By John Torsiello
The Simsbury High School football team finished 6-4 last year, playing in the rough and tumble Central Connecticut Conference.
Head coach Jeff Osborne knows he has some big shoes to fill, what with over 20 starters graduating. But he’s confident the Trojans will be in the mix this season.
“We will get better each week. We graduated 22 seniors and look to replace a lot of offensive and defensive production. My players are extremely smart and work hard. We will get better as they gain experience. The one thing we lack of depth and experience.”
Osborne said he is relying on his two senior captains, Brad Helmkamp, an All-State fullback and linebacker, and lineman Justin Gray to lead the team on the field and give the team mature leadership.
Helmkamp, a 5-11, 225-pounder, amassed 600 yards rushing and 11 touchdowns and caught seven passes for 65 yards and two touchdowns last season. He also made 117 tackles on defense. Gray is 6-2, 225-pounds and has a ton of experience on the offensive line.
Other top players figure to be senior Noah Lamothe, hard-nosed senior linebacker Adam McIllveen, senior wide receiver, punter Kyle Dougherty, and senior running back and cornerback Nike Albergo, who the coach said is “speedy with tons of potential.” Dougherty had a 37.8 yard per punt average last season and dropped nine kicks inside the 20-yard line. Junior Jacob Feldman made 31 solo tackles and assisted on 18 others last season.
One of the most important players will be senior James Hermsen, a 5-10, 165-pounder who is making the transition from cornerback to running the offense as quarterback for the Trojans this fall. Hermsen made eight solo tackles and had eight assists as a defensive player in 2012. He’s replacing graduated signal caller, Steve Steijn, who completed 26 of 60 throws for 407 yards and six touchdowns last year. Steijn also rushed for 471 yards and scored four touchdowns.
Simsbury was a ground oriented offense in 2012, rushing for 252 yards and throwing for 52 yards a game.
Osborne has been coaching six years and his teams have compiled a 35-26 record. He believes powerhouse Southington, 10-0 in the regular season last year, should once again be the conference favorite and go deep in the state tournament.
The Trojans opened up against Farmington at home Thursday.