Spring Games Schedule; Ansonia Freshman Football in Trouble

We've been pretty lazy lately, so we apologize. Here's the list of what we've got for spring games right now. We'll add to the list as we get more information (Crosby, Kennedy, and Wilby will also have spring games). Feel free to post your recaps of what you see at these games here.

Naugatuck: Friday, June 1, 5 p.m.
Holy Cross: Thursday, June 7, 6 p.m.
Torrington: Friday, June 8, 5:30 p.m.
Woodland: Saturday, June 16, 10 a.m.

In the big news of the last few weeks, it looks like Ansonia freshman sports are about to be removed from the school's budget for the upcoming year. The school district lost between $1.3 and $2.2 million in state funding (depending on how one counts it) due to improving its test scores, and the town couldn't help make up the whole gap.

Freshman and middle school sports are among the most notable cuts, which also include two dozen layoffs, and some varsity sports (golf, tennis, track, dance, and winter cheerleading).

According to Mark Jaffee's report in the Republican-American, Ansonia athletic director Tony Piccolo said he needed to cut about $100,000 from his budget, which is by far the most the athletic department has ever needed to cut.
John Sponheimer (NHFF)

Jaffee also spoke with Ansonia coach Tom Brockett, who said the program averages about 25 incoming freshmen each year and "losing anything would be detrimental." John Sponheimer has been the longtime freshman coach at Ansonia, and it's currently unknown how the program would handle losing funding for freshman football. The varsity program is currently not in danger of being cut.

Our friends at the Valley Indy have this story covered very well, so refer to this piece for more in-depth info, as well as the release from the school district. According to a number of publications, the Board of Education is expected to pass the cuts at its meeting on June 6.

And just to make it even more fun in the heart of the Valley, the Ansonia-Derby merger talk seems to be heating up again. For those of you wondering, an Ansonia-Derby regional high school would put the football team in Class L (using figures from the 2011 season, the combined enrollment was 619, which was almost exactly in the middle of the Class L classification of 526-710). The debate on colors, mascots, home fields, and Thanksgiving opponents in the case of this ever happening (which seems more likely than not) would be endless and potentially violent.

But back to present matters: How much would the loss of Ansonia freshman football hurt the varsity program?

Chris Ortiz out at Sacred Heart

Chris Ortiz. Credit: Chris Massa/Rep-Am
Chris Ortiz is no longer the head football coach at Sacred Heart High School after resigning last Tuesday due to personal reasons.

Ortiz, a 1997 graduate of Southern Connecticut State University, led the Hearts to their best two-year span in two decades. In 2010, he coached a high-powered offense to a 6-4 regular-season record and a berth in the Class S state playoffs for the first time since 1991. Last season, the Hearts finished with a 4-5 mark after the preseason injury to All-American wide receiver David Coggins.

Under his tutelage, quarterback Rohan Ifill developed into one of 2010's top dual-threat quarterbacks, earning All-NVL and New Haven Register All-State Honorable Mention, while Coggins became one of the top young wide receivers in the country.

Ortiz leaves Sacred Heart with a 10-10 career record, far better than Pete Ewald's 4-27 record amassed from 2007-09.

The job vacancy was posted on the CIAC website Monday with an application deadline of May 24, and Sacred Heart athletic director Jon Carroll said in the Rep-Am story he expects to have a replacement hired by the end of June. The Hearts do not conduct spring football practice.

Ortiz will still coach tennis and teach Spanish at Sacred Heart.

Let your Steve Croce rumor mill kick up one more time, like it always does when there's an opening at a local high school. Maybe he'll throw us a bone (we know you're reading, Coach) and add a comment.

NVL Schedules Released (Mostly), Plus Spring Football

We haven't had a post in quite a while, mostly because there's been absolutely nothing going on. Now there's something going on, because we finally have the 2012 NVL football schedule ... well, most of it.

The skeleton schedules for each of the 14 teams in the league are now up on the CIAC website (although they're only accessible for now if you know how to manually input the address, which I'm pretty good at). Each team's schedule is linked at the bottom of this post.

Most of the schedules only include the nine-game NVL schedule (six divisional games, three crossovers based on power schedule) with home and away designations. Some of the dates are sure to change (for example, St. Paul plays its home games on Saturday afternoons instead of the Friday nights listed, and Municipal Stadium's schedule will take some jockeying). The teams will also add their nonconference opponents in the near future.

If you want to take a look at the full league composite schedule, click here. Otherwise, here are some weekly highlights from the slate (that we know so far):

Week 1: Woodland at Sacred Heart, Wilby at Naugatuck, Montville at Watertown, Whitney Tech at Seymour, Derby at St. Paul
Week 2: Woodland at Ansonia, Naugatuck at Derby, Torrington at Wolcott, Holy Cross at Watertown
Week 3: Derby at Ansonia, Holy Cross at Torrington
Week 4: Ansonia at Holy Cross, Naugatuck at Sacred Heart, Torrington at St. Paul
Week 5: Seymour at Ansonia, Naugatuck at Torrington, St. Paul at Woodland, Wilby at Wolcott
Week 6: Holy Cross at Naugatuck, Woodland at Torrington, Derby at Wolcott
Week 7: Woodland at Naugatuck, Torrington at Derby, Sacred Heart at Holy Cross
Week 8: Holy Cross at Woodland, Wolcott at Ansonia, Derby at Seymour
Week 9: Woodland at Wolcott, Ansonia at Wilby, Torrington at Sacred Heart
Thanksgiving: Naugatuck at Ansonia, Derby at Shelton, Wolcott at Holy Cross, Seymour at Woodland, Watertown at Torrington, Kennedy at Crosby, Wilby at Sacred Heart

Here are each team's full schedule, as currently listed on the CIAC website:

Ansonia Chargers, Crosby Bulldogs, Derby Red Raiders, Holy Cross Crusaders, Kennedy Eagles, Naugatuck Greyhounds, Sacred Heart Hearts, Seymour Wildcats, St. Paul Falcons, Torrington Red Raiders, Watertown Indians, Wilby Wildcats, Wolcott Eagles, Woodland Hawks

And by the way, the CIAC finally released the spring football elections. Here's what each of our schools decided upon:

Spring: Ansonia, Crosby, Holy Cross, Kennedy, Naugatuck, St. Paul, Torrington, Wilby, Woodland
Fall: Derby, Sacred Heart, Seymour, Watertown, Wolcott

We'll have more regular posts coming soon (and hopefully some spring schedules) because I'll be done with college by the end of the week. Yippie.