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Five Valley football players to be recognized at Scholar Athlete dinner – The Collinsville Press
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Five Valley football players to be recognized at Scholar Athlete dinner

football graphicFive high school football players from the Farmington Valley will be honored as Scholar Athletes by the Northern Connecticut chapter of the National Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame on Sunday, May 19 at the Aqua Turf in Southington at 1 p.m. 

Avon’s Colin Moore, the Gatorade state player of the year, Avon receiver Chris Suttmeier, Simsbury lineman Christian Kaljulaid, Simsbury quarterback Steven Steijn and Avon Old Farms’ wide receiver/safety John Van Allen will be recognized. 

Former Avon High coach Brett Quinion, who coached the Falcons for 10 seasons before resigning last December, will be recognized as the coach of the year. Eighteen other high school players and three other adults will be honored at the chapter’s 47th annual banquet. 

Tickets are $40 and on sale only through May 15. No tickets will be sold at the door. Contact Gil Boisoneau at 860-643-0688 or mail him at 229 East Center Street in Manchester, 06040. 

Avon's Colin Moore

Avon’s Colin Moore

Moore was the first Avon High football player to be named the state player of the year after a stellar career. For the second straight season, he ran for over 2,000 yards and helped Avon earn a perfect 10-0 regular season record and win the Pequot Conference’s Uncas Division championship. 

Moore’s achievements on the football field are staggering. He finished his career with 5,217 yards and 64 rushing touchdowns over four years. Before this season began, only 12 runners in state history had run for over 5,000 yards in a career. He has run for more yards and scored more points (436) than anyone in Avon High’s football program. His 436 career points will probably leave him among the top 15 all-time in state history.

He earned All-State honors in football but is also an All-State lacrosse player. He’ll play lacrosse at Furman University in South Carolina. 

Chris Suttmeier (1) goes to celebrate with his teammates after Avon won the Pequot Uncas Division title with a 14-7 win over Ellington/Somers.

Chris Suttmeier (1) after Avon won the Pequot Uncas Division title with a 14-7 win over Ellington/Somers.

Suttmeier is a two-time varsity letterwinner and team captain. He led the team in receiving this fall with 24 receptions for 292 yards and three TDs. One of his best games was in a 14-7 win over Ellington/Somers that clinched the Uncas Division championship.

Suttmeier caught a 43-yard touchdown pass from QB Noah Hahn and laid out to make a key 35-yard reception that sparked a second scoring drive. He was also an anchor in the backfield at secondary. 

Moore and Suttmeier are the 13th and 14th athletes, respectively, from Avon to receive the Scholar Athlete award and the first since 2008. 

John Van Allen of Hartford won three letters playing football at Avon Old Farms, playing wide receiver and safety for the Winged Beavers. He was an All-New England player this fall and an All-Founders Conference selection. Allen, who is 6-foot-3 and 210 pounds, had 48 receptions and 119 tackles this year. He will be attending Harvard in the fall. 

Simsbury lineman Christian Kaljulaid is being honored. A three-year letterman, he played on the offensive and defensive lines for the Trojans, earning All-Conference honors in 2010, 2011 and 2012. As a senior, he had 55 tackles, five sacks, two forced fumbles and one fumble recovery for Simsbury. As a junior, he had 42 tackles and three sacks. He was a captain this past season. 

Simsbury quarterback Steven Steijn is also being honored. Steijn played a challenging role with the Trojans running a triple option veer offense. Each play, he had to read the defense and make a quick decision on whether to keep the ball and run, pitch it to a teammate or throw the ball. 

Last fall, he completed 26-of-80 passes for 407 yards and six touchdowns. He had eight interceptions. He ran the ball for 471 yards on 108 carries with three TDs. He also played defensive back and earned three varsity letters. He was captain this past season and was named team MVP. 

Avon High football coach Brett Quinion

Former Avon High football coach Brett Quinion

Quinion is being named coach of the year. He completed his 10th season with the Falcons, the second-longest tenure in team history behind Glenn McLellan, who coached for 26 seasons. Quinion finished with a career record of 67-37. Only McLellan has more wins (130).

This season, Avon went 10-0 for the second time in four years and captured the Uncas Division championship with a hard-fought 14-7 win over Ellington/Somers. The Falcons earned a berth into the CIAC Class L tournament but fell to New Canaan in the quarterfinals, 16-7.

Quinion, an Avon High graduate who played here under McLellan in the mid 1970s, was named as the seventh coach in the history of the program in 2003 and led the Falcons to success they had never achieved before.

In the last six seasons, Avon went 53-11, winning five Pequot Conference Uncas Division titles and earning Class L playoff berths in 2008, 2009 and 2012. The 2008 playoff berth was the first in team history. Avon won four straight Uncas Division titles from 2007-10 and added a fifth this year. It had been 14 years since the Falcons won a league title when they earned a banner in 2007. 

Other adults and athletes being honored at the banquet include Berlin Mayor Adam Paul Salina with the Distinguished Scholar Athlete Alumnus, Bob Sokolowski as Outstanding Official, Bob Beltrandi for his Contributions to Football, and Rob Cersosimo of Conard High School with the Distinguished American award. 

The other Scholar Athletes being honored include North Branford QB Brandon Basil, who led his team to the Class S championship game, Glastonbury’s Ben Berey, Enfield’s Michael Crowley, Conard’s Owen Dawson, Coginchaug’s Sean Harper, Manchester’s Andrew Isaacs, Glastonbury’s Nicholas Karp, Manchester QB Marquis Little, Kent School’s Connor Mitchell, Salisbury School’s Sadiq Olanrewaju, St. Paul’s Geun Park, Newington’s Eric Ryan, Manchester’s Chris Simmons, St. Paul’s Mike Skorupski, Hartford Public’s Shane Starks, Rocky Hill’s Chris Stoneburner, South Windsor’s Robin Thomas and Windsor RB/linebacker Christoper Traore. 


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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