BURLINGTON, Sept. 12 — In their final season in the Pequot Conference, the Lewis Mills football team didn’t win a game, losing 10 straight under first-year coach John Oko. Now, they get the challenge of playing in the Central Connecticut Conference where the Spartans will be among the smallest schools in the 32-team league.
Fortunately, the CCC aligns their divisions in football based on talent – not geography. Lewis Mills will be playing in Division III and facing some of the smaller and more inexperienced teams in the league.
Mills opens the season on Friday night at 7 p.m. in Burlington against the Bulkeley/HMTCA/Weaver co-op out of Hartford, a program that has struggled to pick up victories in recent years. Mills have portable lights surrounding the field for the night game.
Mills lost quarterback Grayson LaBerge, who threw for 617 yards and three TDs a year ago. Mills struggled to run the ball effectively with senior Sean Polinski running for just 347 yards and a TD last year.
Linebacker Nick Romano returns as one of Mills’ best players. He caught nine passes for 94 yards a year ago and led the team with 73 tackles. Polinski made 33 stops.
Safety Colby Nordstrom intercepted three passes for 33 yards a year ago while recovering a fumble and blocking a punt. Offensively, look for Nordstrom to be under center at quarterback. Cade Cormier and Polinski will be in the backfield as running backs.
Mills, whose used to play Nonnewaug on Thanksgiving, will face Capital Prep/Achievement First out of Hartford on Thursday, Nov. 21 at Dillon Stadium in the Hartford in the final game of the regular season. The game is one week before Thanksgiving.
NOTES: Nonnewaug dropped their varsity program in 2018. But the Chiefs are trying to resurrect the program and have scheduled four varsity games, including a game on Wednesday, Nov. 26, on Thanksgiving Eve against Capital Prep/AF in Woodbury. … Nonnewaug has a home-and-away series against New Haven-based Amistad Academy on Oct. 12 and Oct. 26 along with a game at Woodstock Academy on Nov. 2. … Lewis Mills has lost 13 straight games dating back to the 2017 season.
10th season (20-72) First season: 2010
Playoff appearances: none
League championships: none
Winningest coach: Jose Santana, 16-34, five years (2013-17)
Opening Day record: 3-6 Last win: 2015, Mills 26, SMSA/University/Classical 20
Last year: 0-10, 0-8 Pequot Sassacus
Head coach: John Oko, 0-10, 2nd season; 16-77, ninth year (career)
Friday, Sept. 13: BULKELEY/HMTCA/WEAVER*, 7 p.m.
Saturday, Sept. 21: ROCKY HILL, noon
Friday, Sept. 27: at Bethel, 6:30 p.m.
Saturday, Oct. 5: at Avon*, 1 p.m.
Saturday, Oct. 19: BERLIN*, noon
Friday, Oct. 25: at East Catholic, 6:30 p.m.
Saturday, Nov. 2: TOLLAND*, noon
Saturday, Nov. 9: NW CATHOLIC, noon
Friday, Nov. 15: at Plainville, 6:30 p.m.
Thursday, Nov. 21: at Capital Prep/Achievement First at Dillon Stadium, 6 p.m.
*CCC Division III East contest
2019 CCC Division III
Bulkeley co-op includes Weaver and HMTCA
Berlin 14, Tolland 8
Avon at Bloomfield
Bulkeley/HMTCA/Weaver at Lewis Mills