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2020 edition of the Connecticut High School Football Record Book released – The Collinsville Press
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2020 edition of the Connecticut High School Football Record Book released

It may be a little anticlimactic or odd but its fits right in with the year 2020.

We’re proud to be sharing the 21st edition of the Connecticut High School Football Record Book – a compilation of records and historical information from newspapers, websites, team statisticians, coaching records and individual research.

The record book celebrates the performances and achievements of athletes and coaches across the state in football and provides perspective regarding single game, single season and career achievements.

Yet, as the leaves began to fall from the trees there will be no football played in Connecticut this fall due to the contagious COVID-19 pandemic that has changed life across the planet. There could be high school football played in Connecticut during the spring if conditions improve but it remains to be seen.

This record book began more than two decades ago in 1997 as a labor of love by the late Bohdan “Bo” Kolinsky of the Hartford Courant and Tim Sullivan, who was the offensive coordinator for the Weaver High football team in Hartford.

After Bo’s untimely death in 2003, the responsibility of compiling and updating the record book was taken over by the late Bob Barton and myself – Gerry deSimas, Jr.

Why issue an update to a record book chronicling a sport that may not be played this fall? We remain hopeful that the day that football can safely be played is not too far away and we want to be ready.

There were some record-setting performances in 2019.

  • Hall High kicker Noe Ruelas set a new state record with a 56-yard field goal against Simsbury, breaking the existing record of 54 yards held by three other players – Watertown’s Rico Brogna (1987), Fermi-Enfield’s Tyler Timion (1987) and Pomperaug’s Matt Paola (2011).
  • Jahvon Olmstead of Capital Prep/Achievement First in Hartford set a new state record with two fumble recoveries for a touchdown in a single game. He had two against Windham. Olmstead finished with three fumble recoveries for a TD in the season, tying an existing state record.
  • New Canaan’s Drew Pyne set a new state record for most career passing attempts with 701 in his four-year career from 2016-19.
  • Thopil Uzanski of Cheney Tech and Jordan Davis of Sheehan each returned two interceptions for a touchdown in a single game. They share the state record with 18 other athletes dating back to 1965.
  • Ansonia set a new record for most wins in a decade (2010s) with 124.

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We’ve added some new information for the 2019 record book.

  • A submission about fumble returns for a touchdown inspired us to do some research and that is a new page with career, single season and single game achievements.
  • We’ve added records regarding overtime games. The record for most overtime periods in a single game is four OTs, set in 2015 and 2007.
  • We’ve added the winners of the yearly state coach of the year and player of the awards from the Walter Camp Foundation.
  • The top 15 winning programs in the 2010 decade were added to the record book.
  • A year ago, we added information on the leading scorer in the state in an individual season. This year, we added information on the leading scorer each year dating back to 1959.

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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 107 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 more than 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 (170-13) since he began leading the Chargers in 2006.

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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 No. 3 on the single season list for most two-point conversions. Only Rockville’s Joe Calaci (22 in 1969) and Hand’s Isaiah McNeilly (25 in 2018) had more.

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 holds the state record for most consecutive 300-yard rushing games with four set back in 2014.

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 2020 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.comThe 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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