Connecticut High School Football

High School Football news, analysis, commentary and features from the reporters of the Hearst Connecticut Media Group.

Jack’s on the attack: Cochran wasting no time shaping up Harding (and Bridgeport)


Harding CampJack Cochran, Harding’s new football coach, isn’t just sitting idly by and counting down the days to first football practice.

And he’s not merely scouring the Bridgeport playgrounds for potential talent, as was reported on the day of his hire last month.

No, sir.

Big Jack has gone to work, quite literally.

Cochran had two announcements Wednesday. Both figure to contribute toward the legend that he’s a Wild West sheriff come to clean up this town.

First, Harding’s parents and players are getting together Saturday for a community cleanup at Hedges Stadium.

The place needs some serious work, Cochran acknowledged, and short of installing a new turf and adding some state-of-the-art amenities, this parent-son cleanup is the next best thing.

They’ll be there Saturday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. to give the place a little football feng shui.

Second (and much more important) Cochran is announcing the first All-City Instructional Football Clinic, presented by the Harding High School Football Program. (See flier, at right).

The clinic, which will be held at Hedges Stadium on August. 10 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., is open to ALL Bridgeport residents from grades 4-9.

(Those NFL helmets represent the Bridgeport Chargers, the Bridgeport Raiders and the Park City Panthers youth football programs).

This is a free clinic. And Cochran says he’ll have some special guests.

For more information, call him at (860) 748-8899, or email him at



Sean Patrick Bowley

43 Responses

  1. Crusader joe says:

    And if Trinity tried something like this it would be considered recruiting……what’s the difference? He’ll get away with it because ” he is saving a program”. What a joke

  2. swcinsider says:

    good stuff

  3. Don Bosco says:

    Dear Mr. Bowley,

    Dear Mr. Bowley,

    I enjoy your coverage.

    My question pertains to the trend which has been expanding throughout high school football, why don’t the elite HS teams in CT play the best from other states. Xavier and Hand have dominated the past several years yet continue to feast on local teams. Why not branch out a bit to see how they measure up against the likes of NJ’s best ie Don Bosco, St. Joseph Regional and Bergen Catholic? It would be a nice measuring stick for CT football.


  4. swcinsider says:

    Crusader Joe Trinity does recruit that’s the difference
    He’s running a camp for the youth and that happens thru
    out the state

  5. Ryan says:

    Crusader Joe- There are plenty of High Schools out there that hold their own camps both public and private. It is a recruiting tool for both types of schools but its also a way of giving back to the community and helps to keep or start kids interest in sports. I don’t have a problem with camps either way. More specifically I think you have to give Cochran props. The guy absolutely throws himself 100% into the program and immediately gets to work building a program that will lead to success on the field and off of it (for the players and community at least).

  6. Bubba says:

    @Don Bosco: A public High School in CT playing Bergen Catholic, Don Bosco, or any other private H.S in NJ. What are you smokin! NJ has no season limits. They can practice all year with their coaches. Bosco and Catholic have representation from 30 to 40 zip codes in Jersey, they are all star teams. That is a flat out dumb comment. Sorry

  7. Xfan2013 says:

    Xavier is going to host Paramus Catholic in a scrimmage on the Saturday of Labor Day weekend.

  8. coach says:

    No matter what he does there are still districts in Bridgeport so North End kids will still play at Central, East side/East end at Harding and West and South end at Bassick there are coaches in the FCIAC ready to bust him for some type of illegal action so im sure he is walking on thin ice coaches just have to sure up there sides of town

  9. Don Bosco says:

    Bubba, perhaps you should try reading, the first CT team I mentioned was Xavier, which like Bosco or Bergen is a catholic school. My point is simple, schools such as Xavier have no problem beating up on teams in ct, I think it would be interesting to see what happens when a powerhouse such as Xavier goes helmet to helmet with a power from another state. Whether that state is MA, NJ or NY, I think it would be an intriguing match-up.

  10. Don Bosco says:

    Xfan2013, how is Xavier going to be this year? Hopefully it will be a good game, PC is loaded.

  11. Don Bosco says:

    Good for Xavier to go out and challenge a team from another state.

  12. hoop says:

    in the pre-season Massey football high school ratings, Paramus Catholic is ranked 4th, behind Bosco, St. Joe’s abnd Bergen Catholica. I’d say they’re loaded.

    in the same rankings for CT, #1 is Xavier, followed by Hand, Ansonia, Staples and Hillhouse.

    Sean, there’s a typo in CT top 5 high school rushers. #3 only has 6200+ yards. but is placed ahead of Newsome at 6800+.

  13. Bob woodbridge says:

    Somewhere on the post site, cannot find it now, there’s a list of the top five CT high school fishers Thomas, Washington, two others and new some. The stat for the Bristol central player is incorrect at 6,200 yards. I think it should be 7,200 to place him ahead of new some.

  14. Rob says:

    In reply to comment #8: You are technically correct, but what you are saying does not and will not hold up in the real world.

    You don’t go to high school based on what pop warner team you played for. You don’t go to high school based on what district you grew up in or even in what district you went to 8th grade in. You go to high school based on where you live at that moment. Kids can and will move.

    This is hard for middle class and above people to relate to, but the lifestyle of people near the poverty line is very transient to begin with. Now add in to this equation a very strong incentive to move, such as a premier hs football team, and kids are going to move to be able to play for Harding.

    In a decent percentage of these situations, kids already live with extended family (aunts, uncles, grandparents, etc). So if you are already living with one of your aunts on the North End, why not move in with a different aunt who lives near Harding? You haven’t really uprooted your life that much, but you have just greatly improved your football experience.

    You can even remove the socio-economic aspect of this situation and it still makes sense. All people respond to opportunity. Actors move to LA, finance majors move to NYC. Promising young athletes will move districts for the opportunity of a superior program.

  15. Bubba says:

    @Don Bosco: The rules are not the same, regardless if it’s private or public school, although that matters too, I read your intriguing comment. NY, Jersey and Mass kids put in an avg of 150 more hours of practice with their coaching staff than CT school. That makes a significant difference in level of play. that’s my point!

  16. Don Bosco says:

    thanks for the insight bubba

  17. GHS Fan says:

    Don Bosco –

    Greenwich high School played St. Joseph of Montvale in 2008 or so, and the year before, Greenwich played a team from Florida.

    Other than the obvious scheduling problems, one issue of a team actually finding a challenging team to play in the bye-week is the treat the CT team gets if it loses. Greenwich’s loss to St. Joe’s in 2008 prevented them from going to the playoffs. Other teams in Ct. played “Fumble, Stumble ad Drop” in their bye week and picked up playoff points for their win. Greenwich, by losing to a better team, did not get points.

    The 2008 loss to the Florida team sort of capped it off for me. Greenwich played a top 20 school in Florida. Greenwich stayed on the field but lost. In Ct. competetion, Greenwich outscored their opponents by 500-2 (or something ridiculous).

    However, the owner of the blog here refused to rate Greenwich as the number one team in Ct, as little bitty Ansonia, who steadfastly refuses to play anybody of merit all season, was “undefeated” in their season, and was therefore worthy of #1.

    So, when you are punished by both the league and by the press for actually having the guts to go find a real opponent, you are basically nuts for going out and playing them. Better to smack around some school full of little Nancys.

  18. Cousin Dupree says:


    Your post is the best I have read regarding kids moving to play for a better team. All the points you brought up were very accurate, i.e., the transient population, socio-economic issues, guardianship, etc. All are true. You are also correct that those that are middle class and above just do not get it. Bridgeport and other similar towns may be geographically close to Fairfield, Westport, Greenwich, etc., but they are worlds apart in just about every other way. Dare I even say luxury vs. survival?

    Being an Ansonia supporter, I have grown very sick and tired of reading and listening to all the accusations of “recruiting” by the coaches. They DO NOT recruit. Kids and their families CHOOSE to move to Ansonia so that their kids can play for a superior football program, and yes, increase their chance of getting noticed by a college. Let’s face it,a kid can be an absolute stud but if he is playing for a mediocre team, he probably will not be noticed.

    They may only live in Ansonia for the time that they play, but there are no rules against that. What many of the critics do not understand is that rents are available in Ansonia for as low as $500-$600 per month, and that is not even taking Section 8 into account. Ansonia has a very transient population as it is, forget about the very few football players that move into town. And yes, the number is extremely small.

    By the same token, we will see kids in Bridgeport moving into Harding’s district. Again, transient population. It’s very easy to move when you rent rather than own a house.

    It also seems to the critics that if you are a talented player (whatever the sport) you are not allowed to move. You are born in a town, you have to go to high school there otherwise accusations of recruiting come up. Just ridiculous.

    Let’s look at another side of this. Obviously some school districts are better than others academically. Staples, Avon, Simsbury, etc., come to mind. Don’t people think that if there were cheap rents in towns like this they would get a lot of people moving in so that their kids could go to school there for the education and then leave when they are done? They can’t because it is far too expensive to live there and cheap rents simply do not exist. But it’s the same idea; parents doing what they can to put their children in the best situation.

    Again, Rob, great post. It was refreshing to see that someone finally “gets it”.

  19. Tom Boone says:

    #20 I don’t think people accuse Ansonia of recruiting so much as they don’t like the way they do business.Did kenny Tinney live Ansonia? Did Montroll Dobbs?And where does The rb and qb live,a coaches apartment?It’s not about winning its the way you go about it.

  20. Don Bosco says:

    GHS Fan, I commend Greenwich for playing SJ Regional and a team from Florida, that takes guts. Based on everything I read about Ansonia, I can’t figure out why they are taken seriously. I recently read about numerous rushing records, championships and high rankings regarding their program, however, weak may be an understatement to describe their schedule (based on the programs I have seen mentioned repeatedly on CT websites). Do they play any teams who are highly regarded in CT, I have looked up the ones on their schedule and they are less than impressive. How can anyone take this program seriously? If you play a weak schedule, rest your players due to blowouts and play in a weak classification you will win championships but that doesn’t mean your program is elite, if they were that confident wouldn’t they want to challenge themselves? It seems like a lot of these powerhouse CT programs at least branch out to play other powers within the state, why doesn’t Ansonia have the confidence to do so?

  21. Don Bosco says:

    As a follow-up to my last comment, I saw some video of Ansonia football, you guys have to be kidding, that is one of the premiere programs in CT?

  22. Cousin Dupree says:


    Tinney and Dobbs both lived and grew up in Ansonia long before their high school playing days, both playing Pop Warner football there. The Tinneys are a large, long time Ansonia family with family members playing going back to at least the 70’s. The current rb and qb both live in Ansonia in an apartment. Exactly who the landlord is I don’t know, but I don’t believe it is a coach. Actually I think the apartment building is owned by a woman.

    Regarding the qb and rb, these two are examples of kids that moved to Ansonia to go to AHS and play football. They did so on their own volition, moved into town, and enrolled in school. Absolutely nothing wrong with that. Nobody can stop anyone from moving into a town and enrolling in the school system. It only becomes a “problem” for some when the kids that move are great athletes and are making an already great program even better.

  23. Cousin Dupree says:

    I should add that while moving to a town, or district within a city, for the primary reason of playing a sport at a certain school is completely legal and above-board, I don’t necessarily agree with the practice or condone it. I feel bad for the kids that have grown up in a town waiting for their chance to play for their high school team and then lose their spot to someone who just moved in. The kid probably still gets to play, just at another position. Just like whoever the quarterback was supposed to be at Masuk until Cochran moved to town. Same thing.

    Believe me, there are many fans of teams that have kids moving in to play that are not exactly thrilled with the practice. But that’s the way it is these days. I can only speak for football, but I’m sure it goes on with other sports as well.

  24. Rob says:

    Don Bosco really laying it on thick. Exact same anti-Ansonia troll rant on three separate threads.

    I really cannot wait to read the unbiased insights from this “new guy from NJ” all season long.

    Ansonia fans: please don’t buy into this and play this game with him. Look up the definition of “internet trolling.” See this for what it is, let it go and move on.

  25. Don Bosco says:

    Rob, The fact I am from NJ has nothing to do with Ansonia’s schedule. Ansonia plays no elite CT programs, that cannot be debated. I am sure Hand, Xavier, Fairfield Prep, Staples, St. Joseph, Greenwich etc would take them up on the opportunity.

  26. Jack says:

    This is dumb.

  27. Don Bosco says:

    All I owe an apology to CT football fans and players. I had a bad day yesterday, not fair for me to judge teams I know very little about. Just want to know why an elite program does not venture out to play other elite programs.

  28. Don Bosco says:

    Thanks Jack realized the obvious

  29. pantheralum says:

    To #25 cousin Dupree, Just remember, most coaches have huge egos, think they are pro coaches, don’t always have the local kids best interests at heart, or how they may be hurting the kids who grow up, waiting to play for their high school. Whether Ansonia or anywhere else. Your point about Cochran at Masuk, right on target, that coach cared more about recruiting and winning, more than how it affected any local grown kid.

  30. PrepFan says:

    Any report from the cleanup? I hope the camp is a success too.

    I was accused on this board of being a Cochran apologist, but check out this story from the CTPost:

    “I’ve had college coaches tell me that they haven’t been to Bridgeport in years given a kids don’t have a grades,” says Mike Brown, who runs a Black Rock substructure to assistance place Bridgeport basketball players into college.

    “Since 2005-06, 20 players from Bassick, Harding and Central have left to youth college, a common alighting mark for athletes incompetent to validate academically during a four-year school. Eleven have left from high propagandize to a Division II or III program. Only one — former Harding ensure Charoy Bentley, who attended St. Joseph’s — has perceived a Division we scholarship.”

    That in a nutshell explains why I support Jack C. at Harding. He can be a jerk. He wears out his welcome with administrators.

    He also sent 59 kids to college on full rides. Kids that otherwise might have been directionless and adrift at age 18.

    If I were an Atheletic Director faced with the question of hiring a controversial jerk of a coach who also had a track record of demanding that his players hit the books like they were blocking sleds and who had a history of sending kids to college on scholarships…I would hire Jack.

  31. GHS Fan says:

    SPB –
    Thank you for acknowleding my post. Clearly, you have read and considered my objection to your illogical, inexplicable and indefensible ranking system.
    Thanks further for responding with a post that sums up your position. That is, by showing a beauty queen placing a crown on her own head, you are succinctly demonstrating that as self-appointed monarch of Connecticut football, you do not need to explain your opinions to anyone.
    Please be advised that while I agree with you to some extent, you are clearly much less attractive than the young lady in your post.
    I think you should go find a clip of say, Idi Amin Dada or perhaps Papa Doc or Baby Doc Duvalier doing the same thing. Then, your message would be perfect!

  32. JB says:

    Cousin Dupree

    Your crazy if you think that Tinney and Dobbs both lived in Ansonia while in high school. Yes, Tinney is a famed name in Ansonia football, but the kid lived in Seymour all through his high school career, trust me, I know, I lived there as well. As for Dobbs, I know people in the school system who admitted that Brockett, who lives in Wallingford, would pick up Dobbs at his home in Hamden and drive him into school. In fact, Dobbs was arrested last year and his hometown and current address were both listed as Hamden. Ansonia’s recruiting system is neither secret nor sophisticated, but no one seems to care about it so it will continue to happen.

  33. JCV says:

    Is seriously NO ONE going to mention that Jack faked an injury to go out on workman’s comp while he interviewed and START WORKING at this position? He was a terrible middle school teacher that had several complaints filed about him by students, parents, colleagues, etc. I would never send my child to that school now – Cochran teaches kids to be assholes, not successful academic scholars.

  34. FDNYFireman says:

    I think it is time for the CT HS Football Coaches Association to get the CIAC to allow CT HS Football players the same rules as NJ. Until that is done HS football CT will be stuck developement wise! If these guys put in 1/2 the effort to get the rules chamges that they did lobbying Hathaway to hire Pasqualoni they will happen overnight!

  35. You mean coaching offseason rules?

  36. HS Fan says:

    I never realized that Harding High is a health careers magnet school. Makes sense, though, being right next door to Bridgeport Hospital. Within 3 years (and very possibly sooner), Harding will be making serious noise in the FCIAC. Greenwich, Staples, New Canaan and the rest have never experienced the likes of Jack Cochran and they’ll wish he took the Wilby job.

  37. pantheralum says:

    Yes, the FCIAC may wish Cochran took the Wilby job. But in time, the Harding people will wish he went to Wilby too. Just ask around at Masuk and Monroe. Things once were good there, now both Murphy and Cochran gone. Things will never be the same there.

  38. pantheralum says:

    May never win again like they are used to. Maybe in time. At least some integrity may be restored though.

  39. jeb says:

    I think it would be a huge mistake for CT. if you added extra hours to our football programs like they do in New Jersey. Years ago most athletes played three sports and enjoyed doing so…having the chance to experience the fun of playing different sports and having many rewarding experiences with new teammates left a lasting impressions on all of us. Now, many coaches want the kids to stick with one sport (basically the one they are coaching) and forget the others. What fun is it lifting weights for nine months and playing 11 football games. Let’s get back to the way it use to be.

  40. Pete Gerson says:

    Jeb, I wish it was as simple as that and for some it may be, but those looking to go play at the college level can’t afford to miss those 9 months of lifting. Unless you win the genetic lottery, you need that time to grow and compete against the others from all over the country that are trying to do the same exact thing. “When you are not practicing remember, someone, somewhere is, and when you meet him, he will win.” It really is necessary to devote everything to the game if that’s the route you want to take, which many do. I am opposed to adding extra hours to purely football not so much because you’ll lose the opportunity to play other sports, those are still there for those who want to, but because it’s very easy to burn out with this sport if you’re forced to do too much all the time.