Hit two scrimmages today. Bunnell-Staples-Wolcott-Bulkeley at Staples Field, and then the tail-end of Masuk-Shelton at Finn Stadium.
Here are the quick hits, notes and observations:
No, New London did not show up as a few who attended expected.
There were quite a few fans in the stands. Not bad for a Wednesday afternoon.
It was extremely hot on the field, but no word on if I was poisoned with toxic fumes from the pulverized rubber. Then again, who would notice?
Staples could have run a split squad and been able to compete with two of the other three schools at the event.
Staples has some big boys on its team. B.J. Lerner particularly impressed early on. He tipped a pass, stuffed a run…had the JV players Ooohing and Aahhing. Couldn’t miss Illinois recruit Ryan Sedlacek either
Hampus Hellermark, the Swedish exchange student tailback and defensive back I’ve been hearing so much about since July has indeed arrived. He looked pretty good, and I’m not referring to those golden curly locks flowing from beneath his helmet, ladies. :)
Senior back Colin O’Shea has all-state written all over him.
Staples has a good kicker, New Canaan.
After getting hit, Bunnell’s lefty quarterback Chris Sloat heard this from a Staples player: “Smitty ain’t here anymore, huh?” a reference to Steve Smith, who cut Staples up for four TDs in last year’s upset Class L victory.
While, yes, Smith was not in uniform, he was on the field along with Ryan Everetts and Greg Fabso. They were showing off their Class L championship rings.
Staples coach Marce Petroccio: “That’s OK. I’ve got, like, five of them.”
It got pretty chippy between Bunnell and Staples late in the scrimmage, some pushing, some shoving, hard hits and big plays. Even the between coaches. Bunnell assistant and Ansonia’s own Jeff Coppola and Marce were seen jawing back and forth.
Afterwards, Marce turns to me and says, “Ain’t this great? You can just feel those competitive juices flowing!”
To prove that point, Marce was all over the referees. “That was OFFENSIVE pass interference! What? C’mon! He had his hands all over him!”
“I didn’t know you guys were giving out trophies today,” says I.
Bunnell also has some big boys: Namely 6-foot-infinity receivers Mike Easley, who’s brother Marcus made the travel squad at UConn, and Mark Harrison who’s a junior hoops wunderkind. Lineman Hopeton Quarrie looked good. So did a few of Bunnell’s other players. Jonathan Jackson, who caught the first touchdown and 2-point conversion in the L title game, went from looking like a sprite in the offseason to a monster.
Overall, Staples looked like they could run with O’Shea, Pat O’Leary, Josh Kozel and that massive line. New quarterback Mike Samela showed he could run the offense, but is still just learning and made some rookie mistakes. The defense played pretty typical Staples defense.
Smitty may be gone, but Bunnell’s running the same stuff with a good looking QB in Sloat: Shotgun spread with receivers Easley and Harrison able to out-leap any d-back out there (now all they have to do is catch the ball more consistently). Defensively, the Bulldogs will be tough in the SWC.
(looking up) Woah. Wrote a lot there for a Wednesday night.
As for Shelton and Masuk, I got there late. I had a football preview section meeting with my bosses and a brainstorm with our crack photographer. We’re trying to put together a good preview, so I had to be there. Plus, I uploaded the video.
Here’s Easley making a play against Staples’ defense:
Here’s O’Shea running for sideline yardage:
From what I gathered from the Shelton-Masuk scrimmage, Masuk rolled up and down the field on the Gaels. HOWEVER, Geoff Schultz, the best player in the SCC and one of the top 10 in the state wasn’t there for Shelton. Neither was receiver Alex Benedetto. But Masuk was also missing a few players.
(Schultz, by the way, was hilarious. He was nursing a slight leg injury, which led to him sitting this one out. But he was standing there, in street clothes: “I’m so upset. I want to hit somebody.” We hear ya, but you’d better save it.)
Finally, it was a scrimmage that I really didn’t get to see, so don’t take too much from any of this, but Shelton coach Jeff Roy said his team needs more work. Masuk coach John Murphy said his team looked good, but also needs more work (they’ll get it against Greenwich on Monday).
That’s it for Wednesday. More scrimmages tomorrow. Plus, I have to start writing stories.