One of Marce Petroccio’s goals when he interviewed for the Trumbull football job three years ago was to make sure Trumbull sufficiently honored Jerry McDougall, the man who built the high school’s athletic program, including the field that bears his name.
Sure, Trumbull plays at McDougall Stadium, but Petroccio felt there was nothing else to convey to Trumbull’s players who the man was and what he accomplished.
McDougall, who died in October 2011, was once the state’s all-time winningest coach with 265 victories, including four FCIAC championships and three state titles, 1968-1998. He was also the school’s championship-winning baseball coach.
Petroccio’s solution was to have a memorial rock, complete with a plaque listing all of McDougall’s accomplishments as football coach and a photo of him being carried off the field by his players, prominently displayed at the team entrance to the stadium.
The McDougall Memorial Rock was unveiled Thursday at a short ceremony that included Trumbull players, team parents, school and town officials and members of McDougall’s 1977 undefeated and No. 1-ranked state championship team — including Petroccio’s twin brother Bill — and McDougall’s son, Jerry Jr. and former Trumbull athletic director Mike Herbst.
“We all loved Coach McDougall and he loved us,” Petroccio said. “And now our players are going to be able to rub the rock, as they run out on the field, and take a piece of coach McDougall with them.”
St. Joseph had homecoming for Saturday’s game against Ridgefield, welcoming back the Class of 1969 on its 50th anniversary and honoring alumni who have died. They paid special tribute to Jimmy Olayos Jr., a four-sport athlete in the school’s Class of 2006, who died June 8 at age 31 during a triathlon.
Former SJ AD Jimmy Olayos gets a hug from SJ coach Joe Della Vecchia before today’s Ridgefield game at Dalling Field.
St Joseph honored the memory of Olyaos’ son, James Jr., who died unexpectedly this summer. #cthsfb pic.twitter.com/w4i4w8W3Is
— Sean Patrick Bowley (@SPBowley) October 26, 2019
Olayos’ father, Jim Sr., is the former athletic director at St. Joseph, now the executive AD at Notre Dame-Fairfield.
Third-year Woodstock Academy coach Sean Saucier knew he had some special players going into this year’s opener at Ledyard.
“I wasn’t sure how it was going to turn out, but I knew we were ready to compete,” Saucier said. “(After that 31-27 win) in Week 1, I kind of knew for sure that this group was different.”
The Centaurs are 5-1, and the program, which played its first varsity season in 2006, set a record for victories with Saturday’s 14-7 win over Stonington.
“The group of juniors we had last year, we knew they were something special,” Saucier said. “They’ve bought in. They’ve played a ton of snaps since their sophomore year, and now it’s their time.”
Their experience and their attitude have played big roles in the team’s success, Saucier said.
Woodstock Academy went 4-6 in both 2016 (with a 4-3 start) and 2017. The 2008 team went 4-7
This year’s Centaurs have speed at receiver with seniors Nick Bedard and Luis Miranda, plus classmate Aidan Morin, who joined the football team after playing soccer. Sophomore quarterback Ethan Davis has gotten them the ball.
And senior Travis White, another of those three-year players, has been a force at middle linebacker.
Saucier also credits his coordinators, Connor Elliot on offense and Jesse Bousquet on defense.
“They teach well. They make good adjustments in-game,” Saucier said.
“They’re really qualified guys. They understand their sides of the ball.”
Hopkins lost in overtime to Poly Prep in Brooklyn one week in September, then the Hilltoppers lost a week later to Morristown Beard out in New Jersey, and they’d already lost one of their top players, back Lucas Riccitelli for the year.
Those long bus rides home could’ve soured the season, but instead the Hilltoppers rebounded to win four games in a row, including Saturday night’s 40-38 rematch win over Morristown Beard in Milford to get them to the Metropolitan Interdependent Football League final.
“We all got together and, top to bottom, said ‘we can be a better team,’ coach Tim Phipps said. “We talked about commitment to each other, holding each other accountable.”
The Hilltoppers (6-2) meet Long Island Lutheran (7-1) of Brookville, N.Y., at SUNY Purchase on Saturday night at 7:30 for the league title. Hopkins’ last championship came in its 9-0 season of 2007, when coach Tom Parr’s team was Fairchester Athletic Association champion, then won a New England playoff game for the second year in a row.
— Hopkins School (@HopScores) October 28, 2019
On Saturday at the Orange Avenue Athletic Complex (the new field across the street from Platt Tech), Phipps said the Hilltoppers spotted Morristown Beard a 20-point first-half lead, but they cut it to 26-21 at haltime, which calmed things down. Hopkins led by two in the final seconds, with its opponent inside the Hilltopper 30 for one last pass attempt.
“The ball was in the air, it felt like, an eternity,” Phipps said. “The kids batted it down. There was a huge eruption.”
The Hilltoppers have relied, no surprise, on their captains, quarterback Phil DeLise, receiver and defensive back Mike Rau, running back/linebacker Gunnar DeSantis, center/nose guard Brandon Smith. But Phipps can go on and on, from freshman running back Pearson Hill, receiver John Stanley and linemen Charlie Wich and Spencer Cipriano.
“We’ve got a ton of guys, everybody doing the job,” Phipps said.
Chris Carratu had five sacks for New Canaan in Friday night’s 41-21 win over Staples, which Terry Dinan reports is a school record that had been held by three players, including the Arizona Cardinals’ Zach Allen.
New Canaan sacked Staples QB Jake Thaw 7 times last night. Chris Carratu had 5 of them. That is a school record for most sacks in a game. @ChrisCarratu1 breaks the record of 4 previously shared by Adam DiFulvio, Garrett Braden and some guy named Zach Allen. #cthsfb
— Terry Dinan (@tdinan) October 26, 2019
Our Dave Stewart also notes that Drew Pyne’s touchdown pass to Zach LaPolice was the 90th of his career, breaking a tie with TCU’s Michael Collins.
Get over to our Instagram page for clips from recent games, including two wins at the buzzer on Saturday.
There was Northwest Catholic’s comeback from three points down to beat Avon 20-17.
And then there was RHAM’s 21-20 win, on a last-second heave and an extra point that nearly went awry but came together to eke out a win at Hartford Public.