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New edition of the Connecticut High School Record Book released

The challenge of keeping the Connecticut High School Football Record Book up to date can be an impossible challenge to meet. But we try anyways.

We’re proud to release the 20th edition of the Connecticut High School Football Record Book – a compilation of records and historical information from newspapers, websites, team statistician’s, coaches records and individual research.

And, it is already out of date. Hall High Noe Ruelas set a new state record on Friday with a 56-yard field goal in a game against Simsbury in West Hartford, breaking the previous record of 54 yards held by three players — Watertown’s Rico Brogna (1987), Fermi’s Tyler Timion (1987) and Pomperaug’s Matt Paola (2011).

But that is OK. The record book was put together to provide perspective regarding the outstanding performances by football players on teams across the state.

Two athletes established or tied new state records in 2018.

  • Greenwich’s Mozi Bici set a new state record for most sacks in a game with eight, breaking a record of 6½ that was set in 2017. Bici had eight sacks in a victory over Ridgefield on November 2.
  • Enfield’s Joel Stewart tied a state record for most kickoff returns in a single game with two in a game against East Hartford on October 19. Stewart owns the record with 20 other players dating back more than 100 years to 1917.

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Bob Barton watches the Avon High football team play a few years back.

This year’s edition is dedicated to the late Bob Barton, our co-editor who passed away in January 2018.

This project was a labor of love for Bob and he thought nothing of spending a few hours to go to the state library in Hartford to comb through the microfilm reels of newspapers from around the state to verify some facts or finalize information on a player’s performance.

Bob and Gerry deSimas, Jr., took over this project after the untimely death of Bo Kolinsky, the long-time scholastic sports editor at the Hartford Courant who passed away in 2003. Bo launched the record book project in 1997 with Tim Sullivan, the offensive coordinator at Weaver High at that time.

Accuracy was key with Bob and he would take the time to check out the facts. We’re going to miss his accuracy and his attention to detail. We will miss seeing Bob in the grandstand of a game tracking what the players are achieving on the field. Most of all, we will miss his friendship.

It’s not going to be the same without Bob.

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The oldest individual record belongs to Stamford’s Earl Gillespie and Stamford’s Gaynor Brennan who each kicked 12 extra points in a single game. Gillespie did it 106 years ago in 1913 against Paterson, N.J., while Brennan did it against St. Francis Prep from Brooklyn in 1920. As recently as 2003, New Britain’s Chris Roberts was 11-of-13 on PATs in a win over Maloney.

It’s been over 100 years since Torrington’s Raymond “Ducky” Pond set a new state record that still stands with two kickoff returns for a touchdown in a win over Simsbury on Nov. 16, 1917.

Ansonia head coach Tom Brockett still has the top winning percentage in state history with a .929 winning percentage (152-12) since he began leading the Chargers in 2006.

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Our local teams from the Farmington Valley are well represented in the record book, too.

Farmington’s Brandon Williard is No. 6 on the single game rushing record board with 508 yards on 37 carries against Plainville in 2002. Farmington’s Greg Balicki holds the state record for most tackles in a single season (212), set in 1996.

Avon’s Colin Moore is ranked in the top 15 for career rushing yards with 5,217 yards on 682 carries from 2009-12. He rushed for at least 100 yards in 21 consecutive games in 2011-12, good enough for No. 2 on the all-time list.

Moore’s 19 two-point conversion runs in 2011 is tied for No. 2 on the single season list for most two-point conversions. Only Rockville’s Joe Calaci had more (22) in 1969.

Avon’s 707-yard rushing performance in a win over Windsor Locks/Suffield/East Granby in 2014 is the second-highest rushing effort by a team in a single game. Only Torrington in 2012 ran for more with 853 yards against Sacred Heart.

Simsbury’s Phil Pope shares the state record with Bobby Valentine of Rippowam-Stamford and Newtown’s Ben Mason for most interception returns for a touchdown in a career. Both have returned five interceptions for TDs. Pope played at Simsbury from 1966-68 while Valentine, who managed the New York Mets and Boston Red Sox, played at the now-closed Rippowam from 1965-67. Mason played at Newtown in 2015 and 2016.

Granby running back Connor Field is tied for eighth on the list for most consecutive games rushing for at least 100 yards. Field ran for 100 yards on 16 consecutive occasions from 2014-15. The state record is held by Bristol Central’s Tim Washington with 25 games in a row from 1999 to 2001.

Farmington holds the state record for most fumble recoveries in a single game with nine against Avon in 1974. Canton is No. 2 on that list with eight fumble recoveries in a 1952 win over Gilbert.

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Click on the following link for the 2019 Connecticut High School Football Record Book.

If you have some additional information for the record book, please email editor Gerry deSimas, Jr., at CTwrestling7@yahoo.com. The PDF of the record book is updated once a year and is released each September.

 

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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