Boston High School: Aaron Berardino

New England Roundup: Connecticut

April, 6, 2012
4/06/12
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Case Matheis looked like himself Wednesday afternoon.

Connecticut“He was back playing in January,” Darien coach Jeff Brameier told the Stamford Advocate. “He could have done stuff in the fall, but he played it safe. He's good to go.”

ESPNHS has Matheis, a senior attacker, ranked as the No. 1 player in the country. He has committed to play college lacrosse at Duke.

Matheis entered the year with 120 goals and 94 assists during his first three varsity seasons.

Darien was without Matheis when it dropped an 11-3 decision to Wilton in last year's Class M tournament. The loss ended Darien's 16-game playoff winning streak. The Blue Wave had won the last six state titles.

Although Wednesday was technically the first game Matheis has played in since the injury, he also participated in a scrimmage against John Jay (Lewisboro, N.Y.) during the preseason.

“I think I got stronger and more explosive [after rehabilitating the injury],” Matheis said. “It's my senior season and I think it's gonna be a pretty special year.”

BACCARO STEPS DOWN
Bill Baccaro resigned from his position as football coach at East Catholic High School in Manchester earlier this week.

Baccaro had a 94-66-1 record during his 15-year coaching career, which included stints as the head coach at East Catholic, Cheney Tech-Manchester and for the East Catholic-Cheney Tech co-op team. He guided the co-op team to a 63-47 record from 1996 to 2006. When that team was dissolved, his Cheney Tech teams went 18-3 over a two-year span before he moved to East Catholic in 2009.

"East Catholic is very thankful and grateful to Coach Baccaro for his leadership and guidance of the football team during his tenure here at East Catholic,” East Catholic athletic director Tom Malin said. “The entire East Catholic community wishes the best to Coach Baccaro as he has had a tremendous positive effect on student-athletes. East Catholic will begin a search for the next varsity football coach immediately."

QUARTERBACK OPTIONS
The Connecticut team that will face Rhode Island in this summer's Governor's Cup All-Star football game was announced Thursday, and the team's deepest position may be quarterback.

Xavier-Middletown's Pat D'Amato, Hand-Madison's Henry Foye and Cromwell's Anthony Morales are the QBs who were selected. D'Amato and Foye each led their team to a state championship last season. Morales took Cromwell to the Class S championship game.

Morales led the state in passing yardage in 2011, when he averaged 283.7 yards per game and threw 43 touchdown passes. Foye ranked sixth in passing yardage with an average of 193.2 yards per game (29 TD passes). D'Amato is the best runner of the three. He threw for 15 TDs and gained 628 yards on the ground.

The Connecticut All-Stars will face Rhode Island on June 30 (4:30 p.m.) at Rentschler Field.

Connecticut extended its winning streak to nine games by beating Rhode Island 37-6 last year and has a 10-3 edge in the series.

The complete Connecticut roster:

Mike Antonio, Cromwell, WR; Aaron Berardino, Windsor, WR; Brandon Birdsell, Bethel, LB; Shaun Bowman, Cheshire, OL; Jawad Chisholm, Bunnell, S; Nicholas Colasate, Glastonbury, OL; Ben Compton, Windsor, LB; Matt Corcoran, Stamford, LB; Pat D'Amato, Xavier, QB; Brett Director, Cromwell, WR; Ian Dugger, Hall, WR; Matt Duignan, Masuk, LB; Jevan Elmore, New London, CB; Jimmy Fairfield-Sonn, Valley Regional/Old Lyme, CB; Timothy Farina, East Lyme, OL; Jose Forestier, Bulkeley, DL; Evan Foster, Bunnell, OL; Chandler Foster, Stamford, S; Henry Foye, Hand, QB; Vance Giarratana, Hand, S; Leaon Gordon, Brookfield, RB; Wesley Hopkins, Northwest Catholic, DL; Jamar Johnson, Bloomfield, DL; Emir Kuljancic, Wethersfield, DL; Sebastian Little, Cheshire, WR; Ryan Lumpkin, Windsor, WR; Brandon Lytton, Torrington, RB; Sean Marinan Jr., Xavier, DL; Brandon Martin, Notre Dame-West Haven, CB; Hakeem Martin, Ansonia, OL; Kyle McKinnon, New London, RB; Anthony Morales, Cromwell, QB; Genois Nelson, Maloney, DL; Devon O'Reilly, Glastonbury, CB; Daniel Palmer, Hartford Public, LB; Matt Paola, Pomperaug, K; AJ Pascuzzo, Sheehan, WR; Jason Piontkowski, Masuk, WR; Khamil Rangolam, Hillhouse, OL; Ludovic Richardson, Notre Dame-West Haven, DL; Maleek Riley, Northwest Catholic, OL; Robert Rose, Shelton, LB; Ardian Sahinovic, New Fairfield, K; Jovan Santos-Knox, Xavier, LB; Dallas Smith, Ledyard, LB; Isaiah Thomasson, Maloney, LB; Tommy Undercuffler, Berlin, S; Dylan Vano, Ansonia, OL; Giovanni Viven, New Britain, LB; Zach Voytek, Trumbull, OL; Jonathan Ware, RHAM, LB; Billy Wayrauch, Cheshire, LB; Austin Wezenski, Xavier, DL; Brandon Williams, Bassick, DL; Tyler Wood, Ansonia, LB.

BASEBALL IS BACK
The CIAC championship baseball games will return to Palmer Field in Middletown this year after being held at Muzzy Field in Bristol last spring.

Roger Brown is a freelance writer who has been reporting on high school sports in New England since 1992.

New England Roundup: Connecticut

February, 10, 2012
2/10/12
1:52
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Paula Hagopian's talent on the soccer field is so obvious she was named Connecticut's Gatorade Player of the Year even though her Kingswood Oxford team finished with a record below .500 last season.

ConnecticutHagopian, a senior forward, collected 13 goals and 10 assists as a senior, when Kingswood Oxford went 5-7-2. She was also the 2011 Connecticut Soccer Coaches' Association Player of the Year, and has twice been selected as an All-American by the National Soccer Coaches' Association of America.

“Paula is so strong that defenders bounce off her,” said Matt Micros, a club coach with Connecticut FC. “She can hold the ball up well and also spin defenders with ease. What she lacks in technique she more than makes up for with power and pace.”

Hagopian led Kingswood Oxford to the 2010 New England Prep School Athletic Council (NEPSAC) Class B championship and completed her career with 56 goals and 35 assists. She will continue her soccer career at Yale next fall.

Past winners of the award include Riley Houle (2010–11, Windham), Kate McCarthy, (2009-10, Loomis Chaffee), Jessica Schloth (2008–09, St. Joseph), Alex Uscilla (2007-08, St. Joseph), and Bianca D’Agostino (2006-07, Loomis Chaffee).

(Read full post)

New England Roundup: Connecticut

December, 31, 2011
12/31/11
3:45
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Masuk High School quarterback Casey Cochran made it official Thursday when he signed a national letter of intent to play football at the University of Connecticut.

Cochran, Connecticut's Gatorade Player of the Year in 2010 and 2011, gave a verbal commitment to Connecticut in August, and said it's a honor to be able to play college football in his home state.

“Not that many college players get to stay at home and play for the state school,” Cochran said. “I believe Coach Pasqualoni (Connecticut coach Paul Pasqualoni) is a very good coach. I really like the coaching staff and everyone on it. I got closer with them during the offseason, so it was a very easy choice once the [scholarship] offer came.”

Cochran completed his high school career as Connecticut's career leader in passing yards, completions and passing touchdowns. He is scheduled to graduate from Masuk in early January and will begin college classes on Jan. 17.

His early enrollment will allow Cochran to participate in spring practice.

Cochran chose Connecticut over several Ivy League schools. His first scholarship offer came from Boston College, but BC pulled that offer last year after it changed offensive coordinators.

Cochran's father Jack has coached high school football at Bloomfield, New Britain and New London. He guided his teams to 14 state championship games and won eight state titles during his 16-year coaching career.

He coached Casey during his freshman season at New London. Casey transferred to Masuk for his final three years of high school.

“UConn became a very good option for him once Pasqualoni took over,” Jack said. “We have a relationship that goes back to his days as the coach at Syracuse. I think Casey felt very comfortable with his decision. Looking forward to watching him play in college.”

STAR POWER

Cochran was one of 26 players named to the 2011 Connecticut High School Coaches' Association All-Star Football Team. Here is the complete team:

OFFENSE
QB — CASEY COCHRAN, Masuk
WR — AARON BERARDINO, Windsor
WR — NICK VITALE, Hand
WR — THOMAS MILONE, Masuk
RB — ARKEEL NEWSOME, Ansonia
RB — MIKE MASTROIANNI, Xavier
RB — ALEX MANWARING, Ledyard
RB — BRENDAN LYTTON, Torrington
RB — KYLE McKINNON, New London
RB — DAVE DiGIORGI, Holy Cross
OL — AUSTIN WEZENSKI, Xavier
OL — DYLAN VANO, Ansonia
OL — RENNICK BRYAN, Hillhouse


DEFENSE
DL — SEAN MARINAN, Xavier
DL — JOE DeMICHELE, Hand
DL — LUDOVIC RICHARDSON, Notre Dame-West Haven
DL — COLE ORMSBY, Windsor
LB – TYLER WOOD, Ansonia
LB — SHANE NASTAHOWSKI, Greenwich
LB — AUSTIN CALITRO, Danbury
LB — KEVIN McDONOUGH, New Canaan
LB — MARK ZURLIS, North Haven
DB — DELSHAWN WILSON, Norwalk
DB — RYAN MURPHY, Xavier
DB — TOMMY UNDERCUFFLER, Berlin
DB — RYAN JACOBUCCI, Xavier


NEW LONDON'S STREAK HALTED

Richard Bronson scored a team-high 21 points to lead the Hillhouse boys basketball team to a 64-61 triumph over New London in the Doc Hurley Classic at Weaver High School.

The loss ended New London's 28-game winning streak. The Whalers were 27-0 last season, when they won the Class L title.

Providence-bound guard Kris Dunn scored 26 points and grabbed 12 rebounds in the loss.

New London led 49-45 entering the fourth quarter, but missed seven of its nine free throw attempts in the final eight minutes. The Whalers missed 15 of 36 free throw attempts in the game.

BROOKFIELD COACH STEPS DOWN

Brookfield girls basketball coach Tom Marks handed in his letter of resignation last week, days after the season began. Marks cited personal reasons.

Lisa Schang has been named Brookfield's interim coach. Brookfield is off to a 1-5 start this season.

Marks has also coached the cross country team at New Milford for the last 15 seasons.

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.

Weekend roundup: Connecticut

September, 26, 2010
9/26/10
6:44
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Don’t feel bad for Notre Dame-West Haven. Branford certainly doesn’t.

Notre Dame bounced back in a big way following last week’s loss to Xavier-Middletown, slamming the Hornets, 52-20, Friday. The Green Knights led, 52-7, in the fourth quarter thanks to touchdowns by Tirell Young-Williams, one through the air and another on a punt return.

Notre Dame -- the No. 3 team in the ESPNBoston.com New England top 10 poll and preseason No. 1 team in the New Haven Register’s state top 10 poll -- plummeted to No. 7 in both rankings following its 22-15, season-opening loss to Xavier. It responded against Branford, which is now 0-2 after having hopes of being one of the SCC’s top teams this season.

In other games:

-- Max Slade threw for a touchdown, rushed for a touchdown and returned a punt for a score to lead Cheshire past Hillhouse, 29-6, on Friday. The Rams will be part of the game to watch Friday when they host Xavier (No. 3 in the ESPNBoston.com New England poll), which scored all its points in the first half in cruising by Foran, 37-0, Friday.

-- No. 6 Masuk-Monroe avenged its loss to Pomperaug in last year’s SWC championship game by thumping the Panthers, 42-0. Junior quarterback Casey Cochran, who has a scholarship offer from Boston College, threw for 292 yards and five touchdowns, and connected with seven different receivers.

-- Quarterback Alton Smith and receiver Aaron Berardino hooked up for three touchdowns in Windsor’s 33-0 rout of New Britain, continuing the Warriors’ emergence as one of the state’s top teams. Windsor largely flew under the radar entering this year despite sneaking into the last spot of The (New London) Day’s first state coaches’ poll. Smith and Berardino, both juniors, are gaining their share of attention now.

-- Southington made former UConn star D.J. Hernandez 2-0 as a high school football coach after rallying past CCC power Glastonbury, 33-14, on Friday. Joe Pesce had three rushing touchdowns.

-- A week after completing just one pass, Norwich Free Academy quarterback Erik Washburn threw for two touchdowns and 205 yards on all of five completions in the Wildcats’ 34-20 victory over Ledyard, easily the upset of the week in Eastern Connecticut. Washburn also rushed for two scores for NFA, one of the state’s largest schools but also one that hasn’t been to the state playoffs since 2002.

-- As for the biggest upset around the state, Wilton surprised defending Class SS champ St. Joseph, 27-14. St. Joseph again played without running back Tyler Matakevich (out indefinitely, foot), but was done in mostly by an array of mistakes and turnovers, two of which led directly to Wilton scores.

-- Jonathan Esposito became Conard High’s all-time leading rusher with 133 yards in a 36-0 victory over Farmington on Saturday. The senior now has 3,024 yards, according to the Hartford Courant.

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