New Fairfield’s JT Thuesen hauled in 10 catches for 226 yards and three touchdowns as a junior, and this season he’s caught 10 passes for 207 yards and two scores.
There’s just one difference. Last year was 10 games. This season he’s played just two.
The Rebels do-it-all leader is on his way to putting together an outstanding season at an incredible pace thus far. The wide receiver/defensive back has emerged as a leader for New Fairfield after spending his entire life in the program.
“I remember him as a Mighty Mite,” Rebels coach Anthony Fata said. “My sons have gone through program with him; I know all these kids ever since they were babies and a football was in their hands. I’ve watched JT grow up and become a man, its rewarding and bittersweet at the same time because you don’t want to see him leave.”
Thuesen’s production was relatively modest on offense last season, as running back Zach Buffington torched opposing defenses on the ground and the Rebels went 6-4. That didn’t stop him from being named Class M first team CHSCA All-State, though, as his play in the secondary (three interceptions) was worthy of the honor.
“It meant everything to me because it showed my hard work and dedication to the game paid off,” Thuesen said. “Even though we didn’t have the most successful season it was good to be recognized.”
In addition to offense and defense, he is the primary returner on special teams. The 6-foot-1, 175 pounder is trying to get noticed by FCS schools to play at the next level, and his production on the field is difficult to ignore.
“JT is that player you wish you had 11 of,” Fata said. “He has the speed, athleticism, and intangibles. He knows the game and did a lot of work in offseason; he knew he had to play both ways. You’d love to keep him fresh for offense but a kid with his athleticism we need him on the field every snap.”
New Fairfield will aim to bounce back at home against Branford as the entire SWC once again takes part in the alliance schedule with the SCC, ECC and CCC. The Rebels scored their only win in 2017 over the Hornets, but Friday will likely be a far more challenging endeavor.
“We just have to win Friday night,” Fata said. “We have to get back to winning ways. This program needs it, we need this spark; let it be Friday night. Branford is a much improved team, they’re not the team that was here two years ago. Hopefully we put our best foot forward.
Last season the Rebels started 0-3 before going on a run to finish 6-4. The season isn’t over just yet this time around either, and one good performance could get the ball rolling again for Thuesen and his teammates.
“I love the camaraderie on this team,” Thuesen said. “I’ve grown up with these guys since we were three and four years old. “It’s great to have my fave pastime and share these great memories.”
Like the Rebels, several SWC squads struggled mightily against opposition from across the state. The league went 3-8, with Newtown, Barlow and Weston the lone teams to escape Week 2 without a loss. All three teams sit at 2-0.
The Nighthawks earned the most impressive win by holding off Fairfield Prep last week, and continue their gauntlet against West Haven and Shelton in two of the next three weeks.
“They’re big games for our program,” Newtown linebacker Jared Dunn said. “These four (Alliance) games, we haven’t really seen these teams on our schedule. It’s a lot bigger for our program and we’re focusing a lot. We have to get everything straight because these are big games and it’s time to make a statement for Newtown football.”
Another team who passed its first non-league test was Barlow, which is hoping to start out 3-0. The Falcons will have to survive a long trip across the state to Tolland (1-1), which is coming off a 36-0 win over Avon.
The Falcons’ triple option-attack has shined through two weeks, accumulating 593 yards on the ground (more importantly, 6.2 yards per carry) in wins over Bunnell and Law. It was unclear before the season which Class M SWC team would emerge as a threat to reach the postseason, but after two weeks just 11 teams across the state remain unblemished in that division — rival Weston is another.
“We’ve just been out to prove everyone wrong,” Falcons quarterback Brett Hugo after the matchup against the Lawmen said. “That’s our goal, keep proving everyone. … (Friday) was a great team win and everyone played as good as they wanted to.”
(FRIDAY AT 7 P.M. UNLESS NOTED)
Northwest Catholic at Weston (4 p.m.)
Lewis Mills at Bethel (6:30 p.m.)
Pomperaug at Bristol Eastern
Bristol Central at Masuk
Fitch at Bunnell
West Haven at Newtown
Stratford at Foran
Sheehan at Brookfield
Branford at new Fairfield
Hamden at New Milford
Bassick at ND-Fairfield (Saturday, 12 p.m.)
Barlow at Tolland (Saturday, 1 p.m.)