Fairfield Prep has steadily improved in each of Tom Shea’s four seasons as head coach.
In 2009, the year before Shea arrived, the Jesuits went 0-10. In Shea’s first season, Fairfield Prep finished 3-7. The Jesuits then won five games in 2011 and six last season.
This year, Fairfield Prep won 11 games and advanced to the Class LL state championship game before losing 52-34 to Southington.
The Jesuits led that game by two touchdowns at halftime. Southington, though, exploded for 38 second-half points and held Fairfield Prep to just one touchdown in the final two quarters. Still, the Jesuits took a big step toward becoming a state power again.
“It’s pretty sour right now,” Shea said following Thursday’s championship game. “But they did some terrific things this year. I think they’ve shown that this year they’re back in the elite status.”
The Jesuits graduate 20 seniors, including running back/linebacker Nick Crowle, linebacker Max Trudeau and linebacker Anthony Johnson, but Fairfield Prep will benefit from the return of quarterback Colton Smith, receiver John DelliSanti and lineman Anthony Palazzolo next season.
“We lose some great seniors,” Shea said. “How do you replace Crowle, and Johnson, and Trudeau, and these guys? In a couple of weeks we’re back at it for next year. We have some good young kids; the future’s bright. We’re going in the right direction.”
Although senior quarterback Stephen Barmore rallied Southington to a comeback victory over Prep on the strength of his right arm, he also performed well on the other side of the ball.
Barmore made two interceptions, including one he returned 67 yards for a touchdown in the fourth quarter. Next fall, Barmore will attend Yale, where he was recruited to be a quarterback. But Barmore certainly enjoyed his time playing on the defensive side.
“I do like playing defense, I do like hitting people,” Barmore said. “Hitting people, I definitely like it; it’s a lot of fun.”
Barmore did clarify that Yale is strictly looking for him to be a quarterback.
“That’s definitely what I want to play in college.”
Barmore completed 22 of 33 passes for 346 yards and four touchdowns against the Jesuits to lead the Blue Knights to their first state title since 1998.
“It’s an unbelievable feeling,” Barmore said. “I’m sure it means the world to the community. The fact that they’ve been behind us the entire time has been awesome. They’ve given us great support the entire time.”
ANSONIA BANQUET SCHEDULED
The 38th Fred Jecusco sports banquet for Ansonia, the undefeated Class S champion, will be held on Jan. 20 at 6:30 p.m. at Holy Rosary Church Hall. The Ansonia Gridiron Club will present their annual club awards at the event.
A ziti and meatball dinner will be served. Tickets are $7 per person. For information and reservations, call Lou Macero at 203-736-9848, Carmen Pitney at 203-735-6882 or Geri Southard at 203-736-5060, Ext. 303.