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With plenty of experienced players, Granby looks to take next step and contend

The Bears break the huddle after an early morning preseason practice in Granby.  (Photo courtesy Granby football via Twitter)

GRANBY, Sept. 1 – After two down seasons, the Granby High football team is hoping to once again contend for a Pequot Conference Uncas Division championship.

The Bears return nine starters on both sides of the ball this fall including junior quarterback Jackson Rome, who threw for 661 yards and nine touchdowns as a sophomore. The Bears also return their top four receivers – senior Conor Hogan (9 catches, 115 yards, 1 TD), senior Logan Disabella (9-101, 3 TDs), senior Andel Smith (7-87, 1 TD) and speedy senior Keon Lawrence (7-104, 1 TD).

Granby is also pretty solid on the defensive side of the ball. Senior Benjamin Kibby had seven sacks and was an All-State defensive end a year ago. Senior Garrett Strain returns at linebacker with Tyler Perez at defensive tackle with Lawrence and Smith scheduled to start at defensive back. All-conference defender Sam Attianese had three interceptions last fall.

“We have lots of game experience,” Granby’s third-year coach Erik Shortell said. “If we can stay healthy, I think we can compete with the best teams in our conference. Our issue is depth. If one or two guys get injured, we will be in trouble.”

The Bears have 33 players in the program right now as the preseason comes to a close.

Granby High football players look sharp in their new uniforms for the 2018 season. (Photo courtesy Granby football via. Twitter.

“We have great team speed, strength and physicality,” Shortell said. “The team really hit the weight room hard in the off-season.”

Rome was the team’s leading rusher a year ago, running for 393 yards and six touchdowns on a team-high 121 carries. Attianese ran for 367 yards and 5 TDs on 86 carries.

In Shortell’s first season, the young Bears were 2-8. They improved to 5-5 a year ago, winning two of their final four contests. In 2015, Granby had their first-ever undefeated season, going 10-0 to win the Pequot West title and earn a CIAC Class S playoff berth.

Granby closed out the scrimmage portion of the season on Saturday with a 24-6 win over East Catholic in preparation for Friday’s season opener against North Branford at 7 p.m. under the lights in Granby. The Bears will play eight of their 10 regular season games under the lights this season.

Granby football 2017
Fri. Sept. 7: NORTH BRANFORD, 7 p.m.
Sat. Sept. 15: at Windsor Locks/Suffield/East Granby, 1 p.m.
Fri. Sept. 21: OLD SAYBROOK/WESTBROOK, 7 p.m.
Sat. Sept. 29: at Ellington, 1 p.m.
Fri. Oct. 5: STAFFORD/SOMERS/EAST WINDSOR, 7 p.m.
Thur. Oct. 18: at SMSA/University/Classical, 6 p.m.
Fri. Oct. 26: at Rockville, 6:30 p.m.
Fri. Nov. 2: GILBERT/NORTHWESTERN, 7 p.m.
Fri. Nov. 9: COVENTRY/WINDHAM TECH/BOLTON/LYMAN, 7 p.m.
Wed. Nov. 21: at Canton, 6 p.m.

 

2017 Pequot Uncas Division

Uncas Overall
xy-Coventry/WT/Bolton/Lyman 8-0 10-1
y-Stafford/East Windsor/Somers 7-1 10-2
y-SMSA/University/Classical 6-2 8-4
Ellington 4-4 5-5
Gilbert/Northwestern 4-4 5-5
Granby 4-4 4-6
Wind. Locks/Suffield/E. Granby 2-6 4-6
Rockville 1-7 1-9
Canton 0-8 1-9
x-won Uncas Division title
y-qualified for CIAC playoffs

 

Gerry deSimas, Jr., is the editor and founder of The Collinsville Press. He is an award-winning writer and has been covering sports in Connecticut and New England for more than 30 years. He was inducted into the New England High School Wrestling Hall of Fame in 2018.

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