Malik Golden didn't know it at the time, but when his Cheshire Academy team defeated New Hampton (N.H.) Prep, 49-20, in the New England Prep School Athletic Council's Dan Rourke Bowl last fall, a friendship was born that would end up shaping Golden's future.
Golden crossed paths with New Hampton quarterback/defensive back Jake Kiley that day, and their friendship grew when each attended a football camp at Penn State last spring.
Kiley committed to Penn State earlier this summer, and then did his best to persuade Golden to do the same.
“We're going to be roommates – at least that's the plan,” Golden said last Wednesday, shortly after he committed to Penn State. “We got the best of him that day, but Jake's a great player.
“It's one of the toughest decisions I've every made in my life. To be honest I went with my gut feeling. Every person I talked to had nothing but good things to say about Penn State. I just confirmed that during my visit there [earlier this month].”
Kiley is expected to play defensive back at Penn State. Although most schools recruited Golden to play wide receiver, he may join Kiley in Penn State's defensive backfield.
“That's something I wanted to talk about during my visit,” Golden said. “Wherever the team needs me. We'll see when I get on campus.”
Golden, who is entering his senior year, made 48 receptions for 680 yards and five touchdowns in nine games last season. His best performance came against New Hampton. He rushed for 197 yards and caught nine passes for 105 yards that day.
Golden said he was also considering Boston College, Connecticut and Iowa.
“It's all done,” Golden said. “It feels good.”
Two more preseason high school football notes.
Sacred Heart wide receiver David Coggins suffered a broken ankle during a scrimmage against Pomperaug and will likely miss the 2011 season.
“Yeah, he's done for the season,” Sacred Heart coach Chris Ortiz said. “He was playing defense [defensive back] and a pile kind of collapsed on him.”
Coggins, a junior, received a scholarship offer from Boston College after he ran a 4.56 40-yard dash at BC's camp during the summer. He's caught 139 passes for 2,256 yards and 17 touchdowns during his two years of varsity football.
Hillhouse's Rennick Bryan, a 6-foot-3, 300-pound offensive lineman, committed to play at the University of Connecticut last week. Bryan, who is entering his senior season, helped Hillhouse win the Class M state championship last season.
ROMANO SIGNS WITH REDS
Southington's Sal Romano, a right-handed pitcher, spurned a scholarship offer from the University of Tennessee and signed a professional contract with the Cincinnati Reds on Aug. 13.
The Reds selected Romano in the 23rd round of this year's draft.
“It's fair,” Romano told the New Britain Herald. “It's what I needed to give up a Division I scholarship.”
Romano was 10-2 with a 0.35 ERA last spring. He struck out 121 batters in 82 innings.
Manchester's Ashley Perez committed to play basketball at St. John's University on Aug. 23.
Perez, who is entering her senior season, led the state in scoring last winter, when she averaged 24.2 points per game. She is Manchester's all-time leading scorer with 1,436 points.
She chose St. John's over offers from Marist and James Madison. Manchester has a 58-18 record during her three years as a varsity player.
St. John's, which had a 22-11 record and made its second consecutive NCAA tournament appearance last season, is scheduled to play at the University of Connecticut during the 2013-14 season.
PROVIDENCE LANDS DUNN
New London's Kris Dunn, one of the best point guards in the Class of 2012, committed to Providence College earlier this month.
Dunn averaged 26.5 points, 10 rebounds, five steals and five assists last season, when he led the Whalers to a 27-0 record and the Class L state championship. Dunn will enter his senior season with 1,337 career points.
NORTHWEST CATHOLIC SELECTS MARTORELLI
Matt Martorelli has been named the interim athletic director at Northwest Catholic. He replaces Josh Reese, who left that position to pursue a career in sports marketing.
Roger Brown has covered high school sports in New England since 1992. He currently covers high school and college football in the Northeast for ESPN/Scouts Inc.