The christening is in honor of West Haven World War II hero William Soderman, who won the United States Medal of Honor during the pivotal Battle of the Bulge in 1944. The game will be the focus of a year-long fundraising campaign conducted by members of the two football teams to benefit the Wounded Warrior Project in the name of PFC Sean Pesce, a 2011 West Haven graduate who was injured in Afganistan in October 2012.
The West Haven Football Alumni Association announced the drive during a ceremony at West Haven’s Bradley Point last Thursday, the 69th anniversary of D-Day, the Allied Forces’ Invasion of Normandy. Players and coaches from both schools met with local veterans to express their admiration and support of the event.
For more information or to make a donation, contact the West Haven Football Alumni Association at 203-671-8693 or email George MacLeman.
Xavier quarterback Tim Boyle and his senior teammates mug with the Class LL championship trophy following their 48-14 victory over NFA in the 2012 Class LL championship game. It was their third-straight title.
Over the last three years, Xavier High School’s football program has been without peer in Connecticut.
It has won three straight Class LL championships — the first program to accomplish that feat in the history of the state’s largest playoff division — and four overall since 2005.
For three seasons, it has gone 38-1 and was the No. 1 ranked team in the state in 2010 and 2011. It only lost the No. 1 ranking in 2013 because it lost an epic state battle with league rival Daniel Hand at Palmer Field, a game that brought several thousands to Middletown on Oct. 12.
It has sent a bunch of players to play in college, most notably RB Amarie Spievey (Iowa, Detroit Lions), LB Graham Stewart (Florida, now UConn) and QB Tim Boyle (UConn commit, was previously a Boston College recruit).
Xavier has become synonymous with greatness in Connecticut football.
It’s been a blessing if you’re coach Sean Marinan.
Xavier owned the series, winning 12 of the last 13 meetings. It usually wasn’t pretty, though both Xavier AD Tony Jaskot and Middletown AD Michael Pitruzzello insisted the results weren’t their reasoning. ”..It’s fair to say that both of us wanted out of this game,” Jaskot told the Middletown Press.
Anyway, when the series’ termination was announced in February, Jaskot told The Press he was hoping to play St. John’s-Shrewsbury (Mass.) or Mount St. Joseph of Baltimore.
Middletown is playing Class L runner-up Windsor on Thanksgiving.
Xaver is playing… nobody.
That means the three-time defending state champions will play just 10 games in an 11-game schedule. Worse, it will have more than three weeks off before the 2013 playoffs begin.
Marinan said he has made some inquiries. So far, there have been no takers.
“There aren’t a lot of teams in Connecticut lining up to play us,” he said. “Maybe if we start getting our teeth kicked in again, that’ll change…”
Marinan said he looked beyond the Connecticut border, to Massachusetts, New York or New Jersey. But because most states begin their playoffs well before the end of November, out-of-state teams that can play the week before Thanksgiving are scarce.
“We would have to play them early in the year,” Marinan said of the possibility of an out-of-state game. “We’d have to move (earlier opponents) around to make it work. There’s really nothing in it for other teams to do that, especially in the SCC, which is pretty much locked in to it’s schedule.”
If someone were to step up and play the Falcons, Marinan said it would probably have to be the weekend before Thanksgiving, November 21, 22 or 23ish. Otherwise, it probably won’t work out.
Connecticut has found late-season games before. In 2007, eventual Class LL champion Greenwich traveled to Florida to take on eventual 3A State Champion Naples (it lost 31-12).
“I’d like to get a game,” Marinan said. “I’m not really looking forward to that long layoff.”
So, how ’bout it America? Anybody want to play Connecticut’s three-time defending state champion Falcons?
We still have a few months left before football season. Plenty of time.
If you’re down, drop the good folks up at Xavier High School in Middletown a line.
Well it’s June, so here’s where I slam the breaks, turn around, drop my arm on the seat rest, and scream in red-faced exaspiration: HERE ARE YOUR DARN FOOTBALL SCHEDULES! then collapsing, spent while you spoiled brats dance with glee, get bored and start asking when the season starts.
HERE ARE YOU DARN FOOTBALL SCHEDULES!!!!!!!!
Awright, awright, I get why we’re so anxious.
The 2013 schedule is unparalleled in the history of all Connecticut High School football, or at least since The Great Superconference Conjunction of 1994.
Not only is 2013 a precious 11-game season, but it’s also The Year of the SuperConference Crossovers.
In Class LL, Fairfield Warde and Wilby move up from L … In Class L, Bristol Central and Naugatuck move down from LL while New London, Cheney Tech and Vinal Tech/East Hampton move up from M. … In Class M, Fermi, Rockville and Woodstock academy move down from L and Granby, Killingly, Stonington, Valley/Old Lyme move up from S. …In Class S, Enfield, Montville, O’Brien Tech and Windham move down from M.
(In other words, nothing truly significant has changed aside from a beefed-up Class L.)
A North Haven native who played football under Bob DeMayo and Rich Cavanaugh at SCSU, Lucibello has been journeyman assistant and offensive coordinator for his entire life.
But he’s coached under some of the state’s biggest names: Charlie DiCenzo (at Derby), Tony Sagnella (at North Haven), John Acquavita (at Hyde), Scott Benoit (at North Branford, Guilford and Hamden) and Jack Cochran (at New Britain).
“I’ve coached under some great guys,” Lucibello said. ”I’ve learned from best in the state and I’ve taken a little bit from each of them and made it my own.”
This is the 43-year old’s first head coaching job. Lucibello was in the running to get the job at Foran back in 2006. A year-long bout with colon cancer, however, interrupted his career — if only briefly.
He returned to Hyde, then joined Benoit at Guilford and then Hamden. After helping turn the Green Dragons into a state playoff team in 2008, Lucibello moved to Southington under D.J. Hernandez and then joined Cheshire’s staff for two seasons.
“This is only third job I’ve ever applied to in my whole career,” Lucibello said. “I haven’t been one of those guys applying applying for jobs everywhere.
“I’m happy to be the head coach at East Haven. I’m going to put East Haven back on map, slowly but surely.”
History is certainly working against him.
East Haven has had just two winning seasons — in 1996 and 2000 — since the SCC began in 1994.
From 2007-2009, the Easties held the longest losing streak in the state. Since a 5-5 record 2003 record, East Haven has suffered through nine straight losing seasons.
“I’m looking at it this way,” he said. “It’s not about teaching them how to play football, it’s about teaching them how to work hard fight through adversity and lift weights. Beginning on Monday, we’re going to hit the weight room and they’re going to learn how to work hard.”
Phillips has been a standout since starring alongside his brother, Kevin, as a West Haven freshman in 2010.
He led the Westies in rushing last year with 1,030 yards and 22 touchdowns. West Haven was 8-2 and reached the Class LL quarterfinals where it lost to Staples. The Westies have reached the playoffs twice over the last three seasons with Phillips in the lineup.
Ervin Phillips has been all-state and also a Levi Jackson team selection.
With NFA’s Marcus Outlow committed to Boston College, 2013 is shaping up to be the year of the tailback. Phillips has an offer to go with his D-1 interest. There’s also Ansonia’s Arkeel Newsome (who already has a UConn offer) and Hillhouse’s Harold Cooper.
And now a quick photo update on two brand-new football fields coming to a town near you — well, at least if you live in Oxford or Madison.
Oxford has already laid down its turf field and has added bleachers on the site of its old practice field next to the school. It looks like they’ll be ready come September. It should, they started about midway through last year.
Meanwhile, Hand’s Surf Club complex, which didn’t break ground until after the final home game in the state playoffs, has seen the grass surface of Strong Field ripped to shreds and the old stands and press box on the north end torn down. They have all summer to get this thing humming and it’s supposed to be a beaut.
“Branford football is very important to me and I’ve wanted to coach this team since the time I played here so it really is a dream come true. I want to keep pushing this program forward, get more involved with the youth level, and continue having kids do things the right way so we can hopefully keep our tradition going.
His hire will bring the statewide coaching vacancies down to a manageable 12, including Ludlowe, Stamford and Bunnell.
The quarterback began rethinking his June commitment to Boston College after former coach Frank Spaziani was fired at the end of last season. When it became clear his value might change under new coach Steve Addazio, Boyle opened his recruitment up again.
He took an unofficial visit to UConn last week. Desmond Conner of the Courant caught up with Boyle after his announcent.
Here’s the updated recruiting list. National Signing Day is Wednesday.
Updated: 2/5, 7 p.m.
Tim Boyle, QB, Xavier — UConn (switched from Boston College on Feb 3.)