Boston High School: Jovan Santos-Knox

New England Roundup: Connecticut

April, 6, 2012
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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.

UMass making splash in NE recruiting

March, 16, 2012
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Shortly after University of Massachusetts football coach Charley Molnar secured his first recruiting class in February, he talked about how he wanted New England players to form the foundation of his program. Apparently that was more than just talk.

UMass has clearly made New England –- and Massachusetts in particular –- the focus of much of its recruiting efforts.

BC High offensive lineman Jack McDonald, Everett offensive lineman John Montelus, Xaverian defensive lineman Maurice Hurst Jr., Tabor Academy defensive lineman Tevin Montgomery, BB&N tight end Brendan O'Neil and Catholic Memorial defensive end Peter Ngobidi have each received a scholarship offer from UMass, which held two junior days last month.

In addition, Todd Stafford, a 6-foot-5, 240-pound quarterback from the Brunswick School in Greenwich, Conn., committed to UMass on Thursday. He became UMass' first commitment from the class of 2013.

“I went to the first junior day and [Molnar] said with the move to the MAC they want to start with the local kids,” McDonald said. “He talked about how good the talent is around here, and they want to bring in as many local kids as they can.”

UMass has been competing at the FCS level in the Colonial Athletic Association, but will move up to the FBS level when it begins play in the MAC next season. The Minutemen won't play on campus, but will use Gillette Stadium as their home field.

“It's a little bit of a drive from the campus, but I got to play at Gillette in last year's Super Bowl and it's a once-in-a-lifetime experience,” McDonald said. “They'll have their own locker room there. I think the positives will outweigh the negatives.”

McDonald also has offers from Boston College and Maryland, and has received significant interest from Duke and Temple.

“Right now I'm considering everything,” he said.

Montelus and Hurst each have at least 10 Division 1 scholarship offers. Hurst received his offer from UMass while at one of the junior days last month.

“I'll definitely consider UMass,” Hurst said. “I really like the coaching staff and a lot of Mass. kids seem to be going there.”

There were six players from New England in Molnar's first recruiting class: wide receiver Khary Bailey Smith (Weymouth), tight end Nevin Cyr (Pelham, N.H.), quarterback A.J. Doyle (Lakeville), linebacker Vondell Langston (Everett), linebacker John Robinson (Springfield) and linebacker Jovan Santos-Knox (Middletown, Conn.).

Wide receiver Derek Beck, a New Jersey native who played at Bridgton Academy in North Bridgton, Maine, signed with UMass as well.

Jake Kennedy, who is perhaps the best offensive lineman from New Hampshire in the Class of 2013, also has a UMass offer. Kennedy plays for Souhegan High School in Amherst.

Kennedy received his offer from UMass defensive line coach Dave Sollazzo earlier this week. He's also receiving interest from Boston College, Connecticut, New Hampshire, Brown and Harvard.

Kennedy said UMass is a school he'll strongly consider.

“Most definitely,” he said. “I could see myself there.”

New England Roundup: Connecticut

February, 10, 2012
2/10/12
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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)

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