Aug 192014
Seymour defensive end Julian Falcioni works with assistant coach Jamie Burns at practice Tuesday. (Credit: Kyle Brennan)

Seymour defensive end Julian Falcioni works with assistant coach Jamie Burns at practice Tuesday. (Credit: Kyle Brennan)

Every high school football team in Connecticut has officially started practice by now, and the group that started last week can start scrimmaging this Saturday. Here are the scrimmages we know will be happening as of now. If you know about more, let us know in the comments.

Ansonia: at Notre Dame-West Haven (Aug. 26, 3:45 p.m.); at West Haven (Sept. 1, 10 a.m.); vs. Shelton (Sept. 4, 6 p.m.)

Crosby: at Seymour (Sept. 1, 9 a.m.); Waterbury Jamboree (Sept. 5, 6 p.m.); at Wolcott (Sept. 11, 6:30 p.m.)

Derby: at Fairfield Warde, Fairfield Prep, Norwalk (Aug. 26, 4 p.m.); at Morgan, Fitch, Weaver (Aug. 30, 11 a.m.); vs. Branford (Sept. 4, 7 p.m.)

Holy Cross: at Cheshire (Aug. 27, 4 p.m.)

Kennedy: at Coginchaug (Aug. 30, 10 a.m.); Waterbury Jamboree (Sept. 5, 6 p.m.)

Naugatuck: vs. Staples (Aug. 27, TBA); vs. Notre Dame-West Haven (Aug. 30, 10 a.m.); vs. Wilton (Sept. 3, 3:45 p.m.)

Oxford: at Woodland (Aug. 27, 3:30 p.m.); vs. Hillhouse, Cromwell, Fairfield Warde (Aug. 30, 10:30 a.m.); vs. Amity (Sept. 4, 6 p.m.)

Sacred Heart-Kaynor Tech: Waterbury Jamboree (Sept. 5, 6 p.m.)

Seymour: at Hamden, Hillhouse (Aug. 27, 3:30 p.m.); vs. Crosby (Sept. 1, 9 a.m.); vs. O’Brien Tech (Sept. 3, 7 a.m.)

St. Paul: at Plainville (Aug. 27, 4 p.m.); at Gilbert-Northwestern (Aug. 30, 10:30 a.m.); vs. Hartford Public (Sept. 4, 6 p.m.)

Torrington: at Simsbury, Gilbert-Northwestern, Tolland (Aug. 27, 3:30 p.m.); at Berlin (Sept. 5, 6 p.m.)

Watertown: at Wilcox Tech (Aug. 23, 10:30 a.m.); at Avon (Aug. 27, 5 p.m.); vs. Wilby (Aug. 30, 12 p.m.)

Wilby: at Cromwell (Aug. 27, 3:30 p.m.); at Watertown (Aug. 30, 12 p.m.); Waterbury Jamboree (Sept. 5, 6 p.m.)

Wolcott: vs. Weston (Sept. 4, 4 p.m.); vs. Crosby (Sept. 11, 6:30 p.m.)

Woodland: vs. Oxford (Aug. 27, 3:30 p.m.); at North Haven, Hamden (Aug. 30, 10 a.m.); at Bristol Eastern (Sept. 5, 3:30 p.m.)

Here’s a little roundup of what’s already happened and what’s to come:

  • Also at the Rep-Am, Kyle posted a 25-question series about the upcoming season. You can see the first five, the second five and the last 15 right here.
  • We will be posting a rapid-fire series of preseason capsules, along with links to preview stories, leading up to the season. (Those should be starting by the end of this week.) We’ll also be releasing the WATR broadcast schedule (Kyle, Steve and Bob are back again) and previewing the entire season with our picks, as usual.

If you’re dropping by any practices and/or scrimmages, we look forward to your thoughts.

Aug 132014
Derby quarterback Mike Kreiger sets to throw during the NVL passing league last month. (Credit: Kyle Brennan)

Derby quarterback Mike Kreiger sets to throw during the NVL passing league last month. (Credit: Kyle Brennan)

Howdy everyone!

Beginning today, the high school football season is now officially underway. Crosby, Holy Cross, Sacred Heart-Kaynor Tech, Torrington and Watertown are the five NVL teams that did not participate in spring football and get the head start. They will begin contact practice Aug. 19, while the other 10 NVL schools start conditioning Aug. 18 and start contact Aug. 23.

We’re still tying up some loose ends as to what we’ll be doing on this blog for this season, and we should have our decisions wrapped up by the end of this week. In the meantime, Kyle has some stuff up at the Rep-Am’s Red Zone to keep you busy.

- Report on NVL passing league

- Coaches say 2015 playoff changes will be good

- Flaws still remain with CIAC playoff points system

- Q&A with Wolcott principal and CIAC football committee member Joe Monroe

- Preseason Q&A series: Part 1

- Preseason Q&A series: Part 2

- Preseason Q&A series: Part 3

Jul 132014

A benefit dinner for Dennis Gleason, the former athletic director at Ansonia and Wolcott, is planned for July 21 to help Dennis and his family as they cope with his diagnosis of ALS (also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease). All the pertinent information is below. We wish the very best to the Gleason family.

gleason dinner

One other note: We’ll be on a short hiatus here on the NVL Football Blog as we decide the future of this website. Kyle started a full-time position with the Republican-American this month and Remmy is busy with a change in his schedule, as well. Don’t worry, there will still be a blog come the preseason — we just may be reconfiguring things a little bit. Hopefully we’ll have some more information in the coming weeks.


Jun 302014
Naugatuck's Veterans Field turf will be the home of the first NVL passing league. (Credit: Kyle Brennan)

Naugatuck’s Veterans Field turf will be the home of the first NVL passing league. (Credit: Kyle Brennan)

We’ve got the schedule for the first NVL passing league, which will be held throughout July at Naugatuck’s Veterans Field. Unfortunately only five teams signed on to play in the league, but it’s a start.

Tuesday, July 1
Naugatuck vs. Oxford (6 p.m., Field 1)
Watertown vs. Derby (6 p.m., Field 2)
Seymour vs. Naugatuck (7 p.m., Field 1)

Tuesday, July 8
Naugatuck vs. Watertown (6 p.m., Field 1)
Oxford vs. Derby (6 p.m., Field 2)
Seymour vs. Oxford (7 p.m., Field 1)

Tuesday, July 15
Naugatuck vs. Derby (6 p.m., Field 1)
Watertown vs. Oxford (6 p.m., Field 2)
Seymour vs. Watertown (7 p.m., Field 1)

Tuesday, July 22
Naugatuck vs. Oxford (6 p.m., Field 1)
Watertown vs. Derby (6 p.m., Field 2)
Seymour vs. Derby (7 p.m., Field 1)

Tuesday, July 29
Naugatuck vs. Watertown (6 p.m., Field 1)
Oxford vs. Derby (6 p.m., Field 2)
Seymour vs. Naugatuck (7 p.m., Field 1)

We’ll make it out to these games when we can, and you’re also invited. The original plan also called for playoffs and a separate tournament in August, so hopefully those come to fruition.

We also want to send our condolences to the family and friends of Joe Deptula. Joe was a good friend of this blog and father to Joey and Ben, and he passed away last Saturday after battling an illness. Joe played football at Derby High and coached around the NVL, including stops at Seymour and Torrington, and we very much enjoyed getting to know him in recent years.

Calling hours will be Wednesday, July 2, from 4-8 p.m. at the Adzima Funeral Home (253 Elizabeth St., Derby) and a funeral will be held Thursday, July 3, at 11 a.m. at St. Michael’s Church (25 Maple Ave., Beacon Falls). In Joe’s memory, memorial contributions may be made to the Joseph V. Deptula III Scholarship Fund to benefit a graduating senior from the Seymour football program.

Jun 182014
Tim Phipps. (Credit: Rachael Morin)

Tim Phipps. (Credit: Rachael Morin)

Longtime Woodland assistant coach Tim Phipps finally earned his first head coaching job this week when he was chosen as the Hawks’ new head man. He succeeds Tim Shea, who resigned last month to become the offensive line coach at Post University.

Phipps is a 39-year-old history teacher at Woodland and is the last remaining coach from Chris Anderson’s original staff in 2001. Phipps is a 1993 graduate of Ansonia High and spent two years as a volunteer coach under Jack Hunt before joining the Hawks as the quarterbacks coach from 2001-07. Phipps has been the offensive coordinator since 2008, and he said he will continue to call Woodland’s plays as head coach.

In January 2013, Phipps was the other finalist with Craig Bruno for Naugatuck’s job. Phipps has been interviewing for head jobs since 2009, and he said the times he struck out prepared him for the Woodland interview.

“I couldn’t take anything for granted,” Phipps said. “I started interviewing for head jobs in 2009, and the big thing is that you have to be as meticulous in your planning as you would be for any opponent. That helped me out, especially with the interview for this job.”

Phipps and Anderson were expected to be the top contenders for the Woodland job. A source said Anderson pulled out of the running earlier this month, leaving Phipps as the obvious choice. He has been part of every game in school history.

“On one hand, it’s a surreal moment for me,” Phipps said. “But on the other, I’m very happy. I can’t believe it’s happened to me, but I’ve recognized what’s going on. I know it’s very rare to be able to teach and coach in the same school. I’ve been here since 2001, and this is home to me. I’m living a dream right now, but I’m wide awake to the responsibilities that I’m going to have.”

Phipps’ assistant position will be posted by the school in the upcoming days. He said Chris Moffo will remain as the defensive coordinator and Cody Kingsley will still be the special teams coordinator.

Woodland held its spring game last Friday. Phipps presided over the spring practice session and said there is a quarterback competition between Pat Hale and Mike Kenney, while running back Sean McAllen is set for his junior season. Coby Vaccarelli is rehabbing from his second ACL surgery, and wide receivers Joe Poeta and Dylan Abarzua will return for their senior seasons. In addition, the team will bring back four starting linemen.

“I’m thrilled to death with our offensive line,” Phipps said. “I think it’s rare when you find a group of kids who love being linemen, and that’s what we have right now. Jake Laliberte and Max McSperrin have started for three years, and Alex Varhol and Will Flormann are two-year starters.”

More thoughts from Phipps from the Rep-Am, GameTime CT and WRHS Media.

thomas-jefferson-spartans-cSacred Heart, Kaynor Tech to Co-op: There was good news out of Waterbury last month when Sacred Heart and Kaynor Tech officially teamed up for a football co-op starting in the 2014 season. If not for the co-op, it appeared unlikely that the Hearts would have been able to field a team.

Sacred Heart went 0-11 last year with a roster that hovered around 20 players for much of the season. Head coach Cortez Johnson, who is entering his third season with the Hearts, invited any students at Sacred Heart or Kaynor Tech to email him at if they are interested in joining the team. The team’s fall practices will begin Aug. 14.

Schedules Officially Released: We posted a few months ago the skeleton schedules for the 2014 season, but the CIAC released the official schedules — complete with dates and times — earlier this month. We’ll get our blog updated all over the place soon, but here are the links to each team’s schedule. It will be another 11-game regular season for most squads.

Ansonia | Crosby | Derby | Holy Cross | Kennedy | Naugatuck | Oxford | Sacred Heart/Kaynor Tech | Seymour | St. Paul | Torrington | Watertown | Wilby | Wolcott | Woodland

Remember, the NVL will split into three divisions with no league championship game next season. It’s still not completely clear how the league will crown a champion in 2014 — we’ll get on that soon. Here’s the divisional layout.

Brass Division: Crosby, Holy Cross, Kennedy, Sacred Heart/Kaynor Tech, Wilby
Copper Division: Ansonia, Derby, Oxford, Seymour, St. Paul
Iron Division: Naugatuck, Torrington, Watertown, Wolcott, Woodland

Fall Practice Start Dates: We totally missed the spring football season that we usually cover — sorry about that. If it makes you feel any better, here’s a list of when each school can start practice at the end of the summer.

Aug. 14: Crosby, Holy Cross, Sacred Heart-Kaynor Tech, Torrington, Watertown
Aug. 19: Ansonia, Derby, Kennedy, Naugatuck, Oxford, Seymour, St. Paul, Wilby, Wolcott, Woodland

NVL Summer Passing League: We just heard from Naugatuck coach Craig Bruno and the NVL summer passing league will indeed start its first season in July. He’s working on the schedule now and will send it along to us when it’s complete. Games will be Tuesday nights at Naugatuck High throughout the summer, and you’re more than welcome to come watch.

17 NVLers in All-Star Game: Seventeen players from the area were selected to play in the 2014 CHSCA Super-100 Senior All-Star Game this summer. The game will be Saturday, June 28, at 4:30 p.m. at Rentschler Field. Team Nutmeg will be led by Sheehan’s John Ferrazzi and Team Constitution will be led by Xavier’s Sean Marinan. The 17 NVL players selected is up from 10 last year.

Six NVL players were selected among the top 30 in the draft. They included Ansonia’s Antone Mack (sixth), Naugatuck’s Ryne Griesenauer (11th), Woodland’s Levi Fancher (13th), St. Paul’s Logan Marchi (17th), Woodland’s Alik Bures (19th) and Crosby’s Myles Goulbourne (30th). The NVL players on each roster are below; you can see the full rosters here.

Team Nutmeg: Alik Bures (OL, Woodland), Levi Fancher (LB, Woodland), Richard Gatling (OL, Crosby), Ryne Griesenauer (WR, Naugatuck), Chris Herrera (LB, Crosby), Desmond Langs (WR, Torrington), Reid Morin (WR, St. Paul), Adam Santopietro (WR, Wolcott), Zach Sirowich (DL, Seymour), Chris Slavin (LB, Woodland), Curtis Wickline (OL, Holy Cross)

Team Constitution: Bryan Ballenilla (DL, Wilby), Myles Goulbourne (WR, Crosby), Antone Mack (OL, Ansonia), Jacob Thomas (DB, Wilby), Trai Weaver (WR, Holy Cross), Parris Wolfe (WR, Sacred Heart)