MIDDLETOWN >> Things are looking up for the Vinal Technical/East Hampton High cooperative football team.
First, the turnout for the team was very good. Coach Joe Cefaratti said that he has 60 kids in the program, including a turnout of 30 freshmen. Second, the Hawks have switched conferences, joining the Constitution Conference instead of playing the rigorous schedule of the Pequot Conference and the likes of Cromwell, Hyde Leadership and North Branford.
“We look to have a much better year,” said Cefaratti. “The league is much more reasonable and we come in with some strengths. I am especially excited about our freshmen who have looked very good in the preseason.”
Cefaratti listed 12 players he called key to his team’s success. These include seniors Ryan Fazzino (RB/DB), Eddie Carafeno (FB/DB), Vin Lanenfield (OT/DT), Vinnie Casagrande (OG) and Austin Urban (TE/DE).
Juniors expected to make major contributions are Austin Mann (QB/DB), Mike Greco (DT), Wilson Nickel (C/DB), Evan Salisbury (LB), and Amos Talbott (RB/LB). Cefaratti also said that sophomore Eric Gillespie (WR/DB) has been impressive.
Cefaratti said that his team’s strength will be up front.
“We have a lot of returning starters there,” he said. “And Fazzino and Carafeno are also returning starters at running back.”
But there are, of course, concerns.
“I worry about our skilled position kids,” Cefaratti said. “Austin has to settle in at quarterback. He’s come along pretty well and his mechanics have been pretty good in the preseason. He quarterbacked just one game last year, but we’re looking for him to continue his preseason play into the regular season.”
Vinal/East Hampton went 1-9 last season, but Cefaratti expects much better things for his Hawks this fall.
“We’ve had a good preseason and the kids are very excited,” said Cefaratti, now in his fourth season. “Hopefully, we’ll have a good year.”
The Hawks’ season begins on Friday, Sept. 13 at Palmer Field against Abbott Tech (Danbury). Kick-off is at 7:00 p.m.