Here’s a rundown of the FCIAC teams that competed in Friday and Saturday’s Grip It & Rip It 7 on 7 competition at New Canaan High School. The seventh annual event included 40 teams from Connecticut and New York. Grand Street Campus from Brooklyn, N.Y., – a team that I heard had as many as 10 Division I prospects, went undefeated en route to winning the tournament. They defeated Archbishop Stepinac from White Plains, N.Y., in the finals.
New Canaan: The Rams needed to win one more game to advance to the finals against Grand Street Campus. New Canaan went 11-2 in the tournament, winning eight of nine games on Saturday. Finishing third overall, New Canaan lost to Stepinac in a game where the winner advanced to the finals. After playing so many games on one day in the heat, the Rams no doubt, slept well on Saturday night.
Quarterbacks Mike Collins and Alex LaPolice excelled and receivers Kyle Smith and Zach Allen made outstanding catches throughout. At 6-foot-6 and 240 pounds, Allen is an imposing force at tight end/receiver. The Northwestern University bound Allen has great hands too, as he showed over the two-day event.
Darien: The Blue Wave had one of the best passing offenses in the state last season thanks to quarterback Silas Wyper. Darien showed it can still run the spread offense Friday and Saturday, as rising junior Timmy Graham displayed an accurate arm at quarterback.
“7 on 7 is all about developing a quarterback’s timing with his receivers,” Darien coach Rob Trifone said. “It is certainly not a barometer of who you are. As soon as you put those linemen in there the game changes. But this does help us learn how to compete and work on some timing with our quarterbacks and receivers.”
Westhill: Vikings coach Frank Marcucio told me his son, Frank, transferred from Seymour and will take over as the team’s starting quarterback. Backing him up will be Jack Cebo.
“Being here at this competition is good for our quarterbacks and defensive backs and it lets us see who can catch the ball,” Marcucio said.
Trinity Catholic: The Crusaders made a strong showing in the event, especially Friday when they went 3-1.
“Overall, I saw a lot of good things from us out there,” Crusaders coach Don Panapada said. “There are some things we need to work on, but we’re improving.”
Panapada said he has a “nice competition going” between quarterbacks Johnny Somers, a rising junior, and Nick Granata, a rising sophomore.
“Being here is also great for our defensive backs,” Panapada said. “It gives them experience and it makes them push each other to compete against great players.”
Greenwich: The Cardinals showed that they have some talented skill players in Austin Longi, Walker Manning and Anthony Ferraro to name just a few. Matt Marzulla, a rising senior, did a solid job of spreading the ball around to his receivers. The Cardinals’ signal caller has a knack for leading his team to victory, as he was 7-1 as a starter for the team, which went 8-3 overall.
Fairfield Warde: The Mustangs were a pleasant surprise at the tournament, finishing among the top six teams. Senior Brandon Bisack throws a solid deep ball and the Mustangs showed they have the skill position players to emerge as a force.
“A lot of teams we play during the season are here at this camp, so this gives us a chance to get a good look at them,” Bisack said. “I think right now, offensively, we are all on the same page.”
Said linebacker/offensive lineman Wade Petro: “We have a lot of potential on our line and our skill positions. I think we have a really good team and we’re going to show it.”
Brien McMahon: “Defensive coordinator Jeff Queiroga told me that graduation claimed eight starters on defense, so they are trying to fill some positions on that side of the ball. Jason Hall and Jeff Capone are vying for the starting quarterback job.
“We have a lot of young guys on our team fighting for positions, which is great,” Queiroga said.
Norwalk: Quarterback Jeremy Linton, who is entering his senior season, seemed like he had good rapport with his receivers in the couple of games I watched him. Linton is once again, slated as the Bears’ starting quarterback with junior Greg Goldstein vying for some playing time.
St. Joseph: The Cadets graduated a great quarterback in Jordan Vazzano and are looking to sophomore Kevin Trefz to lead the offense. Coach Joe DellaVeccia said “Trefz is a good athlete who can do some big things for us.”
Stamford: Coach Jamar Greene shared his optimism with me about the upcoming season.
“We have our two-year starting quarterback returning in Jalen Brown, who looks really good,” Greene said. “Our receiving core is strong too, though they have a lot of work to do.”
Trumbull: Junior Stephen Nagy takes over the quarterback reigns from Nick Roberts, who graduated. Nagy told me he expects the team to be a bit more run-oriented this fall.
“We have a good offensive line, so we should be able to push the ball up the middle a lot,” Nagy said. “I’m also more of a running quarterback.”
Danbury: The elusive Anfreny Ith returns at quarterback for the Hatters, who will be led by first-year head coach Mark Ecke.
“All we want to get of being here at this camp is to get better and that’s what we’re doing,” Ecke said.
Here’s my story on Grip It & Rip It: http://bit.ly/1qvBORJ