Has it seemed a little quiet around here for the beginning of August? It’s true, we haven’t had anything to even hint at a season preview yet (don’t worry, it’s coming). But we haven’t just been lounging around in the sand while the days pass by — at least I haven’t (I guess I can’t speak for Remmy). I’ve been tying together one of the most comprehensive and badly needed projects I’ve ever done around these parts.
Allow me to introduce you to the brand-new Naugatuck Valley League history and records portion of our website.
Hang on one moment before you start getting click-happy (if you’re like I was during many parts of this project, you’ll get immersed pretty easily) so I can provide a brief overview of the who, what, when, why and how.
I came up with the idea for an NVL record book during last season when offensive numbers routinely approached state record leaderboards. Thanks in large part to the great former New Haven Register sportswriter Bob Barton’s state record book series (credit to Gerry deSimas Jr., and numerous others involved in its production, too; I consulted each of the editions, which are available from 2004), I was able to lay a pretty decent foundation by picking out performances by players, coaches and teams from the NVL’s 14 schools.
That didn’t go the whole way, though. Plenty of feats, both new and old, weren’t included in the state record book for whatever reason (much of it falls on former coaches’ shoulders) so I had to try my best to fill in the gaps. Though some teams (Ansonia, Seymour and Woodland, in particular) made tracking their recent records much easier by entering stats since 2004 on their MaxPreps pages, many teams only partially fill out their stats or don’t do it at all. That’s when poring through the web archives of the Waterbury Republican-American came in handy. For several schools, including Sacred Heart, Torrington, Naugatuck and Holy Cross, I found box scores from important games as far back as 2006 to help round out stats.
As these projects usually make me do, I found myself getting so involved in digging into archives that I expanded my scope from its original aim of single-game, single-season and career records and made it a whole lot bigger (and better, if I dare say so). Not only did I start digging into databases from the CIAC, CHSCA and New Haven Football Foundation, but I started to unearth old newspapers. I took my research back more than a century, using a lot of my web tools to read newspapers from the turn of the 20th century in the Hartford Courant, Bridgeport Telegram, Meriden Morning Record, Naugatuck Daily News and Waterbury Republican-American. What resulted were a few more records, a comprehensive league timeline, a much better championship rundown and plenty more. Here’s a list of the eight pages I’ve produced so far (it will hopefully grow in the future, because this is an ever-evolving project):
- NVL Historical Timeline
- Career Records
- Single-Season Records
- Single-Game Records
- Postseason Records
- Thanksgiving Rivalries
Not everything in these records is complete. There are a few championships missing, some games from Thanksgiving rivalries absent and only a couple of entries under a few record categories. If, as you’re browsing, you think you have some information that we can use to make these records more accurate, send us a message and we’ll get to work.
You may see some records marked by asterisks. There’s no need for alarm; they’re just to denote records that were achieved all or partly while teams were not part of the NVL (for everyone, prior to 1931; for Derby and St. Paul, prior to 2009; for Seymour, prior to 1994; for Ansonia, from 1967-75; for Naugatuck, from 1960-66). Any feats that are also state records are marked by pound signs.
You’re going to learn some stuff you didn’t know, especially in the timeline — I sure as heck did — and hopefully you all enjoy it as much as I did putting it all together. (Big plus: As a few of our rising seniors gun for records this fall, now we’ll know exactly where they stand.)
Oh, by the way: One of the truly great parts of this project was stumbling upon items in newspaper archives for which I otherwise never would have even thought to search. Our longtime blog readers (and commenters) should enjoy this gem pulled from a 1971 issue of the Naugatuck Daily News. I present to you the 1971 All-NVL team and photo, which includes the man we believe to be the polarizing Wags.
We’ll let you hop to it in just a moment — feel free to click through the links in this post or use the drop-down menu in the navigation bar at the top of this page. But here’s one more set of quick updates on current events before we start getting into season previews, which will last the rest of this month and into September:
- We know (think?) St. Paul’s offense is going to be the real deal this fall, and the Falcons are off to a good start with their recent performance at the Under Armour Northeast 7-on-7 competitions. St. Paul won the South Regional on July 21, apparently becoming the first Connecticut team to do so, and eventually finished as the tournament’s runner-up. When you check out the new NVL records, you’ll see that Logan Marchi is already very close to holding all the major passing marks. Barring something crazy — or another insane year by Tanner Kingsley — he’ll have them by the time he heads to Storrs.
- The Ansonia Gridiron Club is seeking advertisers for its program booklet, which will be sold at all home games this season. Check out this post for more information.
- We are actively seeking new sponsors and advertisers for another year of operation here on the NVL Football Blog. If you and/or your business might be interested in coming on board, send us a message and we’ll be happy to share some information to get the ball rolling.
- For the schools that did not conduct spring football practice (Crosby, Derby, Holy Cross, Sacred Heart, Seymour, Torrington and Watertown), conditioning begins Aug. 14 and contact practices begin Aug. 20. For the schools that used spring football (Ansonia, Kennedy, Naugatuck, St. Paul, Wilby, Wolcott and Woodland), those respective dates are Aug. 19 and Aug. 24.
- We’ll be updating all the schedule links and areas of the blog very soon. We’ll also be posting scrimmage schedules for all teams who have made them available. The first scrimmages are a little more than two weeks away.
- For those of you who can’t wait for preseason previews, our pal Ned Griffen posted the first such look not long ago on his Lonesome Polecat blog. We encourage you to take a read.
- The Naugatuck turf project is just about finished and it looks like all systems will be go for the Sept. 20 game against Wolcott. Here’s a photo of what the field looked like last week, sent to us on Twitter by former Greyhounds receiver Mike D’Agnone.