Connecticut High School Football

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2012 Southern Connecticut Conference football cheat sheet

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Tim Boyle takes over as the sole QB for two-time defending champion Xavier.

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DEFENDING CHAMPIONS

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Division I: XAVIER (West); HAND (East).
Division II:
HILLHOUSE
(West); NORTH HAVEN (East)

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Local SCC Preview Capsules

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TOP 5 PLAYERS

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  • HAROLD COOPER, Hillhouse – Ran for 1,905 yards and 25 touchdowns as a sophomore, has 3,310 for his career already, averages 11 yards per carry. No wonder why Boston College is hot on the 5-foot-8, 180-pound back’s tail.
  • ERVIN PHILLIPS, RB/DB, West Haven – Passes the ‘eye test’ at 5-11, 170 pounds. Ran for almost 950 yards in just six games before a shoulder injury. Back and healthy and behind a big line, Phillips might be the best this state has to offer.
  • TIM BOYLE, QB, Xavier – Don’t let the modest stats fool you, the 6-4, 200-pound quarterback is legit. He’s committed Boston College and leads, perhaps, the best team in the land.
  • MATT WALSH, FB/LB, Hand – The 6-1, 230-pound monster is committed to UConn and is the anchor of the defending Class L champion’s brick-wall defense.
  • PETER GERSON, OL/DL, Hand — The other keystone to Hand’s defense. Six-foot-2, 222-pound Yale commit had 99 tackles and 15 sacks during last year’s 13-0 Class L championship run.

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KEEP AN EYE ON…

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JALON WHITE, RB/DB, North Haven; DeANGELO BERRY, RB, Xavier; Je’VAUGHN MOORE, QB/DB, Hillhouse; ANDRE ANDERSON, RB/DB, Hillhouse; SAM PASCALE, RB/DB, Cheshire; JOEY NAULT, QB/DB, Guilford; WILL KARCHER, WR/DB, Shelton; DILLON RYAN, RB/DB, Fairfield Prep; JAMES SEMMONELLA, QB/DB, Amity; CAMERAN TUCKER, RB/LB, Notre Dame-WH; ED KOCHISS, WR/DB, Shelton; EDDIE WILLIAMS, DE/FB, West Haven; KYLE ANDERSON, TE/DE, Hand; KRIS LUSTER, RB/DB, Xavier; CONNOR WALLON, QB, Shelton; VINCENT SANSONE, QB/DB, Cheshire; JESSE RIDGWAY, LB, West Haven; JAGGER KALAGIAN, RB, Shelton; ALEX TUCCERO, DB, Hand; TYRELL FAIRWEATHER,LB, Hillhouse; MAX TYLKI, FB/LB, Xavier; NICK WEISSAUER, RB/WR/DB, Foran; DEVIN CRUZ, WR, Lyman Hall; DAN ROGERS, RB/DB, Hand; CURTIS SUTHERLAND, RB/DB, Branford; SEAN MERRILL, OL/DL, Sheehan; TIM MAHER, QB, Law.

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THE FAVORITES

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  • SCC Division I: XAVIER It’s almost an entirely new team. Twenty great seniors are a memory. That said, the Falcons have won 26 straight games, have a D-1 quarterback, a burner at tailback and monsters on the lines. What’s not to love? [Related: Xavier hoping to maintain success]
  • SCC Division II: HILLHOUSE – The Academics have one of the state’s best tailbacks, a two-year starter at QB and the usual compliment of big boys. Unless North Haven pulls the upset, consider these guys the class of D2.

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5 CONTENDERS

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  • HAND (Division I) – The defending Class L champs go into the season unproven on offense. The Tigers lost a lot of offensive linemen and will break in a new quarterback. The defense should be tremendous with two of the state’s best, Gerson and Walsh, manning the hashmarks. Hand should be tough if not impossible to take down.
  • WEST HAVEN (D1) – The Westies have Phillips, a massive line for him to run behind and a stingy defense led by Williams and Ridgway. The Westies will also keep everyone fresh with two platoons. If that passing game develops, look out. Unfortunately, plays both Hand (Week 6) and Xavier (Week 9) on the road.
  • SHELTON (D1) – The Gaels are young, but exceptionally talented at the skill positions. Their Achilles’ Heel? The lines are smaller than the Valley school is used to, which doesn’t bode well in the House of Horrors that is SCC Division I. Then again, aside from a telling Week 1 game vs. Cheshire, Shelton’s schedule doesn’t go straight uphill until Weeks 8 and 9 when they play Hand and Xavier back-to-back for their playoff lives.
  • NORTH HAVEN (Division II) – The Indians will miss guys like Mark Zurlis and Joe Schwab. They still have big linemen. They still bludgeon opponents with the single wing, and they still have Jalon White. They’re still one of the top-two teams in Division II.
  • GUILFORD (D2) – Don’t get us wrong, the Indians have a long way to go to compete with the monsters of Division II. But they’re still young and have some promising talent developing. Probably the third-best team in D2 at the moment.

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DARK HORSES

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  • CHESHIRE (D1) – Feels like the Rams are starting all over with almost a brand-new cast of characters and a new coach, alum Don Drust in an interim capacity, at the controls. Cheshire’s smaller than usual and will rely on its seniors to carry them. But they’re still dangerous.
  • FORAN (D2) – The Lions lost a massive senior class, but the junior class is one to watch. They are, perhaps, a year away.
  • FAIRFIELD PREP (D1) – This is Year 3 of the Tom Shea Experience and, if nothing else, the Jesuits have insane numbers. Joe McBride won’t play after a setback to last year’s knee injury. Luckily, understudy Dillon Ryan is an outstaning replacement. The Jesuits were all fired up about beating Staples in a scrimmage. so maybe that gives them a needed confidence boost.
  • NOTRE DAME-WH (D1) — Last year’s playoff ream was gutted in the offseason. They still have Tucker to carry the ball and ND in a rebuilding year is more dangerous than most.

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5 CAN’T MISS GAMES

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  • HAND at XAVIER (Oct. 12, Week 5) – The game everybody was dying to see a year ago comes a year late. No worries, this game will still draw a couple thousand fans to Palmer Field who will have no problems pretending this is for No. 1 in the state come December.
  • HILLHOUSE at NORTH HAVEN (Oct. 12, Week 5) — Just down Middletown Ave the league’s best Division II rivalry will commence. As far as playoff prospects go, this might be a bigger game than Hand-Xavier.
  • WEST HAVEN at HAND (Oct. 19, Week 6) – Phillips injured his shoulder and Hand put the Westies to sleep with Nick Vitale in this showdown last year. It essentially knocked West Haven out of the playoffs. We go back to the Surf Club for another crucial, late-season round of this classic SCC rivalry.
  • XAVIER at HILLHOUSE (Oct. 26, Week 7) — Remember the last time Xavier trekked to New Haven on a Friday afternoon? The Falcons were a tipped pass away from being upset in 2010. This is one crossover game you don’t want to miss.
  • WEST HAVEN at XAVIER (Nov. 9, Week 8 ) — Now we’re talking. A late-season, Class LL playoff mega-match pitting Boyle vs. Phillips at Palmer Field. West Haven’s one of the few teams that knows and has what it takes to upend the two-time champs. Is this the year? At Palmer, it’ll be rough going, especially if the Xavier student section — “The Black Hole” — has something to cheer about.

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EXTRA POINTS

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Nuts and bolts: The SCC’s new schedule will last only one year instead of the traditional, two-year, home-and-home rotation. The league did this to accommodate next season’s SCC-FCIAC challenge matchups. …New coaches: Don Drust takes over for Mark Ecke at Cheshire. Ecke resigned in the spring after getting into an altercation at his son’s lacrosse game. Drust played at Cheshire in the late 1990s and has been with the program as a coach for the last 10 years. He is serving this season on an interim basis. Also: Rob Marone, the son of East Haven athletic director and former coach Mike Marone, takes over for Chip McKeehan at Lyman Hall. …Scheduling oddities: The league’s bye teams (there are nine due to the hole left by Derby several years ago) have picked up the following non-conference games: Branford hosts Trumbull in Week 1; Hamden will play at Danbury Week 2; North Haven travels to New London in Week 4; In Week 10, the one before Thanksgiving, Foran will play Guilford, East Haven will play Wilbur Cross in non-league games. Sheehan will play newcomer Whitney Tech. Law will host Plainfield. …Notable transfers: Twins Dan and Pat Rogers have joined Hand from Weston; QB Javon Taylor transferred from Wilbur Cross to West Haven and will be the starting QB; Shelton picked up big receiver Christian Federici from St. Joseph. Cheshire lost Rahmil Rountree to Woodland…

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PREDICTIONS

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  • Champions: Division I West: Xavier; Division I East: West Haven; Division II West: Hillhouse; Division II East: North Haven
  • Playoff Teams: Xavier (LL); West Haven (LL); Hillhouse (M); Hand (L).

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THE BOTTOM LINE

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If you’re an outsider, don’t drift within earshot of an SCC coach, assistant or player unless you want the familiar ring of SCC! SCC! SCC! to rattle around your cerebral cortex.

Yes, the SEC of Connecticut High School football loves to remind everyone that it has won six state championships in three years, including the past three Class LL championships and two of the last three Class L titles. Since winning just one title from 2006-2008, this has become the best league in the state.

It has three of the state’s best tailbacks, the state’s best quarterback and the state’s best defenses and, of course, the most aggressive scheduling. Might as well pack up and go home, everyone else. (Not you NVL, the SCC thinks you’re cute with those Class M and S banners decorating your gymnasiums.)

Anyway, Xavier is the hands-down favorite to rule the roost for another year. But this year, it has both West Haven and Hand (among other heavyweights) to worry about in the regular season. Hillhouse and North Haven are the top dogs in Division II. They will also be testing their mettle against Hand, Xavier and (in North Haven’s case), New London during the regular season. Don’t forget the likes of Cheshire, Shelton, Notre Dame-West Haven and a few others. No game is a gimme in the SCC. You pay for what you get, and you get what you pay for: Whoever reaches the playoffs is going to be battle-tested and ready to take all championship comers. Two more state titles in December look probable.

Make sure you’ve cleared a few spots in that crammed trophy case, Al Carbone.

Sean Patrick Bowley

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