCE — Pequot
PLAYOFF CLASS — Class M (co-op)
HOME — Coventry High School Field
2018 RECORD — 3-7
2019 OPENER — Sept. 13 vs. Ellington, 6:30 p.m.
TEAM WEBSITES — Maxpreps
Nick Grimaldi, OT/LB; Sid Green, OT/DT
Tom Hammon has heard the chatter.
“There are lots of people who don’t expect us to win a game this season,” said Hammon, the new head coach of the Coventry/Windham Tech/Bolton/Lyman Memorial co-op team. “We are coming off a 3-7 season, have only a few starters returning, and have no depth.”
But Hammon isn’t buying what outsiders are saying.
“We’ve done well in our scrimmages,” he said. “I think we are going to win some games and be better than people expect.”
Hammon is familiar with most of his team’s players: He served as an assistant under Tony Bonito last season, following a 10-year tenure as head coach of RHAM that ended in 2016.
When Bonito resigned to become head coach at Prince Tech, he recommended that Hammon, a longtime friend, take over.
“I thought I was done being a head coach,” Hammon said. “But then I got the bug again.”
Hammon has installed new schemes on both sides of the ball, including a switch from Bonito’s triple option to his preferred Delaware Wing-T.
“Tony had about 150 plays,” he said. “I have 20.”
Hammon believes junior quarterback Devin Grover is equipped to run the new offense.
“He’s tough and he’s really smart and he’s a great leader,” Hammon said about Grover, who started the three games the Patriots won in 2018. “I like his decision-making process when throwing the ball.”
Coventry’s strength should be its running game, as last year’s two top rushers, senior Jordan Smith and junior Kaleb Carlson, are back. “Smith is definitely a guy who can play in college,” Hammon said. “And Carlson is quick and elusive.”
A welcome surprise is the return of senior Jayden Falcon, who sat out the last two seasons. “Jayden is a big, strong athletic kid who might be our fullback,” Hammon said. “He just came back this week, so he will have to sit out the season opener.”
Senior tight end Jackson Vinkels and junior wide receiver Emerson Manville are the top passing targets, while senior Nick Poppito and sophomore Joey Johnson lead an offensive line that should also benefit from the arrival of 6-2, 220-pound freshman Brody Schouten.
Another newcomer — 6-3, 285-pound sophomore Henry Childress — will bolster the defensive line.
“He is going to be a handful for teams to handle,” Hammon said. “He is a really strong kid who squats 600 pounds.”
Poppiti, Johnson and Vinkels will also contribute on the defensive line, with seniors Brandon Roy, Glenn Farno and Falcon and sophomore Ellis Thompson heading the group of linebackers, and Smith and Carlson returning to the secondary.
One factor that could derail the Patriots is their worrisome lack of depth.
“I have about three players who I could realistically use off the bench,” Hammon said. “Injuries are bad for any team, but they would be devastating for us.”
Sept. 13 — ELLINGTON*, 6:30 p.m.
Sept. 20 — STAFFORD/EAST WINDSOR/SOMERS*, 6:30 p.m.
Sept. 27 — WINDSOR LOCKS/SUFFIELD/EAST GRANBY*, 6:30 p.m.
Oct. 4 — at Cromwell/Portland*, 6 p.m.
Oct. 11 — at Valley Regional/Old Lyme*, 6:30 p.m.
Oct. 25 — SMSA/UNIVERSITY/CLASSICAL*, 6:30 p.m.
Nov. 2 — at Gilbert/Northwestern*, 6:30 p.m.
Nov. 8 — GRANBY/CANTON*, 6:30 p.m.
Nov. 15 — at Rockville*, 6:30 p.m.
Nov. 21 — at Haddam-Killingworth*, 6:30 p.m.