Ye Olde Football Blog continues a sporadic and random series on local spring games. Today: Staples.
Friday must have been a great day if you are one of the returning members of the Staples football team.
Finally, after stewing for months over their bitter defeat in the Class LL semifinals, the Wreckers could begin to wipe the bile from their mouths.
But this isn’t like last year, when the Wreckers returned a horde of senior stars. Staples in 2013 will be almost an entirely new team, a different team. It’s basically back to the drawing board. They know it. They understand it. That was then, this is now.
Just how long it takes to craft a championship-caliber team will be the debate. Can they do it quickly, with just four starters returning? Or is 2013 the start of an arduous climb back?
Even though coach Marce Petroccio says this time the roster turnover is more dramatic than any he’s ever had, history says they’ll be fine. Remember, just two years ago Staples was basically a collections of no-names that gradually built itself into a state finalist in just a few months.
Then again, the 2011 squad didn’t face the schedule this group will face.
They kick off at Palmer Field in Week 1. New Canaan looms in Week 7. And, of course, Greenwich.
Doug Bonjour has the details on Staples’ annual spring game held Friday.
Here are the essentials:
- One of lone returning seniors, three-year starting quarterback Jack Massie sat out practice with an injured back.
- Another senior, tackle Nick Ward, is the only returning starter on the offensive line.
- Running back Patrick Lesch, whose 716 yards and 9 TDs made him the team’s second-leading rusher behind Joey Zelkowitz, also sat out spring practice after having offseason hip surgery. He’s expected to be OK by the time the team hits UConn camp in a month.
- That left a field comprised entirely of new starters. “For us this is a developmental time, and that’s just how we’re going to treat it,” Petroccio said. “We’re going to watch some kids compete.”
- Hey, lookit the funny helmet hats!
- (Yes, yes, jokes aside, who wants to deal with concussions, especially in spring football? Extra helmet padding couldn’t hurt.)
“We had so many great players last year. We had a great time coaching them. It was hard for the whole thing to end. You know what, we’re moving on. We’ve got great young kids. They work hard and they’re excitable.”
Let’s get this out of the way: The ballyhooed Xavier-Staples SCC-FCIAC challenge matchup at Palmer Field in Week 1 will be more like catching a ‘Phantom of the Opera’ with cast full of understudies.
It’s a big game, no doubt. Huge, even, since the winner will have a massive leg-up on its early-season state playoff hopes (especially if the other team does well). But both squads suffered massive turnover. Many players will be starting varsity for the first time.
Who knows? By November we all might be wondering what the fuss was all about.
Anyway, aside from Week 1, the New Canaan game and the Greenwich finale, Staples’ schedule isn’t too, too daunting. Seven of the Wreckers’ eight remaining opponents had .500-or-worse records in 2012 — and that’s not including Westhill. So, if this team jells quickly like Staples teams often do, then don’t look for the Wreckers to fall far.