Dobbs, Tsopanides Accept D-1 Offers

Ansonia's Montrell Dobbs and Torrington's Dean Tsopanides both accepted offers to Division I colleges this week after originally committing to Milford Academy for a year of prep football.

After the Register's Mike Pucci first reported on Thursday that Dobbs had committed to play at UConn, the Post's Sean Patrick Bowley confirmed it in an interview with Dobbs later on Thursday.

According to Bowley's story, UConn coach Paul Pasqualoni offered Dobbs a scholarship, and Dobbs responded in the affirmative on Thursday afternoon.

Dobbs must still attend Milford Academy in the fall after committing there, but he will sign his letter of intent to play at UConn in February and enroll at the school in January so he can participate in next year's spring practice, according to the report.

Tsopanides had been rumored to be headed to Iowa recently, and that turns out to be the truth. Dan Podheiser at the Register Citizen published a story on Thursday as well chronicling Tsopanides' last month, including his workout in Milford that caught the eye of Iowa offensive coordinator Ken O'Keefe.

Iowa flew Tsopanides to Iowa City on Tuesday and he accepted a full scholarship offer on Wednesday, according to the story. He will not attend Milford Academy and instead will head to Iowa at the beginning of August.

Congratulations to Dobbs and Tsopanides on the scholarships and best of luck this fall and in the future.

Credit: Josalee Thrift/Rep-Am
On a related note, the Rep-Am reported on its Red Zone blog that former Holy Cross standout Dan Mulrooney will be playing for the Stony Brook Seawolves this season after being granted an extension on his eligibility following two season-ending injuries at Boston College.

Mulrooney was a three-year starter for the Crusaders and led Holy Cross to the 2006 Class SS state championship, rushing for 1,913 yards and 38 touchdowns.

Mulrooney has two years of eligibility while studying as a graduate student and is expected to start at safety in the season opener on Sept. 3 at UTEP, according to the report.

The Rep-Am's Mark Jaffee rounded up the commitments of Dobbs, Tsopanides, and Mulrooney on Friday morning.

Governor's Cup Set for Saturday

Connecticut won last year's Governor's Cup, 29-7, at Rentschler Field.
Five NVL players will play in this year's game Saturday at Southington.
Credit: Brooke LaValley/Hartford Courant
Several NVL players will suit up for the Connecticut all-stars when they face Rhode Island in the 13th annual Governor's Cup at Southington High on Saturday at 4:30 p.m.

Crosby's Dayquon Byrd, Woodland's Jack DeBiase, Ansonia's Montrell Dobbs, St. Paul's Ryan Peloquin, and Torrington's Dean Tsopanides are the five local players who will be on the team, coached by Masuk's John Murphy. Former Crosby coach Jason Martinez is also on the staff.

Other notable players on the Connecticut squad include St. Joseph's Joe DellaVecchia and Tyler Matakevich, Berlin's Max DeLorenzo, Southington's Tyler Dube, Shelton's Mike Georgalas, Pomperaug's Kevin and Willie Maxen, and Wilbur Cross' James Ward.

Tickets will be available at the gate for $8. Connecticut leads the series, 9-3, and has won eight straight, including a 29-7 win last year.

The local newspapers did some nice stories previewing this game, including Mark Jaffee at the Rep-Am, Mike Cardillo at the Post, and Mike Pucci at the Register.

The Hall of Fame Classic between the New Haven County and Fairfield County all-stars will be July 8 at Ken Strong Stadium in West Haven. Dobbs and Georgalas will also play for New Haven in that game and will be joined by Derby's Zach Salazar, Wilby's Rob Williams, Naugatuck's Reuben Berger, Sacred Heart's Rohan Ifill, Oxford's Nick Donofrio, and Shelton's Cody Kitson. We'll preview that game as it gets closer.

Congratulations to Class of 2011

On behalf of our readers and bloggers, Remmy and I would like to extend our congratulations to the Class of 2011. Some have graduated already, and more will be graduating over the next few days, so we wanted to take this chance to recognize all high school seniors--especially those who we saw on the gridiron.

From Ansonia's Montrell Dobbs to Woodland's Jack DeBiase, and Naugatuck's Aaron Echevarria to Torrington's Dean Tsopanides, and Sacred Heart's Rohan Ifill to Wolcott's Dom Gambino, and Watertown's Matt Quatrano to Holy Cross' Brandon DiClementi, and the dozens and dozens of other graduates, it was a pleasure watching all of you play, some of you for four years.

Best of luck to the entire Class of 2011, and we'll try to keep track of those going on to play sports in college.

Former Ansonia Captain Dies in Motor Vehicle Accident

Darnell Cooks makes a tackle in Ansonia's
2002 Class S semifinal win over Immaculate.
Cooks, 25, died in a car accident this month.
Darnell Cooks, 25, was a 2005 graduate of Ansonia High and a former captain on the Chargers' 2004 football team. He was a three-year starter on offense and defense and won two league and state titles with Ansonia in 2002 and 2003.

Cooks is the third Ansonia football player from the 2002-2004 teams that has passed.

I did not get a chance to see Cooks play, but those that have talked to me about him have said he was an awesome athlete and played in the backfield with Kenny Tinney and Ryan Thomas.

Coach Brockett described Cooks as a great natural runner with great cutting ability.

Brockett briefly described those Ansonia teams by saying, "Those kids were great players but even more than that, they were so close. Those kids were like brothers."

More information can be found on the Valley Indy.

Rest in peace.

2011 State Playoff Classes

The CIAC released the composite class schedules earlier this month, so we can figure out who's in whose class. The following are partial lists of NVL and other notable teams in each class. Click on the links to check out the full class schedule for 2011.

Class LL (36 teams)
NVL team: Crosby
2010 playoff teams: Xavier (champion), Norwich Free Academy, Trumbull, Glastonbury, Staples, Conard, Hall, West Haven
Other notable teams: Bridgeport Central, Bristol Central, Bristol Eastern, Cheshire, Fairfield Prep, Greenwich, Hall, Hamden, Hartford Public, New Britain, Newtown, Pomperaug, Ridgefield, Shelton, Southington

Class L (36 teams)
NVL teams: Kennedy, Naugatuck, Torrington, Wilby
2010 playoff teams: Masuk (champion), Daniel Hand, Naugatuck, Wethersfield, Darien, New Canaan, North Haven, Bristol Eastern*
Other notable teams: Avon, Bunnell, East Lyme, Fitch, Maloney, Masuk, Middletown, New London, North Haven, Notre Dame-West Haven, Platt

Class M (37 teams)
NVL teams: Ansonia, Watertown, Wolcott
2010 playoff teams: Berlin, New London*, Brookfield, Gilbert/NW Regional, Plainville*, Lyman Hall, Platt*, Hillhouse (champion)
Other notable teams: Bacon Academy, Enfield, Ledyard, Lewis Mills, Montville, Nonnewaug, Stonington, Stratford, Waterford

Class S (36 teams)
NVL teams: Derby, Holy Cross, Sacred Heart, Seymour, St. Paul, Woodland
2010 playoff teams: Valley Regional/Old Lyme, Montville*, Ansonia*, St. Joseph (champion), Woodland, Hyde Leadership, Cromwell, Sacred Heart
Other notable teams: Bloomfield, Coginchaug, East Catholic, Housatonic/Wamogo, North Branford, Northwest Catholic, O'Brien Tech, Oxford, Plainfield, Plainville

Note that some of last year's playoff teams changed classes (denoted by *).

So, which class will be easiest to win, and which will be the toughest? It looks like, as you might expect, Class M and S are a little more open than Class LL and L.

Spring Game Reports

Torrington played its spring game without the top returning
running back in the state, Brenden Lytton.
If you attended any spring games over the weekend or will be catching any this week, feel free to post a report of what you saw and what you think of the teams based on their performances.

I won't be able to attend any of the games myself due to my work in Newport, but Remmy should be getting out to a few this week and will have some reports of what he sees.

Of course, there is a lot that may change from the teams taking the field in June to the teams that will play when it counts this fall. But it's always good to get a preliminary look to see each team's strengths and weaknesses.

2011 Team Preview: Kennedy Eagles


About the Team

Class/Division: L / NVL Copper
Head coach: Chris Sarlo (7th year, 16-46)
2010 record: 2-8 (1-5 Copper)
Playoff result: N/A
Returning starters: 7
Players to watch: Cesar Nunez, Sr., RB/DB; Cody Colon, Sr., OL/DL; Marco Mejil, Sr., End/LB; James Jonelis, Sr., QB/DB; Jessie Alvarado, Sr., OL/DL; John Joy, Sr., OL/DL; Jordan Perna, Jr., OL/DL; Davon Humbles, Jr., RB/DB; Jose Guerrero, Jr., RB/DB.

Coach’s Corner

NVL Football: What makes this year’s team different than last year’s?

Coach Sarlo: “We graduated a ton of seniors last year most of whom started two ways. This year's team is young and inexperienced, but very eager to step up to the varsity level.”

The Eagles will succeed if…: they believe in, follow through with and carry out the Foundation of Kennedy Football; TEAM, COMMITMENT and HARD WORK, each day of the offseason conditioning, preseason preparation, regular season practices and on game day.”

NVL Football: What is the biggest asset you have on the team?

Coach Sarlo: The biggest asset for the 2011 varsity football team would be that we do not have any superstars. Each player knows that they must earn their 'wings' by taking advantage of opportunities that will be available next year. And they must prove that to the coaching staff every day both in and out of the classroom.

Wilby Names Coordinators

Patrick Russo will bring at least one of his former Wolcott staff
members to Wilby. Credit: Josalee Thrift/Republican-American
Within a week of Patrick Russo's hiring as the next head coach at Wilby, his offensive and defensive coordinators are already in place.

Russo named former Wolcott assistant coach Jim Caouette as the defensive coordinator and former Morgan head coach Tom Maffuid as the offensive coordinator, according to Wilby's new Twitter account, @WilbyFootball.

Russo, who was 27-14 in four seasons as the head coach at Wolcott, is also building a website for his new team and scheduled his first meeting with players for this week. Looks like he isn't wasting any time in getting the ball rolling.

Before Russo was hired, Wilby elected to add four days to the start of fall practice instead of utilizing two weeks of spring football. The Wildcats will begin their season at Lyman Hall for an out-of-league game on Sept. 16 before hosting Kennedy on Sept. 23 to start NVL play.

2011 Team Preview: Seymour Wildcats


About the Team

Class/Division: S / NVL Brass
Head coach: Thomas Lennon (3rd year, 1-19)
2010 record: 0-10 (0-6 Brass)
Playoff result: N/A
Returning starters: 9
Players to watch: Luke Grabowski, Sr., QB/DB; Dylan Sadick, Sr., OL/LB; Josh Tilton, Sr., OL/LB; Jon Wilson, Sr., RB/OLB; Mike Conlan, Jr., WR/OLB; Zach Sirowich, So., OL/DL.

Coach’s Corner

NVL Football: What makes this year’s team different than last year’s?

Coach Lennon: “This year’s group is hungrier. Our senior leadership can be a huge asset for us.”

The Wildcats will succeed if…: we believe in ourselves. In too many games last year we beat ourselves with mental mistakes. If we can play to the level I know we’re capable of, we can have some success. Also, we need some of our younger Wildcats to step up and fill larger roles on this year’s team. We have some talented younger athletes and we need them to be ready now.”

NVL Football: What is the biggest asset you have on the team?

Coach Lennon: “Our biggest asset is our Offensive Line and our QB. We’re returning five linemen that started multiple games for us, and they’ve really taken it upon themselves to make sure that we are ready for next year. Two of our three captains, Dylan Sadick and Josh Tilton, are both two-year returning starters at the OL. Our third captain Luke Grabowski, our QB, has the potential to be a special player. But as always, potential can be a dangerous thing.”