Archive for September, 2009

Chief Concerns
September 25, 2009

Nonnewaug Moves Down To Junior Varsity

Following a 53-7 Week 1 loss to North Branford,  Nonnewaug of Woodbury made the decision to eliminate Varsity football this season and compete as a Junior Varsity team instead. Nonnewaug Athletics Director Dan Scavone wrote in a letter to parents,  “At some point, common sense and logic must prevail. Realistically, we are not prepared physically to compete against varsity competition at this time.”  The players were notified of the decision after Monday’s practice.

It’s the absolutely  right move by Scavone though it does no favors to what were to be Nonnewaug’s opponents this season including Class S defending champ Cromwell – who was to host the Chiefs on Friday night.  The remaining teams on the schedule will be awarded forfeits but that won’t be as valuable in the playoff points race as an outright win would have been.

This was to be the third year of varsity competition for the Nonnewaug program – all be it with a third different head coach after seasoned coaching vagabond Rico Brogna  opted out after just one season a year ago.

Capital Losses

At many inner-city schools  it’s becoming increasingly difficult to maintain winning high school football programs. Hartford may be headed in that direction. The city’s 3 main schools – Bulkeley, Weaver and Hartford Public combined to lose their Week 1 games by a collective score of 94-0.  Bulkeley and Weaver are programs with first year coaches leading the way.

Things weren’t much better in Waterbury in Week 1 where Wilby, Crosby and Kennedy lost by a combined score of  105-6.  It’s not just football either where city schools can struggle to compete

It’s disheartening to see this. Connecticut high school football is always better off when the city schools are competitive.

East Haven Suspensions

After serious outcry from parents, East Haven high school revised its’ alcohol suspension policy this week.

Originally 4 football players and 2 cheerleaders were suspended for the rest of the season after being found in possession of alcohol. The suspensions have since been reduced to 2 games – more in line with the penalties at other high schools for a first such offense.

Where do you stand on the issue? Emails to

It’s not much better on the field for the Yellowjackets who are trying to snap a 21 game losing streak.

Courageous Recovery

Join us tonight at 11:15pm for Friday Night Football and the story of 15 year old Windham High School sophomore quarterback/linebacker Alex Partosan.  Alex is 4 years removed for an incident in which he suffered third degrees burn and had to spend 2 and a half weeks in a coma before recovering enough to resume his life with a body saved by 12 surgeries.

Quick Hits

* I get the terrible feeling that at least one Connecticut high school football team will have to cancel a game or games this season because of swine flu concerns.

* Why stop at the 2 yard line when a touchdown is a sure thing?

* Sacred Heart freshman wide receiver Dave Coggins burst onto the scene last night with 333 yards receiving and 5 touchdowns in a loss to Derby.  If that’s what he does in his freshman debut what does he have planned going forward? Wow! The 333 yards receiving is the 3rd best single game total in state history.

3 Games We’ll Be Watching

Southington at Glastonbury 7pm Friday

It looked like the defending Class LL champion Glastonbury Tomahawks might have been wiped out by graduation. Not so fast! Tonight we’ll know for sure as they welcome Southington and Quarterback Connor Butkiewicz to town.  Butkiewicz (pronounced buck-a-witz) threw a school record 7 touchdown passes in a Week 1 win over Hall.

Northwest Catholic at Berlin 7pm Friday

Sage Park will be one of the hot spots this Friday night. Berlin hosts Northwest Catholic in a matchup of recent playoff teams. Former Nutmeg Conference rivals, these two now meet as new members of the Central Connecticut Conference.

Norwich Free Academy at Montville 6:30pm

It always seems to be a little tougher to gain statewide notoriety when your play in Eastern Connecticut.  Watch out for Montville though. Coach Tanner Grove and the Indians have the talent to finish the season in the Top 10 in the state. Their running back duo of Tyler Girard-Floyd and Skyler McNair may be unmatched in Connecticut this season.

Game Time and FNF Overtime

Be sure to check out all the additional high school football programming we’ve added this season. Thursday nights at 7pm on the Connecticut Sports Network (Comcast 185 or 187 and Cox 144) Joe Zone and myself preview the week’s game with statewide coaches and media members on Game Time.

Then Friday’s at 11:35 (following FNF on Channel 3) join us for more high school football coverage on FNF OvertimeFNF Overtime can be seen streaming online at WFSB.COM and on our cable channel, Eyewitness News Now. Click here for a channel listing of Eyewitness News Now in your area. In many cases the show can be found on Comcast channel 247 and Cox channel 801.

Completely Unrelated Thought of The Week

Do you still read books or do you Kindle? My wife Kindles and I don’t see the pleasure in that.  How exactly does one cuddle up with a good Kindle? How do you get an author to autograph your Kindle?

See You Tonight at 11:15pm for Friday Night Football!



Better Late Than Ever
September 18, 2009

Later than almost anybody in the country, the State of Connecticut plays its’ first Friday night of high school football this week.  It may have been a long wait, but FNF on Channel 3 promises to be better late than ever.  We’ve enhanced our high school football coverage with Friday Night Facebook, the new Game Time show on the Connecticut Sports Network and FNF Overtime which will keep us on the air until close to 11:45pm on Friday nights.

Become a Facebook fan of Channel 3’s Friday Night Football show.  Each week on the show we’ll highlight the Friday Night Facebook comments of the week.  Tell us something interesting that went on at the the game you attended that night, the game you’re looking forward to the next day or perhaps offer a suggestion on how Joe Zone and I can improve our wardrobes!

Every Thursday night at 7pm on the Connecticut Sports Network, Joe and I will preview the week’s games with in studio guests including coaches and statewide media members.  The 30 minute CTSN show is called Game Time.  CTSN can be seen on Comcast channel’s 185 or 187, or Cox Communications channel 144.  To learn more about the network, visit CTSN.TV

FNF Overtime will follow our 11:15pm to 11:30pm Friday Night Football show each week. Once we’re done on Channel 3 at 11:30pm, and if you’re still craving more high school football coverage (and we know you are), flip over to our digital channel Eyewitness News Now to watch FNF overtime or view it streaming at WFSB.COM

On most Comcast systems Eyewitness News Now is on channel 247 and most Cox systems have it at  801.  Click here for a complete listing

Holiday Considerations

With the Jewish Holiday of Rosh Hashanah beginning Friday at sundown, many schools have opted to avoid Friday games in Week 1.  62 teams played on Thursday night with 48 more set to go tonight.

Connecticut towns do a respectful job scheduling around the religious holiday.  Such was not the case for a Friday high school track meet outside Boston.

Let’s Go Polling

2 statewide media polls produced their preseason editions this week while I’m told by Ned Griffen that The Day of New London’s State Coaches poll will wait a couple of weeks into the season before its’ first edition.

I vote in both the New Haven Register media poll.

and the new Connecticut Sportswriters Alliance Poll.

3 time defending Class MM State champion New Canaan was #1 in both polls.

Here was the Top 15 I submitted:

1) Hamden

2) New Canaan

3) Masuk

4) Daniel Hand

5) Shelton

6) New London

7) New Britain

8) Montville

9) Greenwich

10) Berlin

11) Cromwell

12) Windsor

13) Seymour

14) Ansonia

15) Crosby

New Quarterback at New Canaan

As Coach Lou Marinelli and his New Canaan Rams eye a 4th straight state championship this December New Canaan has added a new quarterback to the mix at the last minute.  Just last Friday Turner Baty (the son of former NFL tight end Grey Baty) enrolled in school in New Canaan after transferring from California.  Willie Ouelette was and apparently still is the starting QB for the Rams but that could be subject to change.  Very interesting…..

3 Games We’ll Be Watching

Ansonia vs. Hillhouse – 7pm Friday (Veterans Stadium West Haven)

A juicy out of conference matchup to open the season.  Both were playoff teams a year ago and one will have a chance to make a strong statement about 2009 with a win.  The neutral site game was originally set for Jess Dow Field at Southern Connecticut State but will now be played at Veterans Stadium in West Haven instead.

St. Jospeh-Trumbull at Crosby – 7pm Friday

Another unusual out of conference pairing.  Crosby flirted with a playoff berth last season and while they graduated standout QB David Gondek (now at Southern Connecticut State)  they may be poised for a run at an NVL title.

Tolland at Rocky Hill – 7pm Friday

These schools come over to join the newly expanded 32-team, jumbo Central Connecticut Conference.  A year ago Tolland was in the Pequot and Rocky Hill was a member of the now defunct Nutmeg League.  Both teams are well coached and this could be the start of a nice rivalry.

Holy Hamden!

I had a chance to see Hamden (my preseason #1) in person last night as they played the second half in Madison vs. Daniel Hand.  Wow!  Good size and a lot of offensive weapons (QB Jason Lassister, Running Backs Jordan Teague and Jahmaal Harris & 2-way standout Franke Greene).  Oh yeah, then there’s the defense that went on the road and shut out a well coached Hand team.  A home game with Shelton in 3 weeks will be highly anticipated.

Running Up The Score

Former New London Coach Jack Cochran may be in the stands at Masuk this season watching his son Casey rather than coaching, but the issue of score management rages on in high school football.  In the case in the state of Florida (link =

Completely Unrelated Thought of The Week

Is there a word in the English language whose pronunciation is so different depending on where you live and who you are than the word Jaguar?  If you’re from the South it’s apparently jag-wire, if you’re pretentious (or British) it’s jag-yoo-ahr and if you’re one of the rest of us it’s simply jag-wahr.

See You Tonight at 11:15pm for Friday Night Football & FNF Overtime! – John