Archive for November, 2006

Say Hello To My Ghostwriter
November 27, 2006

Thoughts of an Outsider

My name is Drew Davis and I am a sports department intern at WFSB. I want to thank John Holt for giving me the opportunity to be a guest on his blog. I decided to write about the state of Connecticut football because there are a lot of things on my mind. First off, let me say how great it is to see so many people out on a Friday Night watching high school football. I’m originally from Long Island and Connecticut football blows them out of the water. Although we’ve covered over 100 teams, I’ve had the privilege of seeing more than 1/3 of them. Here are some general thoughts about the places I’ve been to this year:

Cheshire @ Hamden (Week 1): The rain did not stop the fans of the Rams and Green Dragons from coming out and since I go to school at Quinnipiac, the synthetic grass at Hamden is a familiar site. Not only that, but the Green Dragons pulled out their only win of the season.

Palmer Field, Home of the defending Class LL Xavier Falcons (Weeks 1 and 5): The Black Hole was everything it was chalked up to be. The team was not. Funny stat about them is they were 2-0 in games I was at, but never scored a point while I was in attendance; the Falcons then proceeded to lose the next week (Hillhouse and W. Haven)

Hillhouse @ Branford (Week 8): Hillhouse was coming off the loss to Shelton and they were trailing in the 3rd quarter 20-6. The Academics never gave up trying to win this game even though we almost gave up trying to shoot it because of other circumstances (a traffic mess on 91 North). Thank goodness we didn’t. Hillhouse came back to score the final 20 points of the game, including an amazing bobbling catch with under 1:30 to go, winning 26-20.


Cheerleaders, Bands, Public Address Announcers: I’ve met all of them when going to these games. Congrats to the Cheerleaders and Bands who have made our show because you all deserve the accolades. There have been some amazing performances this year and you can feel the energy that these kids put into them. The PA announcers have also been great, allowing me to come into their booths and take rosters, and keep me up to date on some of the happenings of games we aren’t at the entire time. Besides the obvious of the game of football, these 3 groups of people make my job a whole lot of fun.

Now I’m going to try and use my expertise to tell you who I think will be the champions this year in the six classes. Obviously 2 months on the job doesn’t make me a genius, but if I’m wrong, I don’t care because I’m an intern. It’s my duty to screw up so there is somebody to blame.

Are you insane or just insanely smart?

Class LL

Southington 10-0: What a performance by the Blue Knights when they defeated the Golden Hurricanes of New Britain. No disrespect to the Bristol Central tandem of Matt Coyne and All-American Aaron Hernandez, but Paul Clements to Nick Florian could very well be the best tandem in Connecticut football. The stats say otherwise, but the one stat that counts most is a 46-22 win over BC in Week 3. Clements is 3rd in passing yards and Florian is 3rd in receiving yards, and Bristol Central didn’t make the playoffs. That’s the value of these two guys. This team should roll over Shelton in the semifinal and probably win the whole thing.

Greenwich 9-1: The Cardinals have had a rather easy schedule this year, but Thanksgiving Day brought the true test against Staples, which they lost. Greenwich has a very balanced attack, with Jim Dunster and Jonathan Meyers combining for 165 yards per game on the ground. Losing to end the season is never a good thing but if any team can come back from one, it’s the Cardinals. They defeat Fairfield Prep but run into the best team in Class LL, Southington in the final and lose.

Fairfield Prep 8-2: Won against Shelton and Cheshire. The problem with this team is a loss to Xavier. Yes, it’s Xavier the defending Class LL champion but no, they are not the same team. Backing their way in after a horrible defeat to West Haven and because of that combined with playing a Greenwich team who is mad after losing, Fairfield Prep loses their semifinal.

Shelton 8-2: Defeated the team who won in last year’s Class LL title game in Xavier and the team who lost in Class M, Hillhouse. The problem with the Gaels is when they had a chance to prove their worth; they lost to West Haven and Fairfield Prep. Phil Konopka and Geoff Schultz fuel this team, Schultz is a monster and is 3rd in rushing yards. Konopka’s thrown 11 TD’s. However, this team can’t handle Southington’s passing attack and they’ll lose.


My Class LL prediction: #1 Southington (10-0) def. #4 Shelton (8-2)

#2 Greenwich (9-1) def. #3 Fairfield Prep (8-2)

In the title game, Southington proves they are the best in Class LL. Greenwich should have a great game on the ground after the Blue Knights stop Geoff Schultz, but the passing attack is just too much and the Southington Blue Knights win the Class LL title.

Championship Game: #1 Southington 35, #2 Greenwich 27

Class L

Masuk 10-0: The only Class L team that wound up undefeated in regular season play is this one. The runner-up to Staples last year has a great offense that starts behind QB Steve Cardi and WR’s Ray Palmer and Brian Fitzgimmons. The Panthers are seeded first and look to defeat Bunnell. They played in a game that didn’t count towards the final record (SWC title game) and Bunnell beat Masuk. Stay tuned for the rematch.


Staples 9-1:
Staples has a title to defend and they need RJ Marsilio to run this offense and Alex Lebow to be the workhorse back who drives them. I didn’t think they’d beat Greenwich but I was wrong. The Wreckers are a strong squad but I don’t think they stop James Alford. West Haven wins on the road.

West Haven 9-1: James Alford is the star of this Blue Devil team (133 yards/game), but Maurice Wearing (12 passing TD’s) has some talent as well. This team should be undefeated but slipped against Cheshire. The only team that can beat the Westies now is themselves. I give all the credit in the world to Staples for stopping the Greenwich run game, but they won’t stop Alford.

Bunnell 9-1: As The Day’s Ned Griffen said a few weeks ago, Bunnell is the most surprising team this season. Steve Smith is 2nd in the state in passing yards and looks to be quite an amazing player although I have not had the privilege to watch him in person yet. The key word is yet because the Bulldogs play Masuk one more time. Smith is amazing but the Panthers have their number. Masuk defeats the Bulldogs to avenge the SWC title game loss

My Class L Prediction: #1 Masuk(10-0) def. #4 Bunnell (9-1)

#3 West Haven (9-1) def. #2 Staples (9-1)

In the Class L title game, Masuk will have their hands full with stopping James Alford after trying to stop Steve Smith. I think the D will step up big like they did in the first meeting with Bunnell and all year long. Masuk played in the title game last year and lost to Staples. This time it will be the Panthers walking off the field Class L champs.

Championship Game: #1 Masuk 27, #3 West Haven 20

Class MM

New Canaan 9-1: Impressive with wins over Staples and Wilton, 9 and 7 win teams, respectively. Curt Casali’s 12 TDs and 150 passing yds/game are very impressive but don’t forget about Daniel Neeleman and his 15 rushing TDs. Balanced attack equals good team, and the Rams are one that are 9-1 heading into their game against Coventry who does not have enough magic to pull off another upset.

Maloney 9-1: I saw Maloney play Bristol Eastern in their worst offensive performance (10 pts.) then the following week saw them score 3 times in the first half against Newington, most of that because of Johrone Bunch. Maloney enters the playoffs as the #2 seed, but I think the Spartans are the best team in Class MM when they are on their game. They will be when the Redcoats come to town and advance to the championship game.

Berlin 8-2: The Redcoats are coming! The Redcoats are coming! I’m sure they have heard that before. I love Sage Park and this team. My only live experience of this team was 8 minutes of running out the clock up 23-0, but the highlights we’ve shown show a different story. Coach John Capodice has his team ready for the playoffs after they lost their season finale to East Catholic/Cheney Tech. Ryan Molloy was the guy I saw for and he’ll need to be the guy when it’s Berlin at Maloney in the Class MM semifinals, and time will run out on Berlin.

Coventry/ Windham Tech 7-3: Big win a few weeks ago at Tolland and they ride a huge wave after an amazing win over Cromwell. Ryan Tomlinson has the double threat of a great right arm and two very quick moving legs. Travis Pascarelli is 4th in rushing yards. Unfortunately Coventry/ Windham Tech runs out of magic against New Canaan.

My Class MM prediction: #1 New Canaan (9-1) def. #4 Coventy (7-3)

#2 Maloney (9-1) def. #3 Berlin (8-2)

I don’t think New Canaan can win the big game, as they proved earlier in the FCIAC title game against Greenwich, getting shut out. Maloney has found a way to win all year, even in situations where it looked like they wouldn’t. There will be a bunch of Spartan fans happy when Johrone Bunch and his Maloney teammates pull the upset and win Class MM in a closely contested battle.

Championship Game: #2 Maloney 23, #1 New Canaan 20


Class M

Windham 10-0: I saw Windham beat Fitch when Kyle Brueckner received his FNF T-shirt for being Player of the Week in Week 3 and saw the Whippets again versus Ledyard the following week. Spencer Beaudreault is a solid QB and the two of them will lead the Willimantic school to the championship game.

Hillhouse 9-1: “Wow” were my thoughts when I saw the Academics come from 14 down to beat Branford in Branford. Keerome Lawrence is one dynamic player and combine his talents with those of RB Danny Williams and WR/DB Terrell Wilks; I can see why Hillhouse made the championship game last year. 2 –time defending champ Hand will be out; Hillhouse will be in with another chance to claim victory in the title game. A loss to Shelton on Floyd Little day hurt the Acs big time, but they will be back in the title game this year.


St. Bernard/Norwich Tech 8-1-1: Big win over resurgent Griswold helped them get in the playoffs. Led by former New London head coach Marc Romano and standout RB/LB Ben Nossek, the Saints are 8-1-1 and high rolling into the playoffs, taking on Hillhouse. I hope they bring some pens and paper, because the Academics are taking them to school.


Ledyard 8-2:
Ledyard lost to Windham but took out previously unbeaten New London. Besides the chili at Bill Mignault Field, I was impressed by grandson Marc Mignault and workhorse back Tim McNeil (2nd in yards/gm) when I saw them play against NFA. Ledyard backed into the playoffs after losing to Fitch, and they’ll lose for the second time to Windham, but this time it ends their season. It doesn’t help that Mignault is injured and will miss the postseason with torn knee ligaments. McNeil is also a playoff question mark due to a concussion suffered in the Fitch loss.

My class M prediction: #1 Windham (10-0) def. #4 Ledyard (8-2)

#2 Hillhouse (9-1) def. #3 St. Bernard/Norwich Tech (8-1-1)

In the Championship game, I see Hillhouse pulling out the win. They faced great competition this season, and great adversity in the previously mentioned win over Branford. Windham is a great team and they deserve all the respect they’ve received, but the Academics want this title and need this title more than the Whippets, and it will be Hillhouse who wins the Class M title.

Championship Game: #2 Hillhouse 35, #1 Windham 27

Class SS

Holy Cross 10-0: Mike Croce, Dan Mulrooney, and Dan Awaad. These three are what make the Crusaders click. Saw them against Seymour and was thoroughly impressed by their talent. Their toughest game was the game that doesn’t count towards their final record when they lost to Ansonia in the NVL title game. They’re easily the best team in Class SS and will prove so when the playoffs begin. They have to stop Tolland and all star back Mike Gallic. The Crusaders won’t, but they have so many weapons it won’t matter as they roll to the title game.

Stratford 8-2: I believe this is the hottest team entering the playoffs after defeating Bunnell. Justin Shumyhora averages 110 passing yards, and was up for FNF Athlete of the Week but it’s the rushing duo of Octavious McKoy with over 1000 yards and Torrey Mack who leads this team with over 1300 yards. These three bring them to the championship game.

Griswold 8-2: This team lost 90-0 last year? Saw them against Woodstock Academy and I didn’t believe what I heard about them. Maybe not the best game to get a good grasp on their abilities against a formidable opponent but I like the Wolverines, just not enough to defeat the amazing rushing duo Stratford possesses.

Tolland 7-3: The catalyst of this team is RB Mike Gallic, who ran for over 1700 yards last year (his first of competitive football). He finished just shy of 2000 yards this year at 1988. I’ve seen Tolland twice, and the Eagles are 1-1 in my presence, defeating Windsor Locks/Suffield and losing to Coventry/Windham Tech. Mulrooney vs. Gallic will be an amazing battle, but the other weapons Holy Cross has is the Eagles downfall.

Class SS Predictions #1 Holy Cross (10-0) def. #4 Tolland (7-3)

#2 Stratford (8-2) def. #3 Griswold (8-2)

In the championship game, it will be two high octane offenses. I expect to see a shootout between these teams, but Holy Cross has proven to be on top of their game when the pressure is on. As their coach, Mike Phelan, said a locker room pregame speech earlier this season, “They’ll be sorry they were ever on the same field as the Crusaders”

Championship Game: #1 Holy Cross 40, #2 Stratford 31

Class S

Ansonia 10-0: It’s about time they were placed on top of the class. Alex Thomas is a freak of nature and he should be the 11-time reigning player of the week for FNF. 18 TD’s including 5 in one game. I’ll admit here we messed up when he was named MSG Tri-State Athlete of the Week and we did not nominate him. I also admit that wasn’t my fault and the person responsible will remain nameless. They beat Holy Cross so technically they are 11-0. The Chargers finish 12-0 or 13-0 which means I believe they can break out the music of Queen’s “We Are The Champions”

Bloomfield 9-1: Only loss was to Southington in Week 2, but had wins over Hall and Conard. Keenen Orie has thrown for almost 1700 yards and 22 TD passes. Andre Delaire runs for about 95 yds/gm so you can expect them to be very good in the playoffs also. They’ll play a team in Cromwell who is down, but not out. They will be after Bloomfield has their way.

Cromwell 9-1: Wins over Hyde Leadership and North Branford are two reasons why the Panthers should’ve been the #1 seed in Class S. The loss to Coventry/WT killed those hopes, but star RB Tyshaun Prude should help them score in this game. The Panthers have an explosive offense but tough competition against this Warhawks team will be their second straight loss to end the season.

North Branford (9-1): North Branford’s Matt Rossi runs and passes for a combined 180 per game, which was a big reason for the monumental destruction of 2-time defending champ Hyde. That win got them in and now they have to take down Ansonia? Good luck. You might have been able to pull off a huge win to get in but the Chargers will put them out.

Class S predictions: #1 Ansonia (10-0) def. #4 North Branford (9-1)

#2 Bloomfield (9-1) def. #3 Cromwell (9-1)

In the title game, Ansonia will continue their dominance and defeat Bloomfield. It won’t be a blowout, but Ansonia was the best all season. They proved it time and time again and guess what Class S? Alex Thomas is only a JUNIOR!

Championship Game: #1 Ansonia 31, #2 Bloomfield 16

Hopefully I get another chance to guest blog when playoff time is over and basketball season comes around to see how much of a genius I am and how many faithful high school football fans I’ve made mad. If you’d like to send your complaints or glorifications, I’d love to hear them. I’ll be somewhere on Tuesday night and on Saturday afternoon when 6 champions get crowned. I know I can’t wait to find out who they are and I know you can’t either. Thank you for your time and enjoy the playoffs.

Drew Davis

WFSB Sports Intern

Championship Week
November 17, 2006

It’s that special week in the fall where memories are made for high school athletes across Connecticut. Friday and Saturday 15 state champs will be crowned in Boys and Girls Soccer, Field Hockey & Girls Volleyball. Already, championships have been won in Cross Country and Girls Swimming.

This Saturday night on Eyewitness News at 11pm look for highlights from multiple state title games plus all the scores. Championship Saturday – whether it be in the fall, winter or spring – is one of the best days of the year on the Connecticut Sports Calendar.

State championships in football won’t be determined until Saturday December 2nd. However, there are 3 conference championship games and one has already been played, Thursday’s rainy and highly anticipated Naugatuck Valley League title clash between fellow unbeatens Ansonia and Holy Cross. Ansonia won the game 27-13 behind another monster effort from Junior running back Alex Thomas – 258 yards and 4 touchdowns on 31 carries.

Holy Cross has already clinched a spot in the state playoffs (and will be the strong favorite in Class SS). Believe it or not though with a loss on Thanksgiving to longtime rival (8-1) Naugatuck Ansonia – currently ranked #1 in the state in the Coaches Poll – could miss the postseason. It’s a possibility because class S is so competitive. Any slip up by Bloomfield or Ansonia – and Northwest Catholic (currently 4th), Hyde and North Branford will be ready to pounce and move up.

Remember This Name: Kevin Decker

It’s up for debate, but there’s a good chance that Kevin Decker of Greenwich’s Brunswick School is the best prep quarterback in the state. He’s been starting since his freshman year and Saturday he leads Brunswick (with its’ 38 game win streak) into a New England Prepatory School Athletic Council championship game vs. Belmont Hill. Decker throws the ball a lot and Belmont’s coach calls him “The Peyton Manning of high school football”. On FNF we haven’t highlighted any prep school games this year so I haven’t seen highlights of Decker. If you have drop me an email to share your impressions.

You can see Decker in person in Saturday’s championship game by visiting Loomis Chaffee in Windsor for the 11am kickoff.

2 Champs To Be Crowned Friday Night

Ansonia is the NVL Champ and tonight we’ll find out who rules the FCIAC and the SWC. The Southwest Conference game between (9-0) Bunnell and (9-0) Masuk at Pomperaug is a weather postponement from last night. The Fairfield County title will go to the winner of (9-0) Greenwich and (8-1) New Canaan – a game set for Stamford’s Boyle Stadium.

Not all leagues squeeze in a championship game before Thanksgiving week matchups, in fact most don’t. The games are fun for fans and the media but how do they impact teams that have to bounce back to play on Turkey day and in many cases the Tuesday after Thanksgiving in state playoff games? Does the extra game take its’ toll?

Sean Patrick Bowley, the fine High School football columnist from the Connecticut Post explores that very topic in his latest podcast:

http://extras.connpost.com/hsf/index.html

Worth the listen!

Also Worth The Listen!

It’s very cool to be living in this Youtube / internet streaming world. I’ve become a big fan of listening to web simulcasts of Friday night high school football games from across the state as a way to keep the FNF staff updated on scores and storylines.

Here’s a list of stations and outlets streaming play-by-play for games. Visit their websites for game schedules.

WELI (New Haven & Shoreline games)
WATR (Waterbury & The Valley)
WGCH (Greenwich, Brunswick School & tonight’s FCIAC Championship game)
WSTC/WNLK (Fairfield County & tonight’s FCIAC Championship game)
WINY (Putnam & The Northeast corner of the state)
Sportingnewsct.com (New Haven area but also some statewide games)
WXLM (Eastern Connecticut)

Also of broadcasting note: MSG will show the Greenwich-Staples Thanksgiving game on tape delay that night at 7pm.

Quick Week 10 Thoughts

Games We’ll Be Watching:


Hyde Leadership at North Branford (The winner keeps alive its’ Class S playoff hopes, the loser will miss out on the postseason.)

East Lyme at Windham (The unbeaten Whippets have already clinched a postseason berth, the Vikings need a win to stay on course for the playoffs)

Conard at Hall – Saturday 1:30pm (The 50th annual battle of West Hartford pits two teams that are a combined (15-3))

Things We’ll Be Wondering:

Can the Simsbury Trojans get Coach Joe Grace a win Friday night vs. Glastonbury in what will be Grace’s final game before retirement?

Who will be the best Connecticut High School football team to miss the playoffs? Leading candidates including potential one loss Hall, Hyde and Northwest Catholic teams or two loss New Britain and Staples teams.

Do people who watch shows like Entertainment Tonight and Inside Edition to track the every move of trashy celebrities consider my interest in sports as silly as I do their interest in trash?

Completely Unrelated Thought Of The Week:

Don’t stand for Sportscaster-eeze.! I implore my fellow sports guys to put a stop to the use of phrases like “Ortiz’ double plated a third inning run” or “The Rangers over-timed the Penguins”. Who speaks like that in real life? I half expect to hear this sometime next baseball season: “Ramirez went yard in the 9th to plate the tying runs but the Sox ended up being extra-inninged in the 10th”

See you at 11:15pm Friday for FNF!

John

Hitting The Century Mark
November 10, 2006

Please indulge me while I pat ourselves on the back. Tonight on FNF we’ll show highlights from our 100th different high school this season. It’s a milestone we’re pretty proud of. 140 high schools play football in Connecticut and tonight thanks to planned first time appearances from schools such as Masuk, Coventry/Windham Tech, Ellington/Somers & Stafford/East Windsor we’ve got an 11:15pm meeting with the century mark. I’m guessing that’s a Connecticut television first. One station, highlights from a hundred different schools in less than 60 days time.

If your school has yet to make it on the show remember, after tonight, there’s still 2 more weeks to go in the regular season.

What Ned Said

Last week on FNF The Day of New London’s high school football guru Ned Griffen joined us to share his thoughts on the season to date. Our full conversation is available to check out on WFSB.com:

Watch my interview with Ned

At the time I introduced Mr. Griffen as the second most famous Ned in the state of Connecticut. After the events of Tuesday night, he has now once again assumed the top spot.

Ned is an incredible source of high school football information and opinion. Here are a few of the more interesting things he shared with me:

  • Ned has a vote in the New Haven Register Media Poll and he’s been voting Holy Cross Waterbury No. 1. He may be right considering the Crusaders impressive shutout of previously unbeaten Naugatuck last Friday night.
  • Ned’s most pleasant surprise of the season so far? Unbeaten Bunnell of Stratford and the play of their talented Senior Quarterback Steve Smith. Bunnell and Cromwell by the way are the only two state unbeatens (both 8-0) not in the Day Coaches Top 10 – behind one loss schools Bristol Central, New Canaan and Staples.
  • Ned despises the CIAC’s 50-Point Rule. Simply put he doesn’t believe we should have to legislate sportsmanship.
  • Have you noticed there’s been very little talk or testing of the 50 Point Rule since East Hartford’s Dan Lawrence was suspended after his team violated the rule in a week 3 win over Fermi? Schools have become accustomed to playing games within the confines of the rule and the state doesn’t seem any worse off for it. Is it time to give the CIAC some credit?

    One More Thing To Kick Around

    Last week I blogged about three of the more talented kickers in the state. Turns out that Northwest Catholic’s Rob Dornfriend (who will kick in college at Holy Cross) has quite a story as to how he ended up leaving Berlin High School for Northwest.

    I encourage you to read Jeff Jacobs’ column from Sunday’s Hartford Courant and draw your own conclusions.

    More Points And A Win

    A week after scoring their first touchdown of the season against Rockville the Fermi Falcons got their first win by exploding to beat Sport & Medicine Sciences Academy 56-36. The 278 yards rushing 4 touchdown performance of Fermi Freshman Jake Lavender was so good he made the cut as one of our 3 Athlete of The Week nominees.

    Some Quick Week 9 Thoughts

    Games We’ll Be Watching:

    Southington at New Britain (The undefeated Blue Knights visit the once beaten Golden Hurricanes. A win is crucial for New Britain’s Class LL playoff hopes. This should be a doozy!)

    Stratford at Masuk (The Red Devils and their dangerous Junior running back duo of Torrey Mack and Octavious McKoy travel to Monroe to meet an undefeated Masuk team that can cement its’ Top Ten ranking with a victory)

    Windham at New London (Saturday 1:30pm – The Whalers got stung last week, losing their first game of the year in a shutout defeat to Ledyard. Look for them to come out angry vs. a talented and still undefeated Windham squad)

    Things We’ll Be Wondering:

    What’s with the internet message board rumors that Bristol Central’s Aaron Hernandez is considering season ending surgery? Hard to believe they’re true since the University of Florida bound All American had 4 touchdown catches in Week 8.

    The Day Poll has Ansonia #1, The Register Poll has Greenwich #1, Birdseye Sports, WELI Radio & The Courant have West Haven #1 – Who is it? Would the real #1 please stand up!

    Is America the greatest country on Earth or what? Reason # 562 – Halloween! Get this – kids go door to door where neighbors and complete strangers give them free candy they took the time to go out and purchase. Nobody does Halloween like the gold old U.S.A.!

    Completely Unrelated Thought Of The Week:

    Next fall if I threw a leaf raking party at my house with plenty of food and drink – may be even rented an obnoxious sized television to put on the front lawn to show the game of the day – would the food, drink, TV and fellowship be enough for my buddies to show up with rakes in hand?

    See you tonight at 11:15pm for FNF!

    John

    The Great Debate
    November 3, 2006

    Who’s your #1 in Connecticut High School football this season? The latest Day of New London State Coaches Poll has Ansonia just a few points ahead of second ranked Greenwich. The Chargers claim to the top spot comes a week after they and the Cardinals were tied for the #1 ranking.

    Greenwich is a Class LL school (606 or more enrolled male students), Ansonia is a Class S school (271 or less enrolled males). If Greenwich met Ansonia this season who would win? Could a Class S school stay competitive with a Class LL school? I have my doubts.

    It’s an answer we won’t get, much like in 2003 when then Ansonia Senior Kenny Tinney insisted his undefeated Charger team would beat Class LL Champ New Britain.

    FNF Mailbag

    We get a good amount of email sent our way at Friday Night Football. One recent inquiry deserves a public response.

    Gary in New Britain wondered:

    Q: Your colleague Joe Zone, is that his real name?

    A: Gary, yes it is. I’ve seen his birth certificate. Yes, Joe is his real name.

    (editors note: Zone is also his real last name)

    Send all future mailbag questions to: john.holt@wfsb.com

    Kicking Around The Best Connecticut’s Got To Offer

    Is there a better kicker in the state than Hartford Public’s Charles Gallagher? I don’t get to see enough games in person to know for certain. What I do know is that the Owl Senior (who also is the starter at quarterback) made no less than 53 extra points in 2005 and this year is drawing college interest from the likes of Duke, New Hampshire and Sacred Heart. In all likelihood this February Gallagher will sign a letter of intent to kick on a college scholarship. When’s the last time the city of Hartford produced a kicker of such renown?

    Gallagher is equally proud that he’ll follow his 3 older siblings to college despite family learning disabilities. Next week on Friday Night Football (November 10th), I’ll share Gallagher’s story with viewers.

    While on the topic of kickers congrats to Northwest Catholic’s Rob Dornfried, Ridgefield’s Lee Haberlin and Amity’s Noah Silverstein who have all hit late, crucial field goals for their schools in recent weeks. Silverstein (a former soccer player) kicked it through the uprights to beat Xavier last week as time expired (we’ll share video of the game winning kick this week on FNF)

    Fermi Makes Its Point(s)

    Last week I blogged on how Fermi of Enfield had been outscored 244-0 through the first six weeks of the season. Well, the Falcons are on the board! Last Saturday they scored for the first time all season in a 27 to 7 loss to Rockville. Matt Violette scored on a 41-yard reception from Keith Hill to break the drought. Thanks to the emailer who pointed out that Fermi is very young. A check of the Falcons roster confirms it with twice as many sophomores on the team as seniors.

    Some Quick Week 8 Thoughts:

    Games We’ll Be Watching:

  • Holy Cross at Naugatuck (Are the Greyhounds for real? We’ll know by 9pm Friday night, earlier maybe if the Crusaders prove as mighty as some think – including our FNF Friend Ned Griffen of The Day of New London newspaper who feels Holy Cross is the top team in the state)
  • Hillhouse at Branford (The Academics fell hard from the ranks of the unbeatens with a home loss to Shelton last week. Now they visit Branford. The timing for Coach Gary Gravina and his Hornets may be unfortunate)
  • Southington at Glastonbury (Saturday 1:30pm. Tomahawks standout Jordan Brown ran for a school record 6 touchdowns last week. If he runs for 7 this week, I see a Glastonbury upset of the 3rd Ranked Blue Knights. If not, bank on Southington staying undefeated heading into next Friday night’s showdown with New Britain)
  • Things We’ll Be Wondering:

    What are the chances that the weather is dry and on the mild side the final 4 Friday nights of the regular season and then for State Semifinal Tuesday on November 28th and State Championship Saturday on December 2nd? Our FNF photographers would appreciate anything Bruce DePrest and his associates could arrange!

    Why is it that 90 percent of the thought we give to dinosaurs occurs in the first 10 percent of our lives? My 4 year old daughter regularly reminds me of this truth.

    Who is the schedule maker who agreed to have the first year program at Hartford’s Prince Tech travel to Western Massachusetts in two weeks so Prince can play Holyoke High School? Holyoke is the equivalent of a Connecticut Class LL school. Again….Prince Tech is a first year program. Does the reach of the 50 point rule extend over the border into Massachusetts?

    Completely Unrelated Thought Of The Week Not Involving Dinosaurs:

    I must come clean. I’m a serial Thank You artist. It’s not the worst affliction in life but it has me concerned just the same. I’ll thank the cashier in the grocery line 4 or 5 times. Thanks for giving me my Big Y card back, thanks for not bagging the chewing gum my daughter will be screaming for before we’re halfway to the parking lot, thanks for this, thanks for that.

    Just when is a Thank You one too many Thank Yous? The double doors dilemma always gets me. Just one thank you for the person two steps ahead of you, or one for the first set of doors followed by another Thank You for the second set just a second or two later?

    Thanks for reading! (There I go again)

    See you Friday at 11:15pm for FNF!

    John

    ALEX DOROSH SUSPENDED FOR 2 GAMES
    November 2, 2006

    I learned this afternoon that Woodland Senior Quarterback Alex Dorosh has been suspended for 2 games and stripped of his captaincy following an arrest early Thursday morning for driving under the influence.

    Woodland is currently (5-2) on the season and ranked 6th in the Class SS playoff points race. The Hawks are the defending state champs in the class and will be without Dorosh for upcoming games with Kennedy and Naugatuck. It appears he will return for the regular season finale on Thanksgiving Eve against Seymour.

    Dorosh played (and threw 5 touchdowns) in last Friday’s game with Watertown. Woodland Head Coach Chris Anderson says he was not aware of Dorosh’s arrest until sometime after the game.

    I’m certain Alex is remorseful about putting himself and his team in a negative situation. Unfortunately his second mistake; not coming clean with Coach Anderson right away, has only compounded his first mistake.