COACH — BRYAN MULLER (1st year)
CONFERENCE — SWC Division II
PLAYOFF CLASS — Class M (446 boys enrollment)
HOME — Brookfield HS Field
2018 RECORD — 8-3 (Lost to Berlin in Class M quarterfinals)
2019 OPENER — Sept. 13 at Weston, 7 p.m.
TEAM WEBSITE — Maxpreps | TWITTER — @BrookfieldFball
Conor McVey (RB/LB), Trevor Sterry (QB/DB), Chris Comizio (RB/DL), Eric Reich (OL/DL), Gavin Borges (TE/DL), Ryan Melby (OL/DL), Jack Mix (RB/LB)
August of 1998 was the last time someone other than Rich Angarano led a practice as head coach at Brookfield.
That’s not the only change the Bobcats are going through as a familiar face tries to lead a mighty transition.
Former player and assistant coach Bryan Muller held his first official practice at coach of the Bobcats Monday afternoon. Muller, who is also the school’s baseball coach, has been on the coaching staff almost as long as the legend from whom he takes the reins.
It’s a role Muller has been groomed for for almost a decade. He and Angarano still chat daily and the identity of the program will likely remain the same.
“Everyone remained on staff and we brought in four new coaches,” Muller said. “We only have one person who did not play for Brookfield High. That’s something (Angarano) prided himself on and what I’m looking to continue. I think it speaks volumes to our program and what we’re all about, wanting to come back and do this.”
Muller was named head coach almost immediately after last season ended. The Bobcats went 8-3 and lost to Berlin in the Class M quarterfinals.
— Ryan Lacey (@RyanLacey11) August 19, 2019
“It’s good to have Muller bringing a new (voice) to practice,” senior lineman Tye Sylvia said. “It’s not like we’re getting someone brand new. I know how he coaches and stuff. … He’s a little tougher just cause he’s younger and has more energy.”
Muller is inheriting a squad that has high hopes in Class M, and it’s speedy running back is one of the main reasons why. Nick Henderson ran for 1,300 yards and 15 touchdowns last season, one of the top marks in the state in both categories.
“Nick is a special kid,” Muller said. “You only get one of him every once in a while. He’s ultimately going to be very important as far as what he does on the field, but also how he’s bringing along the younger kids who are going to spell him.”
Henderson is one of very few returners, though. A staggering 27 seniors graduated from a relatively small squad that mostly played both ways throughout the season. New faces will dot the rest of the lineup, including at quarterback where Jed Rajcula takes over. His first meaningful experience came in the state playoffs, as he led a touchdown drive late in the 16-6 defeat.
“We were prepared, I just don’t think we all went full-out,” senior lineman Adam Frame said. “We should have been ready in the moment.
“I had never been in a playoff game so it was different. You have to be prepared. We want to win states. People say it’s different because we lost 27 seniors. The first couple of scrimmages and games are going to be a learning experience for us, then we’ll all be one unit and know what to do.”
Brookfield shined on defense for most of last year, yielding just 14.8 points per contest. The Bobcats could be strong in the trenches once again with Silvia, Logan Schaab and Frame leading the offensive line.
And then there’s the most talked-about offseason topic: The Bobcats will square off against four non-conference opponents as part of the Scheduling Alliance.
Three games will be against SCC Tier III squads, including a matchup with Sheehan Sept. 27. The fourth is vs. Killingly a recent perennial ECC powerhouse (and 2017 Class M champion) from the other side of the state (although Killingly will come to Brookfield).
Overall, Brookfield plays just six from their own league. That means no Barlow, Newtown or Masuk on the schedule this term. Barlow is the only SWC Division II team not on Brookfield’s schedule.
“There is that piece, that town rivalry. We’re going to miss that rivalry with Newtown,” Muller said. “That’s something we love to do. We’re going to miss that piece with Masuk, Barlow. It’s different. We just have to line up and play our games. I don’t know where the state wants to go with it.”
Despite Brookfield’s relative inexperience and tough schedule, contending for another Class M playoff berth won’t be out of the question. But this is a squad that could go either way.
Sept. 13 — at Weston,** 7 p.m.
Sept. 20 — at East Haven, 7 p.m.
Sept. 27 — SHEEHAN, 7 p.m.
Oct. 4 — NEW MILFORD,* 7 p.m.
Oct. 18 — at Foran, 7 p.m.
Oct. 25 — KILLINGLY, 12 p.m.
Nov. 1 — NOTRE DAME-FAIRFIELD,** 7p.m.
Nov. 8 — NEW FAIRFIELD,** 7 p.m.
Nov. 15 — at Bunnell,* 7 p.m.
Nov. 27 — at Bethel,** 6 p.m.