SIMSBURY – A lot of work went into preparing for the 2013 campaign by the Simsbury High football team. A 2-9 record wasn’t well received among the athletes – some who began preparation for the football season by working out and lifting weights during the dead of winter in January.
“Some of the guys have been at it since January,” Simsbury coach Jeff Osborne said. “Last year was a tough year, especially if you have preparing since January. It made the kids hungry.
Osborne is hopeful that Simsbury can get back on the winning track this season. The Trojans will be running its triple option veer offense as they have since Osborne took over eight years ago. The offensive line is filled with experienced linemen and Simsbury has a pair of quarterbacks who can play.
Junior Grasson Foster and sophomore Riley Shanley fought for the job during training camp. The winner will start Friday night at Farmington. Foster started the last three games for the Trojans last fall. Shanley has looked impressive as well.
“We have two very good quarterbacks that can throw the ball downfield, which is nice,” Osborne said. What is needed is good decision making skills to make the right read and spark the Simsbury offense. “You want guys who are excellent athletes and can do it all,” he said.
Tackle/defensive end Lukas Stone will start for the third consecutive season along with tight end and linebacker Jake Feldman. Guard/nose tackle Andrew Finken returns along with tackle/linebacker John Bradford and cornerbacks James DeMaio and Eric Bedson. DeMaio will play fullback on offense and look for Bedson at wide receiver.
“Our No. 1 goal is to stay healthy,” Osborne said. “We want to stay at plus 2 on turnover ratio. We’re 64-7 since 1990 when we are plus 2. We want to take care of the ball and attack on defense.”
It won’t be easy. As a member of the CCC Division I Western Division, Simsbury has a challenging conference schedule including defending Class LL champion Southington, the No. 1 ranked team in the state sportswriters preseason poll. Hall, the only team to beat Southington a year ago, looks strong again this year along with Glastonbury.
Simsbury faces a pair of CCC Division II schools – Farmington and Middletown – that won a combined 20 games between them a year ago. Both teams qualified for the Class L playoffs.
“Every game on our schedule should be a (competitive) game,” Osborne said. “We feel we can compete with anyone. We’re confident. It was just two years when we were playing Southington for the league championship.”
Coach: Jeff Osborne, 8th year (35-39)
Last year: 2-9, 0-4 CCC Division I West
Key losses: Two-time All-State LB/RB Brad Helmkamp (155-1,026, 7 TDs rushing, 159 tackles, 7 tackles for losses), QB James Hermsen (70-307, 3 TDs rushing; 21-68-4, 218 yards, 2 TDs passing), Issac Peacock (98 tackles), WR Kyle Dougherty (7-142, 2 TDs)
Top players: Junior QB Grasson Foster, Sophomore QB Riley Shanley, Senior G/NT Andrew Finken, Senior LT/DE Lukas Stone, T/LB John Bradford, Senior TE Jake Feldman (98 tackles), Senior FB/CB James DeMaio, Senior WR/CB Eric Bedson
Outlook: A mix of experience returns for Simsbury, which hopes to get back in the winning column this fall. “We had a good group last year,” Osborne said. “But we were inexperienced.”
Of note: Simsbury plays its first game on its refurbished synethic grass surface on Friday, Sept. 26, against defending Class LL champion Southington, which was voted No. 1 in the New Haven Register’s preseason state sportswriters poll. … The original plastic grass surface was installed nine years ago in 2005. … Simsbury plays all 11 games under the lights this season. … Simsbury plays a pair of CCC Division II schools and they are no cupcakes – Farmington (9-2) and Middletown (11-2). … Helmkamp, Hermsen, Peacock and Dougherty each made the CCC Division I All-Star team.
Fri. Sept. 12: at Farmington, 7 p.m.
Fri. Sept. 19: at East Hartford, 7 p.m.
Fri. Sept. 26: SOUTHINGTON, 7 p.m.
Thur. Oct. 2: HALL, 7 p.m.
Fri. Oct. 10: at Conard, 7 p.m.
Fri. Oct. 17: at New Britain, 7 p.m.
Fri. Oct. 24: SOUTH WINDSOR, 7 p.m.
Fri. Oct. 31: MANCHESTER, 7 p.m.
Fri. Nov. 7: at Newington, 6:30 p.m.
Fri. Nov. 14: at Middletown, 7 p.m.
Fri. Nov. 21: GLASTONBURY, 7 p.m.