Since taking over the Trumbull football program in 2018, Marce Petroccio has been building what he hopes is a sustainable program.
Despite missing the 2020 season and having some of the same question marks every program has going into the 2021 season with players lacking much varsity experience, Petroccio feels this could be a tide-turning year for Trumbull.
“This is a really special group. We have great senior leadership and we have kids who really want to win,” Trumbull coach Marce Petroccio said. “They not only talk the talk, they walk the walk. It’s chemistry and you can’t coach it. We know there is a real season coming up and these kids they are embracing everything that has to be done to get ready for that.”
The Eagles were 5-5 in 2018 under Petroccio and 3-7 in 2019.
In his first years at Staples his teams went 2-8, 5-5 and 5-5 before going 8-3 in his fourth year and 11-2 in his fifth year, winning the FCIAC championship and reaching the CIAC Class L title game.
That road map would be just fine for Petroccio to follow at Trumbull.
The Eagles have seniors to lean on for leadership but the plan, at least heading into training camp in August, is to have players from all grades contributing.
“It’s a good mix, we have some young kids playing too,” Petroccio said. “We haven’t really faced anybody since November 2019 and we know there’s a real season coming up. These kids are embracing it and have been working hard to prepare for it.”
Petroccio knows winning having taken home five FCIAC and three state titles while coaching Staples to 210 wins in 25 years.
He also knows how to win at Trumbull having played there for legendary coach Jerry McDougall and later joining McDougall’s staff before taking the Staples job.
Fans got a sneak peek at Trumbull in the Grip it and Rip it 7-on-7 tournament in New Canaan two weeks ago where the Eagles reached the semifinals.
“We are all about confidence,” Petroccio said. “We just have to keep on getting better and better. All of a sudden, kids that may not try hard sometimes because it’s 7-on-7, those kids are already locked and loaded. Everybody is on point. That’s what these games do for us.”
The season officially kicks off with OTA’s from Aug. 12-14 and formal practices Aug. 21.
Trumbull opens the season at Staples Sept. 10 in what will be Trumbull’s first trip to Westport since Petroccio took over the Eagles.
In other key games, they face their neighbors from Shelton out of the SCC Oct. 1; host Greenwich Oct. 22 and travel to Ridgefield Nov. 5.
Petroccio feels his team will be ready for the challenging schedule, in part because he has confidence his team will be strong defensively.
Though it is not the same as it will be in real games, he liked what he saw from that side of the ball at Grip it and Rip it.
“The one thing we haven’t done since I have been here is play great defense,” Petroccio said. “Now, we are starting to play quality defense. It starts in the back end and those kids have been great here. We have some big kids we will have up front. We are excited for August and for the season.”