Boston High School: Hand-Madison

New England Roundup: Connecticut

October, 12, 2012
10/12/12
1:04
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It'll be the most hyped high school football game in the state this season, and deservedly so.

ConnecticutFriday night's contest between Xavier (Middletown) and Hand (Madison) features the top two teams in the Hartford Courant's state rankings. Each team is 4-0.

“I've been thinking about this game for a long time, No. 1 versus No. 2,” Xavier quarterback Tim Boyle told the Courant. “There will be a big crowd and a great atmosphere. What more can a player ask for?”

“Xavier is very, very good,” added Hand coach Steve Filippone. “They don't make foolish mistakes. Their talent and execution are at a very high level.”

Top-ranked Xavier, last year's Class LL champion, will carry a 30-game winning streak into Friday's contest (7 p.m.) at Palmer Field in Middletown. Xavier's last loss came against Staples in the 2009 Class LL semifinals.

The Falcons are averaging 44.3 points per contest and have outscored their four opponents 177-32.

Second-ranked Hand, last year's Class L champion, has won 17 games in a row. The Tigers are averaging 39.0 points per game, and have outscored their opponents 156-53 in their four victories.

Boyle, a 6-foot-4, 205-pound senior, has completed 46 of 79 passes for 726 yards and nine touchdowns this season. He has committed to play at Boston College.

Boyle is complemented by running back DeAngelo Berry, who ranks fourth in the state in rushing yardage (763 yards).

The Xavier offense will be facing a defense led by linebacker Matt Walsh and defensive end Peter Gerson. Walsh has committed to the University of Connecticut, and Gerson will continue his career at Yale.

It'll be the first time the programs have met since Hand posted a 31-16 victory in 2007. Hand leads the series 14-6.

The longest high school football winning streaks in state history:

Cheshire (49) 1992-96
Ansonia (36) 1975-78
Bloomfield (35) 1996-2000
Ansonia (35) 2005-08
New Canaan (34) 1967-70
Xavier-Middletown (34) 1970-1973
Fitch-Groton (34) 1999-2001
St. Joseph-Trumbull (30) 1981-84
Xavier (30) 2010-2012

Note: Stamford went 33-0-2 from 1911 to 1914; Derby went 33-0-1 from 1966 to 1970; and Southington went 32-0-1 from 1962 to 1966.

WOOSTOCK MAY GET RELIEF
The Woodstock Academy football program will likely move from the Eastern Connecticut Conference's Large Division to the Small Division for the next two-year cycle, which begins with the 2013-14 school year.

Woodstock's request was approved by the league's athletic directors Tuesday, but still must be approved by the league's principals next month.

Woodstock is 0-4 and has been outscored 174-21 this season. The Centaurs were 2-8 and were outscored 302-148 last year.

The ECC's athletic directors also voted on divisional alignment for the next two seasons. If Woodstock is allowed to move down, the league's three divisions will have a 4-6-5 format. No team from the Medium Division expressed an interest to replace Woodstock in the Large Division. The new alignment would look like this:

Large Division: East Lyme, Fitch, New London and Norwich Free Academy.

Medium Division: Bacon Academy, Killingly, Ledyard, Montville, Stonington and Waterford.

Small Division: Griswold, Plainfield, St. Bernard/Norwich Tech, Windham and Woodstock.

A PERFECT 10?
The seniors on the Bacon Academy boys' soccer team are playing for their third coach in as many years, but you wouldn't know it by looking at the team's results this season.

First-year coach Andrew Storton has guided Bacon Academy to a 9-0 start. The Bobcats will be seeking their 10th victory when they place Windham on Friday.

Bacon Academy has outscored its opponents 42-4 this season, and has recorded six shutouts.

Roger Brown is a staff writer for the New Hampshire Union Leader and has been covering sports throughout New England since 1992.

New England Roundup: Connecticut

September, 12, 2012
9/12/12
3:27
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The high school football season starts later in Connecticut than it does in the five other New England states, but the wait is almost over.

ConnecticutThings kick off this week, and here are 10 teams to keep an eye on as the 2012 season unfolds (2011 record in parenthesis):

XAVIER (13-0 ): Quarterback Pat D'Amato is among the 19 seniors who graduated from last year's team, which won its second consecutive Class LL championship The Falcons, who own a 26-game winning streak, will build around Boston College-bound quarterback Tim Boyle and are considered by many to be the best team in the state. Opener: at Notre Dame-West Haven on Friday.

STAPLES (11-1): There's plenty of star power here. The defending FCIAC champion returns quarterback Jack Massie (1,617 yards passing and 14 TDs last season), running back Joey Zelkowitz (1,019 yards rushing) and linebacker Kevin Kearney, who averaged a team-high 13.1 tackles per game last season. Opener: St. Joseph-Trumbull on Friday.

HAND (13-0): The Tigers, last year's Class L champion, lost some key pieces, but should be stingy on defense with linebacker Matt Walsh and defensive end Peter Gerson. Walsh will play fullback at Connecticut, and Gerson is headed to Yale. Opener: Amity-Woodbridge on Friday.

ANSONIA (14-0): The Chargers, who won the Class M championship last season, are competing in Class S this year. Junior Arkeel Newsome set the state's single-season rushing record (3,763 yards) in 2011, when he scored 58 touchdowns. Opener: at Torrington on Friday.

WINDSOR (11-1): May be the team to beat in the Central Connecticut Conference. Quarterback Quinn Fleeting passed for 2,802 yards and 30 TDs last season, and added 522 yards and four TDs on the ground. He'll have a good target in Ryheime Moore, who had 911 receiving yards and nine touchdowns in 2011. Opener: at Wethersfield on Friday.

GREENWICH (8-2): The Cardinals, who lost to Staples in the FCIAC final last year, have 37 seniors on their roster and will be attempting to make the Class LL playoffs for the first time since 2007. Liam O'Neil is among the top quarterbacks in the FCIAC. Opener: at Ridgefield on Friday.

HILLHOUSE (7-3): The Academics are loaded at the skill positions. Junior running back Harold Cooper averaged 13.6 yards per carry last season, when he gained 1,835 yards on 134 attempts. He's complemented by quarterback Je'Vaughn Moore, who is expected to continue his career at the college level. Opener: at Foran-Milford Thursday.

LEDYARD (11-2): Size on the defensive line is a concern, but the Colonels appear to be fine everywhere else. Thirteen starters return, including quarterback John Rainey. Opener: Waterford on Thursday.

HOLY CROSS (12-1): Won the Class S title last year, and figures to battle Ansonia for the top spot in the NVL this season. Adrian Brown, who ran for 1,013 yards in 2011, and Isaiah Wright, last year's top receiver, are back. Opener: Watertown on Friday.

BERLIN (10-2): The Redcoats lost to Ansonia in the Class M semifinals last season, and the majority of that team is back. The offensive line, which features guard Chris Meucci (6-0, 240 pounds) and tackle Mitch Blanchette (6-3, 285), looks like the team's strength. Opener: at East Catholic-Manchester on Saturday.

Roger Brown is a staff writer for the New Hampshire Union Leader and has been covering high school sports throughout New England since 1992.

New England Roundup: Connecticut

April, 6, 2012
4/06/12
2:36
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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

March, 12, 2012
3/12/12
1:02
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Tolland High School's Kristin Schatzlein was named Connecticut's top girls high school basketball player last week. She's hoping to make even bigger news this weekend.

ConnecticutThree days after Schatzlein became the first Tolland player to be selected as Connecticut's Gatorade Player of the Year, second-seeded Tolland advanced to the Class M championship game by defeating third-seeded Ellington 60-38 in Friday's Class M semifinals.

Tolland (22-2) will meet top-seeded Weaver (23-1) for the title. Weaver advanced with a 48-39 victory over fifth-seeded Cromwell.

“Schatzlein never gets rattled on the floor and always wants the ball when the game is on the line," Bloomfield coach Dan Matthews said. "She shoots the ball extremely well from beyond the arc, but she also handles the ball well."

Schatzlein scored 15 points in the semifinal win against Ellington. She entered that game averaging 20.3 points, 9.9 rebounds, 6.3 assists, 5.5 steals and 2.1 blocks per game. The Eagles had lost in the semifinals in each of the past two years.

The Gatorade Player of the Year Award recognizes not only outstanding athletic excellence, but also high standards of academic achievement and exemplary character demonstrated on and off the court.

Schatzlein has signed a national letter of intent to play basketball at Fairfield next season.

Recent winners of the Gatorade Player of the Year Award include Katie Mahoney (2010-11, Bacon Academy), Kastine Evans (2009-10, Norwich Free Academy), Symone Roberts (2008-09, New Britain), Heather Buck (2007-08 and 2006-07, Stonington), Shamika Jackson (2003-04, East Catholic), and Amanda Pape (2002-03, Trinity Catholic).

WHITE WASHING
It's probably safe to say the Hamden boys' hockey team has seen enough of Fairfield Prep forward David White.

White scored eight goals in three victories over Hamden this season. Two of those goals came during Saturday's 2-0 victory over eighth-seeded Hamden in the Division I quarterfinals.

Top-seeded Fairfield Prep (19-3-0) will face fourth-seeded Glastonbury (18-4-0) in Wednesday's Division I semifinals. No. 2 Notre Dame-West Haven (18-3-1) will meet No. 6 West Haven (15-7-0) in the other semifinal.

The Division II semifinals will be played Monday, and the Division III semifinals will be held Tuesday.

Division II: No. 1 Guilford (12-7-2) vs No. 5 Trumbull (13-9-0); No. 7 Branford (13-9-0) vs. No. 3 North Branford (13-8-1).

Division III: No. 1 Newington-Berlin (19-2-0) vs. No. 4 NFA-St. Bernard-Bacon (12-9-0) vs. No. 3 Northwest Catholic (17-4-0).

GRAPPLING WITH SUCCESS
Five Connecticut wrestlers won individual titles at the 48th New England Interscholastic Wrestling Championships held March 3 in Providence, R.I.

Sean Marinan, who helped Xavier win the 2012 State Open championship, prevailed at the 220-pound weight class. Marinan defeated Masuk's Eric Tucker to win the title.

Marinan will join the University of Connecticut football program as a preferred walk-on next season.

Middletown's Devon Carrillo (182), Newington's Chris Chorzepa (170), Hand's Will Crisco (120) and Westhill's Pascal Medor (106) also won New England titles in their respective weight class.

Timberlane (Plaistow, N.H.) won the team title. Hand-Madison was the runner-up.

RUNNERS GET HOLMES-SCHOOLED
Hillhouse junior Precious Holmes didn't disappoint her followers at the 25th New England Indoor Track Championship earlier this month.

Holmes set meet records by prevailing in the 300-meter run (:38.22 seconds) and the 600 (1:30.79). Her time in the 600 also established a New England record.

In addition, Holmes ran a leg on Hillhouse's 4x400 relay team, which finished first in 3:56.84. Johnesse Peterson, Jayvona McDaniel and Lanja Carr were the other members of the 4x400 team.

Roger Brown publishes the New Hampshire Football Report. He has been covering high school sports in New England since 1992.

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
AM ET
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.

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