FARMINGTON, Sept. 13 – The Farmington High football team was left on the sidelines for the CIAC playoffs a year ago. The Indians went 9-1, only dropping one game in a 35-14 loss to CCC West Division II champion Windsor. But the strength of Farmington’s schedule was minimal and that kept them from earning enough points to participate in the Class L tournament.
The Indians are focused and ready to earn a spot in the top eight of the Class L tournament this fall. But it will be difficult.
Windsor, which went 11-1 a year ago and was eliminated in the Class L semifinals, returns a quick and athletic squad including QB Quinn Fleeting, who passed for 2,802 yards and 30 TDs, and dynamic receiver Ryheime Moore (36-511 receiving, 9 TDs). The Warriors are ranked No. 7 in the state in the New Haven Register’s preseason top 10 football poll.
Middletown has sophomore Dario Highsmith at quarterback but returns a veteran squad with 18 seniors that hopes to improve on its 6-4 record of a year ago. The Indians used four turnovers (2 interceptions, 2 fumbles) to score 12 points in a thrilling 18-12 win a year ago.
And Farmington will be without senior quarterback Brian Logan, who tore an anterior cruciate ligament in the off-season. Logan passed for 1,199 yards and 14 TDs a year ago, the third highest number of yards in school history and the second highest number of TD passes.
But the cupboard isn’t bare. The Indians return all of its linemen on offense and defense. Farmington is solid on defense led by nose guard Brandon Marquis (41 tackles) and defensive ends Jo Phillian (58 tackles, 7 sacks) and Thomas Stevens. Mitch Berlandy (85 tackles, 4½ sacks) is also back for FHS.
Offensively, junior running back Ivan Guadalupe (103-568 yards, 9 TDs) returns along with junior receiver Kenny Jones (19-269 receiving, 3 TDs). Junior Jeremy Buck, who saw limited action a year ago, steps in to start at quarterback.
Of note: Farmington was ranked at No. 23 in the New Haven Register’s preseason top 10 poll. Farmington was ninth in last year’s CIAC rankings with the top eight earning a spot in the Class L tournament. In 1982, the Indians finished 9-1 but finished ranked third in Class M when the top two teams qualified for the state playoffs.
Farmington at a glance
Last year: 9-1, 4-1 CCC West Division II
Coach: Chris Machol, 4th year (18-12)
Key losses: LB Sean Fern, C Matt LeBlance, TE Mike English, QB Brian Logan (injury)
Top players: All-CCC West Division II – Senior LB Mitch Berlandy (85 tackles, 4½ sacks), senior OL/DE Jo Fillian (58 tackles, 7 sacks), senior OL/NG Branden Marquis (41 tackles, 1½ sacks); junior RB/FS Ivan Guadalupe (103-568 rushing, 9 TDs); junior WR/CB Kenny Jones (19-269, 3 TD; 29 tackles, 3 interceptions)
Outlook: For the second time in school history, the Indians went 9-1 and failed to make the playoffs. Only a loss to CCC West Division II champion Windsor kept Farmington on the sideline. The Indians have a solid offensive and defensive line returning.
Farmington football 2012 schedule
Friday, Sept. 14: E.O. SMITH, 7 p.m.
Friday, Sept. 21: at Maloney (Falcon Field), 6:30 p.m.
Friday, Sept. 28: at Bristol Central (Muzzy Field), 7 p.m.
Friday, Oct. 5: RHAM, 7 p.m.
Friday, Oct. 12: at Fermi, 7 p.m.
Friday, Oct. 19: BRISTOL EASTERN, 7 p.m.
Friday, Oct. 26: at Windsor, 7 p.m.
Friday, Nov. 2: MIDDLETOWN, 7 p.m.
Friday, Nov. 9: at Bulkeley (Dillon Stadium), 7 p.m.
Thurs. Nov. 22: PLAINVILLE, 10 a.m.