Boston High School: Amity

New England Roundup: Connecticut

January, 12, 2012
1/12/12
7:03
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Temple coach Steve Addazio's familiarity with the football landscape in Connecticut has paid off this month, when Temple received verbal commitments from two former Connecticut high school standouts: running back Montrell Dobbs (Ansonia) and 6-foot-1, 215-pound linebacker Tyler Matakevich (St. Joseph).

ConnecticutBoth Dobbs and Matakevich graduated from high school in 2011, and played prep school football at Milford Academy in New Berlin, N.Y., last season.

Addazio is a Connecticut native who played at Central Connecticut State (1978-81) and coached at Cheshire High School (1988-94).

Dobbs originally committed to Connecticut, but could not gain admission because of an academic issue. He said he thought about playing for Marshall, until Temple entered the picture. He met with Addazio and Temple assistant coach Sean McGowan last Friday. Temple extended a scholarship offer Tuesday.

“I really didn't have to think about it much, especially since Tyler and I have become good friends and he's going there,” Dobbs said. “I wanted to stay closer to home anyway. I was a good fit for me.”

Dobbs rushed for 3,445 yards and scored 45 touchdowns during his senior season at Ansonia. He was Milford Academy's offensive MVP last season.

Dobbs said he may be a partial qualifier and not allowed to play next season.

“I don't know if I'm going to be playing this year,” he said. “I'm gonna find that out. All I know is I'm definitely going to school at Temple.”

An injury forced Matakevich to miss the first five games of his senior season, when he helped St. Joseph win the second of back-to-back Class S championships. St. Joseph beat a Dobbs-led Ansonia team 49-28 to win the 2010 championship. Matakevich scored four touchdowns in that victory.

Matakevich was a two-time all-state selection who caught Temple's eye at a postseason college combine.

“I love everything about Temple,” Matakevich told the Connecticut Post. “I'm so happy to finally get this done after all that hard work. It's finally paid off.”

(Read full post)

New England Roundup: Connecticut

June, 21, 2011
6/21/11
2:20
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Losses don’t come much tougher than the one the Southington High School baseball team suffered against Newington in the Class LL championship game.

ConnecticutSouthington thought it had won the title when Matt Spruill scored on Sal Romano’s double in the eighth inning Monday, but the teams played on after home plate umpire Dave Bindas ruled that Spruill never touched home plate and Spruill was called out on an appeal play.

Newington went on to claim the championship by posting a 3-2 victory in 10 innings.

“I heard the crowd and it was their side cheering,” Southington coach Charlie Lembo told WFSB Channel 3 in Hartford. “Then I found out the umpire ruled that he missed home plate. I didn’t see it, but Dave’s a good umpire so I’ll have to go with that call.”

Pat Meucci reached on a single in the 10th and scored the game-winning run from second base on an infield throwing error.

That gave 17th-seeded Newington (17-8) the program’s first state championship.

Newington’s Cole Bryant pitched all 10 innings to earn the win. He threw 176 pitches, struck out 16 and held Southington to six hits.

Romano also pitched a complete game (146 pitches). All three Newington runs were unearned.

(Read full post)

Tags:

Football, Baseball, Connecticut, Lacrosse, New England Roundup, Softball, Ridgefield, St. Joseph, New Canaan, Tyler Matakevich, Sean Goldrich, Brian Kelly, Southington, Notre Dame, Notre Dame-West Haven, Farmington, Wilbur Cross, Montrell Dobbs, Mike Georgalas, Bacon Academy, New Fairfield, West Haven, Brookfield, Joe Della Vecchia, Trinity Catholic, Fairfield Prep, Graham Maybell, New Milford, Lyman Hall, North Haven, East Catholic, Sal Romano, Matt Spruill, Dave Bindas, Charlie Lembo, Pat Meucci, Cole Bryant, East Hampton, Jim Riccitelli, New Haven-Shelton, Zach Miller, Tucker Schumitz, James Ward Jr., Kevin Phillips, Steve Dejournette, Alec Pacelli, Tyshon Shields, Riley Lefebvre, Kunimel Lomotey, Chris Laporte, Andrew McCloskey, Shaun Reiss, Paul Perrotti, Andrew Bielefield, Conor Shea, Dashon Riley, Scott McNeil, Zach Salazar, Cody Kitson, Austen Ahern, Kyle Kalanta, Marquis Leigh, Matt Murray, Nick Donofrio, Oxford (Conn.), Robert Williams, Kosy Broderick, Jordan Sebastian, Ruben Berger, Anthony Vorio, North Branford, Rohan Ifili, Sacred Heart-Waterbury, Anthony Sanders, Tyvon Williams, Trevor Keyes, Robert Fairweather, Mike Marini, Jeff Wright, Evan Opdahl, Justin Waltzer, Immaculate, Pat Murray, Chris Coyne, Jason Mawicke, Ryan Phillips, Mike Rivas, Phil Terio, Willie Maxen, Kevin Maxen, Dion Koumoutseas, Zach Emilcer, Jacqui Tuck, Shabazz McIntosh, Alex Delaney, James Barrett, Steven Buczek, Matthew Becker, Max Nacewicz, Kevin Harrigan, Dominic Williams, Zaire Reiph, St. Luke's, Alvin Garcia, Giuseppe Parisi, Shea McGorty, Matt Datin, Nick Adzime, Eddie Hutchins, Weston (Conn.), Clement Abonyi, Brandon Davis, Mark Robinson, Nicolas Rodriguez, Bullard Havens, Sacred Heart (Conn.), Terryville, Torrey Martone, Case Matheis, J.P. Walsh, Eric Parnon, Michael Francia, Pat Holland, Sam Somers, Andrew Buckanavage, Matthew Shannon, Parker Burr, Joe Costigan, David Dickson, Ryan Mallon, Sean Wilkinson

New England Roundup: Connecticut

June, 2, 2011
6/02/11
11:16
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Shelton’s High School’s James Tate has certainly received his share of media attention recently. Perhaps even more attention than he would have liked.

ConnecticutTate found himself in the national spotlight last month after he was banned from attending his senior prom when he asked his date, Sonali Rodrigues, to the event by taping cardboard letters to the front wall of his high school.

The controversy died when Shelton school officials reversed their original decision and allowed Tate to attend the prom, which will be held this Saturday. Then Tate made headlines for a completely different reason.

His 5-over-par 76 at Race Brook Country Club on Tuesday earned him medalist honors at the Southern Connecticut Conference golf championship.

“I made tons of putts,” Tate said. “That’s how I got it done. I shot lights out. Best round I’ve ever shot.”

His low round helped Shelton win the program’s first team championship as well.

The Gaels shot a 317 team total. Amity finished second with a 332, and Notre Dame-West Haven was third with a 333.

Tate’s round included three birdies. Fairfield Prep’s Matt Mastronardi finished second with a 77.

“It’s been a pretty crazy few weeks, but I had fun [Tuesday] and shot well,” Tate said.

(Read full post)

New England Roundup: Connecticut

April, 6, 2011
4/06/11
2:55
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Although the school has not extended a verbal scholarship offer, it appears that the University of Connecticut may be a likely landing spot for Masuk quarterback Casey Cochran.

ConnecticutCochran, a 6-foot, 210-pound junior, took his second unofficial visit to Connecticut on Saturday, when he attended spring practice. He also attended a junior day in February.

"I wanted to get a look at the new offense," Cochran said. "It was up-tempo, and a lot of pro-style, which fits me.

"I don't think I'll get an offer until they see me in person at one of their summer camps. It would be an honor to play for my home state."

Cochran, the state’s Gatorade Player of the Year last season, has an offer from Boston College and said he will attend BC practice this weekend. He made an unofficial visit to Vanderbilt in March, and is scheduled to visit Rutgers, Harvard, Virginia, Duke, Penn State and Notre Dame this month.

Cochran is on pace to graduate in January. He led Masuk to a 13-0 record and the Class L state championship last season, when he completed 200 of 295 pass attempts for 3,345 yards and 40 touchdowns. He led New London to the Class SS championship during his freshman season, and then transferred to Masuk.

Cochran said Vanderbilt, Connecticut, Rutgers and Boston College are the schools he hears from most frequently.

"Hopefully I'll get more offers in the spring,” Cochran said. “I'm in no rush, but I'd like to have it done before my senior season to get the distractions out of the way. If it takes longer, it takes longer."

(Read full post)

New England Roundup: Connecticut

October, 27, 2010
10/27/10
8:56
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Last Friday night was like most others for Greg Volpe. Settling into bed, the East Haven football coach lay there for some time, his eyes locked on the ceiling and his mind racing from the game that evening.

“But I was thinking about a win,” he said, “instead of the reasons why we lost.”

ConnecticutWeighed down by months of missed tackles, headaches and losses, Volpe sounded like a man not relieved, but satisfied this week. That all the work was paying off. That the plan was starting to bare fruit. That, for his seniors, they could return to school Monday awaiting praise for the first time as high school football players.

With a 42-14 victory over Platt Tech last weekend, the Easties ended the state’s longest active losing streak and fourth-longest all-time, which on the books will number 36 games but featured far more setbacks than a scoreboard can show.

Not since Thanksgiving Day 2006, when it beat rival Branford, had East Haven (1-5) enjoyed a victory. In the time since, it’s endured three winless seasons, plummeting numbers and nearly two coaching changes. Volpe — also the coach of the semi-pro New England Knights and an American Football Hall of Fame member — entered the fray mid-skid, assuming command before last season when a new regime was expected to breathe life into the slumping program.

Instead, East Haven hit what Volpe called the lowest point before his tenure even began. A week before the season-opener against Jonathan Law — and after three promising preseason games — four to five players were disciplined for having alcohol, Volpe said. Unclear of what their punishment would be, Volpe wasn’t told of their suspensions until roughly two hours before kick-off.

“So I had to walk into the locker room and tell the team that,” Volpe said. “There was a lot of shock, a lot of tears. Of course, they were three or four of the better players, and we just stumbled out of the gate and never recovered.”

Until Friday, when, on Law’s campus coincidently, East Haven put together its first turnover-free game of the season and followed its defense, led by Niko Fiorillo, who returned two interceptions for touchdowns.

All said, the result was expected — by most at least. East Haven enjoyed mismatches in talent and size against Platt Tech (0-6), a member of the Constitution State Conference, whose best teams are regularly blown out in non-league and postseason games.

Only three teams had lost more consecutive games than East Haven, headed by Bassick, which lost 62 straight from 2001-07. Bullard-Havens (1996-2001) and East Catholic (1992-97) each lost 53 straight.

For most of the last decade, East Haven was largely a .500 team or worse, failing to win a game in 2004 and last seriously vying for a playoff berth in 2000. But its lopsided losses were among some of the worst in the state in recent seasons, and the significant drop in numbers (17 to begin this season) was startling.

“The hardest times was seeing (teammates) get down on themselves and stop trying,” Joe Costanzo said. “I don’t mind losing, but it’s the fact when they don’t try as hard as they can. That’s what killed me, that’s what killed a lot of the team.

“It was a bond that the team didn’t have.”

Naturally, interest within the school dropped as quickly as the misplayed hand-offs. The lack of appeal could also be rooted to the offseason, when Volpe waited out a bizarre episode in which he was told by the Board of Education that he wasn’t returning when in fact no official decision had been made.

“That was a nightmare,” said Volpe, who was publicly supported by his team throughout.

“They had no reason at all behind (firing him),” Costanzo said. “And we fought for him, just like Coach Volpe would fight for us.”

Volpe returned, and even after opening the season with too few varsity players to field separate offensive and defensive units, East Haven forged on. The players went into what Volpe called “24-hour recruit mode,” raking the hallways for available athletes. It entered Friday’s game with 45 varsity players on its sideline and 24 in its freshman program.

Those first-year players may be the best example of East Haven’s progress. Turning the freshman team into an “instructional program,” Volpe runs it through skill and fundamental work throughout the week, leaving only the day before a game for working on plays.

The change has worked. The freshmen are 3-2 this season.

“The program has had roadblocks not just on the field but off of it, too,” Volpe said. “And when it’s like that, it got to the point where the kids just expected bad things to happen. That’s where this year has been different.”

It may continue to be. East Haven’s remaining schedule includes Sheehan (1-5), Law (0-5) and Branford (1-5). Hand-Madison (5-1), which has been ranked this season, visits on Nov. 5.

The Tigers will likely see an East Haven team that has never been more confident.

(Read full post)

New England Roundup: Connecticut

October, 13, 2010
10/13/10
12:30
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To those outside the Ansonia football program, the six new faces crouching on its offensive line meant lowered expectations.

For the man running behind them, it meant old times.

Wouldn’t you know it, it’s turned out the same way for the Chargers.

ConnecticutIn a season that could have marked a downturn for one of the state’s perennial state title contenders, Ansonia is rolling toward another league title and playoff berth, thanks in part to its young offensive line and bulked up senior running back Montrell Dobbs.

Some probably didn’t expect them to. The six juniors who make up the Chargers’ line — Matt Hall, Arek Kaszuba, Hakeem Martin, Dylan Vano, Tyler Williams and tight end Jake LaRovera — are all first-time starters. In fact, the 5-foot-9, 185-pound Dobbs is the only returning senior starter the Chargers have.

No matter. At 4-0, Ansonia has already trounced defending Naugatuck Valley League champion, Holy Cross, 31-0, and is coming off a 46-6 victory over Wilby in which a banged-up Dobbs didn’t even play.

He still has 787 yards and eight touchdowns this season, carrying the ball a career-high 43 times for 387 yards and five touchdowns three weeks ago against Crosby.

“I’ve played with most of these guys [on the line] since I played Pop Warner,” Dobbs said. “They worked so hard in the offseason, and it’s paying off.”

Yet, that’s the culture around Ansonia, the king of sustained success in Connecticut high school football. The Chargers own 16 state titles (the last coming in 2007), have played for a state championship a record 22 times and have missed the playoffs just once (2005) in the last 13 seasons.

Expectations don’t change. Only the faces do. And the one that didn’t may be the biggest reason why.

(Read full post)

Connecticut football Week 4 roundup

October, 11, 2010
10/11/10
10:06
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Connecticut’s best high school football teams cruised in Week 4, with the top four teams in the New Haven Register top 10 poll outscoring their opponents, 162-27, over the weekend.

Some of their counterparts could have used the extra points.

Five of the state’s ranked teams fell over the weekend, likely making for a revamped look of the polls when they are released Monday.

Notre Dame-West Haven (28-27 to West Haven), Cheshire (14-13 to Hand-Madison) and Windsor (20-17) — three teams ranked in at least one statewide poll since the start of the season — are in danger of falling out, with Notre Dame and Cheshire each suffering their second loss.

The Green Knights — ranked No. 6 in the state and seventh in the ESPNBoston.com New England top 10 — have to endure losing city bragging rights to the Westies (4-0). Notre Dame hosts Hand this weekend, just another possible knockout blow in the uber-competitive Southern Connecticut Conference.

Cheshire, meanwhile, has a matchup with Wilbur Cross — ranked No. 10 but likely not after a 21-12 loss to Ridgefield — awaiting it on Friday.

Windsor threw three interceptions in a 20-17 CCC loss to Glastonbury, and No. 5 Bridgeport Central fell, 34-12, to Trumbull.

In other games:
  • Pat D’Amato got the passing games going for top-ranked Xavier — ranked No. 3 in the ESPNBoston.com New England poll — tossing two touchdown passes to Ryan Murphy in a 41-7 victory over Amity on Friday.
  • Masuk-Monroe’s offense continued rolling in a 49-7 rout of Brookfield on Friday, with Casey Cochran throwing four touchdown passes. But its defense is starting to get noticed, too. The Panthers (4-0 and No. 7 in the ESPNBoston.com New England rankings) have outscored opponents, 187-14, and haven’t allowed more than a single score in any game.
    “In all honesty, I’ve seen a lot of good defenses and I’ve had a lot of good defenses,” Brookfield coach Rich Angarano told the Connecticut Post. “That Masuk defense is one of the best defenses I’ve ever seen around here.”
  • Joe Della Vecchia ignited the St. Joseph offense and the once-ranked team finally got another win in a 55-50 shootout victory over Trinity Catholic. Della Vecchia had a hand in six touchdowns, throwing four and running two in, to stop a two-game slide.
  • And he wasn’t the only one. Ansonia’s (4-0) Arkeel Newsome scored six times on his own and rushed for 268 yards in a 46-6 blowout of Wilby.

New England Roundup: Connecticut

September, 29, 2010
9/29/10
4:24
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John Acquavita called it The Scholarship Run.

Connecticut“It was absolutely …” the Wilbur Cross football coach started before trailing off about James Ward’s 33-yard misdirection-, broken tackle-filled touchdown run against Shelton on Sept. 17. “The film won’t do it justice.”

Perhaps it’s already growing in lore. Ward may not be too far behind.

In the midst of Ward’s 245-all-purpose-yard performance in Cross’s 32-21 season-opening victory was one of the best plays Acquavita’s ever seen.

Taking a handoff from quarterback Dontay Long, Ward stiff-armed a defender behind the line of scrimmage. Over the course of the next few moments, the running back broke three tackles, Acquavita said (one newspaper account put it at five total) and made “six or seven different directional cuts,” with said newspaper totaling three cutbacks. He finished it with a 20-yard sprint to the end zone that left everyone, Acquavita included, wondering if Ward just did what he or she thought he did.

“I don’t even know how I did it, to be honest with you,” Ward said. “If you see it, it looks impossible.”

It’s been that kind of start to the season for Ward.

Through his first two games, he has done everything but wash the Governors’ (2-0) uniforms. He’s scored nine touchdowns: Four on the ground, three through the air and two on kick returns. Among his accomplishments is an 85-yard scoring run and a 71-yard touchdown return. In a 49-27 victory over Law last weekend, he had more receiving yards (150) than rushing (140). If it wasn’t enough against Shelton, he also made an interception. This week, he’ll lift a car over his head.

With apologies to Ansonia running back Montrell Dobbs (594 rushing yards, eight touchdowns), no player in Connecticut may be playing better than Ward, who at 5-foot-8, 175 pounds is out to prove he belongs with a Division I football team next fall.

“Last year, my mindset was different,” Ward said. “I would basically take what I could get and go down. But as far as this year, I have a lot to prove to myself and coaches, so I’m trying to be the best I can and help my team get to the state championship and play on Rentschler Field (the site of this year’s title games).”

Acquavita doesn’t want to say he’s a genius for seeing this coming — “because I’m not,” he said — but following last season, coach and player formed a plan to put Ward in this position.

Among the steps was keeping on track academically. Ward is taking Advanced Placement and honors classes for the second straight year and has already qualified under NCAA standards, Acquavita said.

The next included getting noticed. Ward attended more than a dozen camps and combines this past year, enough to draw interest, he said, from Villanova, Akron and Temple, among many others.

He also joined an offseason passing league with Team Connecticut, which played teams around the state and region, and featured other state stars such as Masuk quarterback Casey Cochran, Shelton wide receiver Mike Georgalas and Southington wide out Tyler Dube.

“The guy who was running it called me and said, ‘Do you have anyone?’” Acquavita said. “I said, ‘I have a kid who’s a running back. I know it’s a passing league but I’m trying to turn him into an inside receiver. He’s a talented kid.’ ‘We’ll take him.’

“I didn’t really know if the kid could catch the ball. Two or three games into it, the coach who was running it called and said, ‘Not only can he catch, he’s one of the best receivers on the team.’ I went, ‘Huh?’”

Ward also needed to add size. He now squats 455 pounds, benches 235 and, Acquavita believes, has the capability to pack on weight beyond the 10 pounds he’s added since January.

Ward’s goals remain clear: He wants to lead Cross to a state title, which would be first in more than two decades, and reach 2,000 all-purpose yards. A few more Scholarship Runs should help. Acquavita called it the second best play he’s ever seen, trailing only a kick-off return in the 2000 state championship one of his players executed while he coached Hyde Leadership.

“It was just mind-boggling,” Acquavita said of Ward’s run. “And to hear other people on our sideline, administrators and things, talking about it Monday in school, it was good because I needed to have it said to me that it actually happened like that. It was just unbelievable.”

GROVE BACK IN SADDLE
While Montville stamped its place as a state title contender with a 21-19 season-opening win over New London, its coach, Tanner Grove, was alone, devoid of any type of coverage of the game outside of a few texts or phone calls with updates.

If the previous four weeks weren’t difficult enough, this was almost unbearable.

“I spent some time by myself,” Grove said, declining to say where or how he spent those two hours. “Maybe when I retire I’ll tell everyone where I was.”

Grove then flashed a smile, a rarity over the last month he spent exiled from coaches he considers his best friends and the players that are the closest things he has to kids of his own.

Charged Aug. 13 with driving under the influence, Grove spent the days following his arrest in limbo while Montville superintendent Pam Aubin decided his fate. Ultimately suspended through the Indians’ first game, or essentially the first four weeks of the season, Grove spent “the most difficult time of (his) life” reflecting, changing and appreciating what he has. He was back at practice Sept. 20 and was victorious in his return to the sidelines, a 48-14 rout of Killingly on Sept. 24 that vaulted the Indians to No. 9 in the New Haven Register state top 10 poll.

Getting to that point took what probably felt like years.

“For so many years, football has made all the decisions in my private life, in my personal life, so I took the time to really reflect on what is I do every day and the decisions I make off the field,” said Grove, who added that several of the charges stemming from his arrest have been dropped, though he was scheduled to attend an alcohol education course.

“That’s really what it was most days. Toward the end of the suspension, I got a little itchy to get back in the mix.”

Grove, who teaches freshman social studies at Montville, did everything to avoid football during his suspension. He’d see players in the hallways and exchange pleasantries. But, every day, he’d teach his classes and head home, leaving no temptation of lingering and perhaps violating his school-imposed suspension.

When the team returned from its game against New London that Saturday morning, Grove was there, awaiting them at Montville High. On his first day back to work, he finished practice by sprinting against one of his captains, Tyler Girard-Floyd, while the senior finished a drill.

Finally, Grove said, he felt “normal.”

“It’s like everything coming together,” said senior Skyler McNair, who was part of Montville teams that lost to New London four times in the previous three years. “We finally beat New London, we get our head coach back. I think our whole season got a jump start with a win and coach coming back at the same time.”

Now Montville (2-0), a Class SS finalist in 2009, can turn its focus back to pursuing the elusive state title. It plays at Fitch-Groton (2-0) on Friday, expected to be its biggest test before facing Ledyard on Nov. 5.

“My expectations haven’t changed since the day I was hired,” said Grove, who's in his fifth season. “What I want to do here is be a state championship or state playoff perennial power. When people talk about being in the state playoffs every year, I want Montville in that sentence.”

REST FOR THE BETTER?
It’s not as if Chad Johnson has never held members of the Norwich Free Academy boys' cross country team out of races for the purpose of resting them.

“This year,” he said, “I’m just taking it a little more to the extreme.”

In an uncommon but not altogether novel move, Johnson chose to hold his top five runners out of the first two weeks of competition. It left the Wildcats thin at the Windham Invitational and cost them a divisional win against rival East Lyme. But, Johnson hopes, it will keep the likes of Dan Cardin, Vos Hunter and NFA’s other pacesetters fresh for when they run for a state title.

The catch: In the process, it may cost the defending Eastern Connecticut Conference champs a chance to defend that title.

“Last year, we petered out at the end, but our primary goal was to win ECCs,” said Johnson, whose team later finished 14th in Class LL. “I knew I had a team that they were going to be lucky even if they made it to the State Open, and they didn’t make it. And now we got everybody back, and it’s not that we don’t wanna win ECCs but it’s not our primary goal.

“Our primary goal is to finish it the top six in the State Open and make that trip to New Englands. We haven’t been here since the time I started coaching, and we want to get back.”

Johnson has created a buzz in some circles with his decision. The Day of New London ran a column discussing his move, and East Lyme head coach Sam Harfenist told the Norwich Bulletin the move indicated a lack of respect for the Vikings in their dual meet.

“Conversations were had,” he said of his team.

While a risk in some sense, Johnson seems confident it will pay off. His full team ran for the first time Saturday at the Ocean State Invitational, where the Wildcats’ finished 10th as a team in the championship race and fourth among Connecticut schools. Among those was Xavier-Middletown, ranked No. 1 in the state and Amity, ranked No. 4.

“It’s no new big thing,” Johnson said. “Danbury is probably going to be the No. 1 team in the state when the coaches poll comes out (it was No. 2), and they lost on (Sept. 14), too, a one-point loss to Fairfield-Warde. Why? Because they didn’t run their top six.”

HIGH-FIVES:
1. Football Game to Watch: Xavier-Middletown at Cheshire, Friday, 7 p.m.

Need to know: Xavier, the consensus No. 1 team in the state, boasts a defense that’s been scary good. In its 37-0 whipping of Foran last weekend, it held the Lions to 13 yards of total offense. Meanwhile, the punishing hits it left on Notre Dame-West Haven the week prior may still be ringing out in southern Connecticut.

“We take a lot of pride in being a very physical football team,” coach Sean Marinan said Wednesday. “We’ve got pretty good speed on the defensive side of the football … but it’s more about being in the right place. If you do that, you can contain the other team.”

Cheshire, No. 5 in all three major state polls, is the defending Class LL champion and is led by athletic quarterback Max Slade, who’s also a dangerous punt returner.

2. Football Game to Watch No. 2: Windsor at Southington, Friday, 7 p.m.
Need to know: Windsor is hoping to cement itself as the team to beat in the CCC, evidenced by its No. 9 ranking in The Day state coaches poll. Southington, under new coach D.J. Hernandez, is 2-0 as well and would love to boast the same claim.

Both teams love to throw the ball, Windsor behind Alton Smith and Southington behind Connor Butkiewicz.

3. Football Game to Watch No. 3: Staples-Wesport at Ridgefield, Friday, 7 p.m.
Need to know: Meanwhile in the FCIAC, Staples gets it first test of the season against Ridgefield, another team that hasn’t been tested in a dominant 2-0 start. Staples has won this regular-season meeting in four of the last five years, twice giving Ridgefield its only loss of the year (2009, ’05).

4. Old news for New Canaan
Need to know: A year after posting 18 shutouts and outscoring its postseason opponents, 19-1, en route to a state title, the New Canaan girls soccer team has outscored CIAC teams, 14-0, in compiling a 4-0 record entering Wednesday’s game against Fairfield-Warde. The Rams are ranked No. 1 in the Hartford Courant state coaches poll.

5. The high road
Need to know: The E.O. Smith boys soccer team played just one of its first five games at home this season, but it hardly seems bothered. The Panthers are 5-0 and went from being unranked to No. 3 in the state coaches poll this past week. The reward: They play their next four at home in Storrs.

New England Roundup: Connecticut

September, 2, 2010
9/02/10
8:52
PM ET
Tim Guernsey answered the question like he’s been asked it a million time before.

No, the RHAM volleyball coach doesn’t know how many consecutive games his team has won.

Really.

“Nope,” he said, chuckling. “I have no idea. It’s for writers.”

He does, however, remember the last time the Lady Sachems lost — to Farmington in the Northwest Conference final.

In 2007.

Nearly three years and three state championships separate then and now. Fifty-three straight wins do, too.

ConnecticutBut the streak is hardly a concern for RHAM, one of the state’s most dominant programs in any sport despite starting just eight years ago with a coach who never played the sport and in a town — Hebron — that loves its soccer.

Inside the RHAM gymnasium, there are blue banners signifying league championships and gold ones reserved for state titles. As one would expect, the only number on the gold ones is for the year, not that number of losses.

“People are going to come into the gym and they’re going to notice 2010, they won a state title,” Guernsey said. “Not that they had 10 losses or no losses.”

Nevertheless, they’ve been hard to come by at RHAM. The Sachems lost just one game (yes, game!) last season en route to their third straight Class M title. They rode big hitters in All-State selections Kelsey Welling and Tessa Smolinski, also the Gatorade Player of the Year, and a group of seven seniors well-versed in winning.

They’re gone, but in a program that’s quickly built a legacy of success, little else has changed.

Gold’s the goal. Again.

(Read full post)

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