Tolland’s Carlson has 4 TDs as Eagles hand Avon first loss of the season

Freshman Quandrell Stewart (81) is surrounded by Tolland’s Collin Cook (33) and Brady Gordon in Saturday’s CCC game in Avon.

AVON, Sept. 16 – A week ago, the Avon High football team opened the season with a 34-point shutout victory over East Catholic – beating the private Catholic school for the first time in over 20 years.

But head coach Sal Cintorino said the warning signs late in the week during practice. He could see that the sharpness, intensity and focus wasn’t quite there.

Tolland’s Ryan Carlson made the Falcons pay. Carlson, a 5-foot-7 sophomore quarterback scored four touchdowns and ran for 164 yards on 18 carries to lead the undefeated Eagles (2-0) to a 34-6 Central Connecticut Conference East Division win over Avon on a sunny and warm Saturday afternoon. Carlson also passed for 73 yards and made 15 tackles on defense.Continue Reading

McKane is part of two record-setting scoring plays in Canton’s loss to Bulldogs

Canton QB Caleb McKane was a part of two-record setting plays Saturday.

CANTON, Sept. 16 –Canton High quarterback Caleb McKane was involved in two school record scoring plays Saturday as the Warriors hosted the Stafford, East Windsor and Somers co-op football team in a Pequot Conference game.

Colton Engel ran for two touchdowns, returned an interception 27 yards for a touchdown and threw a 43-yard TD pass to lead Stafford/East Windsor/Somers to a 58-26 Uncas Division victory over Canton, which tied a school record with their 23rd consecutive defeat.

But McKane was involved in two exciting plays. The sophomore QB set a new school with an 88-yard touchdown run with 5:32 left in the second quarter, breaking the previous record of 85 yards set by Joe Cungo against Berlin in 1940. It was the oldest record scoring play in the Canton High football record book.Continue Reading

Granby rolls past Raiders for first victory

football graphicGRANBY, Sept. 15 – Quarterback Jackson Rome ran for one touchdown and threw a pair of touchdown passes as the Granby High football team earned their first win of the season Friday night with a 43-6 win over Windsor Locks/Suffield/East Granby in a Pequot Uncas Division game.

Rome completed 6-of-12 passes for 136 yards and two touchdowns. He also ran for a team-high 53 yards and scored on a six-yard touchdown run. Logan Disabella (4-15) ran for two touchdowns while Christian Warren caught a 51-yard TD pass from Rome and also scored on an 11-yard touchdown run.Continue Reading

Gavin Carter runs for 130 yards and touchdown in season-opening loss

Canton’s Dugan Lloyd (7) fires a pass in Saturday’s Pequot Conference contest game in Durham. The Blue Devils beat Canton, 36-20.

DURHAM, Sept. 9 – Sophomore running back Gavin Carter ran for a team-high 130 yards and a 55-yard touchdown but it wasn’t enough as the Coginchaug/Hale Ray co-op team won their first game as a co-op program Saturday with a 36-20 win over Canton.

Caleb McKane ran for 85 yards and an 18-yard touchdown on seven carries and completed 5-of-7 passes for 61 yards off the bench for the Warriors (0-1). Starting QB Dugan Lloyd completed two-of-15 passes for 27 yards.

Carson Humphrey ran for 28 yards and a 7-yard touchdown on five carries. He also scored on a two-point conversion for Canton.Continue Reading

Burgos throws 2 TD passes as Avon blanks East Catholic to capture opener

AVON, Sept. 9 – Senior QB Dylan Burgos completed three passes Saturday in the season opener against East Catholic but two were for touchdown passes as the Avon High football team beat the Eagles for the first time since 1995 with a 34-0 victory.

Burgos threw a 62-yard touchdown reception to Ryan Ollestad and a touchdown pass to Dan Quick. Burgos completed 3-of-5 passes for 110 yards, two touchdowns and one interception.

“The kids did a great job,” Avon High coach Sal Cintorino said. “They played hard. The offensive line was excellent along with the defensive line.”Continue Reading

Roundup: Nieves runs for 4 TDs as Simsbury tops Hall in season opener

football graphicWEST HARTFORD, Sept. 8 – Rafael Nieves ran for four touchdowns to lead the Simsbury High football team to a dominating 42-7 win over Hall Friday night in CCC Division I action. After scoring a touchdown in the first quarter, Nieves had touchdown runs of 97, 12 and 55 yards. Tate Valerio also caught a 10-yard touchdown pass from QB Jackson Masters.Continue Reading

High school football season begins Friday with four of six Valley teams on road

Avon QB Dylan Burgos and the Falcons open the 2017 campaign on Saturday when they host East Catholic at the high school at 1 p.m.

The high school football season kicks on Friday here in the Farmington Valley with Simsbury, Farmington and Granby playing under the lights — all on the road. Simsbury will be at Hall in West Hartford with Farmington seeking its first-ever win against Platt High in Meriden. Granby visits North Branford for the first time.

On Saturday, Avon and Lewis Mills each host their season openers at 1 p.m. Avon will be looking for its first win over East Catholic since 1995 and Lewis Mills will face off with Coventry/Windham Tech/Bolton/Lyman Memorial. Canton will travel to Durham looking to snap a 21-game losing streak in their first-ever meeting with the newly-formed Coginchaug/Hale Ray co-op team.Continue Reading

With nine starters returning on both sides of the ball, Granby is optimistic

Receiver Keon Lawrence is one of nine starters returning for Granby on offense this fall.

GRANBY, Sept. 7 – After a magical 2015 campaign when the Granby High football team went undefeated (10-0) in the regular season, won the Pequot Conference championship and went to the CIAC Class M playoffs for the first time, the Bears got back to the basics of building a program in 2016.

With a young roster, the Bears started six freshmen last fall and just two players that had played varsity football. Not surprisingly, the Bears (2-8) struggled to win games but they did earn victories over Windsor Locks/Suffield/East Granby co-op team and Canton on Thanksgiving morning, 43-20.

Hopes are higher this fall for second-year coach Erik Shortell. The Bears are returning nine starters on both sides of the ball – offense and defense.

“We are very fast and physical at the skill positions with lots of depth,” Shortell said. “We have a high-powered offense and a very fast and physical defense. If we stay healthy, we can stick with the best of teams.”Continue Reading

Early schedule is challenging but Farmington is looking for a good year

Farmington High football coach Chris Machol is beginning his ninth season at the helm of the Indians this season.

FARMINGTON, Sept. 7 – It looks to be an interesting season to watch the Farmington High football team. The Indians have some talented players returning but they will also have some youngsters in key spots on the offensive and defensive lines.

The question will be how soon can the team coming together as a unit and minimize mistakes. The team isn’t huge and with 62 players in the program, long-time head coach Chris Machol (9th year, 44-38) expects five to seven sophomores to see significant playing time.

Farmington lost 23 seniors, including five of seven starters on the offensive line, from a team that finished 3-7 a year ago.

But starting quarterback Zac Conrad returns along with a solid group of running backs led by Jack Beisel (25 rushes, 104 yards, 2 TDs), Luke Popolizio, Aidan Sposato, Angel Velez and Max Bratholomay. Continue Reading

Lewis Mills returns to Sassacus Division in Pequot Conference football

With 15 seniors, the Lewis Mills football team is looking for their second winning season in three years.

BURLINGTON – Once again, the Lewis Mills High football team will be playing in the Sassacus Division of the Pequot Conference as the league realigned for the fifth time in the last five years.

The Spartans, who were 4-6 a year ago, will be challenged by tough Pequot Conference opponents from Valley Regional/Old Lyme, Morgan, North Branford and Cromwell/Portland. Valley has been to the CIAC playoffs in three of the last four seasons, Cromwell/Portland went to the Class S tournament last year.

In the past five seasons, North Branford has won 39 games and made two CIAC playoff appearances. Morgan has won 38 games in the last five years, including going 10-2 in 2013.

Fortunately, Mills is prepared for the challenge with a strong senior class of 15 players returning for the 2017 campaign.Continue Reading

What has changed in 60 years of covering high school football? What about 2017?

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

Nearly 60 years ago, Bob Barton covered his first high school football game for the New Haven Register in the fall of 1957. He has been at it ever since. What has changed about high school football in Connecticut? What has stayed the same?

What can we expect this year on the gridiron in 2017? What are some of the great games to see in the state this fall. Bob, the long-time co-editor of the state football record book and state football historian, provides his thoughts in his annual preseason column.

GameTimeCT: Sixty years of seeing the state’s best

Simsbury hopes to continue positive growth in 2017

Simsbury has 14 returning starters for head coach Dave Masters. The season opens Friday at Hall in West Hartford.

SIMSBURY, Sept. 4 – It’s year three of the Dave Masters’ era in Simsbury and things are looking up for the Trojans.

After going 1-9 in his first campaign, Simsbury went 5-5 a year ago, winning five of their final six games. Masters hopes to keep that momentum moving forward this fall.

Simsbury lost several seniors, including leading rusher Sean Penney (1,213 yards, 21 TDs) and QB Riley Shanley, who threw for over 1,218 yards and 7 TD passes. But the Trojans still have 14 returning starters, sprinkled on both sides of the ball.

Three All-Conference players return including two-time CCC Division I West All-Star receiver Ralph Gilliard. The 5-foot-11 senior caught 53 passes for 805 yards and 7 TD passes. As a sophomore, he pulled in 49 passes for 758 yards and another 5 TD receptions.Continue Reading

Boffi hopes to begin turning around Canton football program this fall

Dante Boffi is Canton’s first-year head coach — the fourth coach in four years for the Warriors.

CANTON – Dante Boffi has been looking for an opportunity to lead a team for a while. Over the last decade, he has been an offensive coordinator in Canton, Avon and with Sports Medicine Science Academy’s co-op football team in Hartford.

He’s been part of winning seasons and campaigns that didn’t result in many victories.

Now, he is ready to the lead the Canton High football team this fall. Boffi was named as the 13th coach in school history last spring, replacing Mike Guy, who resigned after one season and a 0-10 record. For Guy, who lives in Salisbury, the daily commute to Canton was just too much.

Boffi is no stranger to the Canton community. He has been the head coach of the Warriors’ boys tennis program since 2008. He was an assistant coach under Graham Martin in 2006 when the school resurrected the football program after a 42-year absence with a club program.Continue Reading

Avon is bigger, stronger and more experienced for 2017 campaign

The Avon High football runs through drills in Wednesday’s preseason practice at the high school.

AVON, August 16 – The Avon High football team took it on the chin a year ago. The Falcons were young and inexperienced. They lost their first eight games – their longest losing streak in over a decade.

After nine consecutive winning seasons, Avon went 1-9 a year ago under first-year head coach Sal Cintorino.

On Tuesday, the Falcons were working out in the sunshine at the high school in the third day of preseason workouts in preparation for the season opening contest against East Catholic at home on Saturday, Sept. 9, at 1 p.m. – the first of three straight home games to open the season.

The Falcons are bigger, stronger and more experienced. The youngsters who got plenty of experience and dropped some close games in 2016 are ready to go this fall.Continue Reading

CCC makes slight adjustments in six football divisions

Windsor High senior Tim Gardner-Russaw ran for a career-high 204 yards and 5 TDs to help Windsor beat CCC rival Middletown in the Class L semifinals last December.

AVON – With the departure of Rockville and Weaver from the Central Connecticut Conference this fall, the CCC has made some slight adjustments in their football divisions.

The CCC still has six divisions. There are 10 teams at the Division I and III levels with 11 teams in Division II.

Avon remains in Division III East but gets a new opponent – the co-op team from Bulkeley, Weaver and Hartford Magnet Trinity Catholic Academy (HMTCA) that replaces Rockville, which left for the NCCC.Continue Reading