GRANBY – In year four, the Granby High football team hopes to take that next step toward a winning record. The Bears won two games in 2011 and captured four games a year ago.
This year, second-year coach Rich Gadoury hopes to pick up another victories and continue the growth of the young program.
It’s an exciting time for the Bears. They will begin playing on a new artificial turf field at the high school at the end of this month with four games scheduled under the lights. And they return some talented players this fall.
Senior quarterback Curtis Field completed 149 passes for 1,774 yards and 14 touchdowns last year. His top target from last year, senior wide receiver Ian Downey (43 receptions, 548 yards, 5 TDs) is back.
Even with Field’s ability to throw the ball, Gadoury wants to be able to run the ball better than they did a year ago. Their leading rusher was Stephen Blake with 475 yards and three TDs. All-Pequot lineman Jake Largay, a 6-foot-6, 280-pound senior, leads an offensive line that is a year older and stronger.
The most experienced runner in the backfield looks to be sophomore Dom Pagano, who had a dozen opportunities to run last year as a freshman. He also caught seven passes for 109 yards and two touchdowns. Pagano will also playing on the defensive side of the ball. A year ago, he had 67 tackles, had two interceptions and recovered three fumbles.
Largay will anchor the defensive line for the Bears, who moved to a 3-4 formation to give their linebackers more opportunities to make tackles. He made 61 tackles a year ago, had 2½ sacks and 14 tackles for losses.
Granby will open the season against Enfield on Wednesday, Sept. 11, at 4:30 p.m. at Ahrens Park before moving to the new field at the high school. The Bears will host Hyde-New Haven on Saturday, Sept. 27 at 7 p.m.
Coach: Rich Gadoury, 2nd year (4-6)
Last year: 4-6, 4-6 Pequot Uncas
Key losses: All-Pequot LB Thomas Ullmann (team-leading 125 tackles), RB Stephen Blake (116-475, 3 TD), WR Caleb McMullin (41-471, 4 TDs)
Top players: Senior QB Curtis Field (149-262-11, 1,774 yards, 14 TDs), senior WR Ian Downey (43-548, 5 TD), sophomore Dom Pagano (7-109, 2 TD receiving, 67 tackles, 2 interceptions), All-Pequot T Jake Largay
Outlook: There is excitement in Granby with the return of QB Curtis Field, who threw for 1,774 yards and 14 TDs a year ago. His top receiver Ian Downey also returns. Gadoury is looking for a balanced offensive attack. The offensive line is a year older and stronger, led by Largay, who has committed to play at UMass next fall.
Of note: Downey was named to the All-Pequot team as a punter. … Granby has built two new artificial turf fields at the high school and a new track and field complex. The Bears will be playing their first game on Wednesday, Sept. 27 at home against Hyde. … The Bears have six night games scheduled including four at home.
September – 11: ENFIELD, 4:45 p.m. at Ahrens Park; 21: at Gilbert/NW Regional, 1 p.m.; 27: HYDE, 7 p.m.
October – 4: at Haddam-Killingworth, 6:30 p.m.; 19: LEWIS MILLS, TBA; 26: at Avon, 6:30 p.m.
November – 1: NONNEWAUG, 7 p.m.; 9: at Coginchaug, 1 p.m.; 15: HOUSATONIC/WAMOGO, 7 p.m.; 22: at Coventry/Windham Tech/Bolton, 7 p.m.; 29: CANTON, 11 a.m.