By Sean Krofssik
MERIDEN —The Governor’s Cup senior all-star football game that featured Connecticut against Rhode Island has gone by the wayside again, reverting back to the intrastate battle between Team Constitution and Team Nutmeg.
One thing that hasn’t changed: A number of area players and coaches will be involved.
Team Constitution will be coached by Plainville’s Tim Shea. Platt head coach Jason Bruenn will direct the outside linebackers and his Panthers assistant, Brian Frederick, will be the offensive coordinator.
Team Nutmeg is headed by Stafford’s Brian Mazzone. On his staff are Sheehan’s Pat Miller (offensive line) and Cheshire’s Chris Trifone (quarterbacks).
The lone area player on Team Nutmeg is Sheehan’s Willy Seay, who led the Titans back to the Class M state playoffs as a two-way lineman.
“Willy has been a tremendously hard worker for the last four years,” Sheehan coach John Ferrazzi said. “He’s not only a hard worker, but he’s extremely reliable and he’s got the opportunity to play one last game. Willy will be a good representative for our team.”
Team Constitution is chock full of area talent.
From Platt: running back E.J. Dudley and defensive end/linebacker Keaton Caffrey;
From Maloney: receivers Maurice Brackett and Victor Marquez and lineman Donald Posey;
From Wilcox Tech: running back Devario Reid;
From Southington: quarterback Jacob Drena, receiver Jacob Flynn, kicker Evan Johanns and linebacker Kyle Messenger.
Tryouts were March 24 and the teams were chosen this past week. The game will be played Saturday, June 29 at New Britain’s Veterans Stadium.
The teams will gather two weeks before the game and hold 10 practices each. Team Nutmeg will practice at Sheehan, Team Constitution at Plainville High.
Among the coaches, this will be Bruenn’s third turn around the all-star block.
“I like it for few reasons,” the Platt coach said. “I’m surrounded by great coaches. It’s a fun coaching time. We are not coaching for state championship or conference championship. Everyone is competitive and wants to win the game. It’s a fun time to hang out with coaches and coach with top not kids.”
Dudley will be suiting up in his first football game since his junior year after a major knee injury cost him his senior season.
“I know he’s excited to be playing,” Bruenn said. “He put himself in a good position physically with is rehabilitation and he’s having a pretty good baseball year. This will be a nice little gift for him before going into college. It’s one more high school-level game before going to college.
“He’s such a hard worker and has such a great spirit. I can’t imagine him not playing in a all-star game. He’s an all-star level kid.”
Bruenn said Caffrey provides flexibility on the defensive side of the ball.
“He was drafted as an outside linebacker, but they are changing up some rules this year and they aren’t strapping you with the 3-4 defense. If you want to play a four-man front, you can. We had him as our D-end (at Platt). From a football standpoint, he’s a great commodity. He’s a guy you can put on the end with a four-man or you can stand him up as an outside backer. The most he will bring to that game is his physicality. He’s a physical kid.”
Wilcox Tech head coach Trevor Jones said Reid is well deserving of his all-star nod.
“Devario was a hard-nosed kid who broke the school rushing record with 1,365 yards in nine games and 16 touchdowns over the season,” Jones said. “We always got a solid outing from him week-to-week. He also play some really tough outside linebacker and defensive end in a pinch when we needed a big play.
“Devario was by far the best running back that we've had it Wilcox in the five years I've been in charge of the program,” Jones added. “It is an honor well deserved.”
Reid is going on to play at Liberty University in Lynchburg, Va.
Drena, like Reid, is also coming off a big season. The Southington quarterback completed 168 of 283 passes for 2,676 yards, 30 touchdowns and just eight interceptions.
”It’s a great opportunity for him to finish his high school career,” Southington coach Mike Drury said. “He is a heady kid and a smart player. He will have plenty of playmakers to work with. I expect him to have a lot of success.”
Drena will have a familiar face in Flynn. The wideout caught a team-high 11 TD passes for the Blue Knights. In all, he caught 44 passes for 816 yards in an All-State season.
”He creates separation,” Drury said of Flynn. “He was a matchup nightmare for everyone he faced. He can attack the ball in the air as good as anyone.”
Messenger will play inside linebacker in the All-Star game before heading off to attend the University of New England.
“At the combine, they saw how quickly he picked up on what they were doing,” Drury said. “He is a leader and is tough. They saw in the combine what we saw in Southington for the last four years.”
As for kicking, Johanns was virtually automatic on PATs, missing just 1 of 50 attempts last fall for Southington. He was also 4-for-6 on field goals, including a school-record 47-yarder against Conard.
Johanns averaged 51.4 yards on kickoffs with a state-best 20 touchbacks.
“He’s one of the best kickers to come out of this program,” Drury said. “He has great leg strength and he’s also become a great punter. He’s a college-ready kicker who is ready to help anyone.”
Over at Maloney, Marquez signed off as his school’s all-time receiver and will be playing at Southern Connecticut next season.
Last fall, Marquez caught 74 passes for 1,146 yards and 16 TDs. All were area highs. For his career, Marquez had 181 receptions (fifth all-time in Connecticut) for 2,397 yards and 31 scores.
Bracket, Marquez’s partner on the perimeter, was the area’s fourth leading receiver with 46 catches for 671 yards. Posey was an All-Record-Journal tackle.
BOGAN SHINES AT COMBINE
Sheehan junior running back Terrence Bogan performed well last weekend at the New Jersey stop of the “The Opening Regionals,” a series of combines for high school players held nationwide.
Performing at the New York Jets’ Atlantic Health Training Center, Bogan ran the 40-yard dash in 4.59 seconds and the 20-yard shuttle in 4.15. He measured a vertical leap of 35.5 and had an overall rating of 91.77.
“Terrence received an invitation from The Opening and I thought he did very well,” Ferrazzi said. “He tested very well. His vertical was in the 97th percentile. His overall rating of 91.77 was third among running backs. He had the second highest 40 among the running backs there.
“I think it was a very good event for him as an athlete to see where the competition is,” Ferrazzi added. “It’s an invitation workout, so it was an honor for him to be there. The talent that was there was mind-boggling.”
Bogan led the state with 2,481 yards rushing in 2018. He averaged better than 206 yards a game and 10 yards a carry as the Titans went 10-2 and reached the Class M semifinals.
Full members of Team Constitution as of April 10 are: QB Bryce Karstetter (Cromwell), QB Jacob Drena (Southington), RB Shawn Robinson (New Britain), RB Ethan Dudley (Platt), RB Devario Reid (Wilcox Tech), TE Quinn Zdrojeski (Xavier), WR Nick Wright (Cromwell), WR Jacob Flynn (Southington), WR Giancarlo Tufano (Berlin), WR WIll Stearns (Fairfield Warde), WR Maurice Brackett (Maloney), WR Naseem Harrison (SMSA), WR Victor Marquez (Maloney), OL Nigel Smickle (Middletown), OL Devon Bishop (New Britain), OL Oran Burnett (New Britain), OL Ismar Kandic (Cromwell), OL Donald Posey (Maloney), OL Parishe Smith (Bulkeley), OL Charlie Mazzerella (Watertown), OL Cam Barrett (Middletown), OL Nate Tyson (Prince Tech), PK/K Evan Johanns (Southington), LB Kyle Messenger (Southington), head coach Tim Shea (Plainville), offensive coordinator Brien Frederick (Platt), OL coach Chris Moffo (Woodland), OL coach Nate Sullivan (Hartford Public), WR coach Carl Bond (Hillhouse), WR coach Clay Killingsworth (Ledyard), QB coach Mike Eagle (Berlin), RB coach Brack Poitier (Hamden), defensive coach Andy Guyon (Xavier) and quality control Dylan Fusco (Plainville).
Team Nutmeg roster as of April 10 includes: DB Joel Steward (Enfield), DB Dajuan Lomotrey (Middletown), DB Dylan Nees-Fair (Newington), DB Kai Armstrong (Rockville), DB Tyrese Gallant (Waterbury Career), DB Miguel Gonzalez (Windsor Locks), DB Colton Engel (Stafford), LB Jacob Commander (New London), LB/RB/DB Justus Fitzpatrick (Bristol Central), LB Matt Phelan (Killingly), LB John Kopek (Stafford), LB Steven Hill (Middletown), DL Christian Malave (Capital Prep), DL Fred Centrella (Enfield), DL Nsaiah Harriet (Killingly), DL Jonathan Pierre (NFA), DL Austin Harnish (Wethersfield), OLB Roy Clemons (Capital Prep), OLB Cameron Belton (NFA), OLB Cody Gebo (Stafford), OLB Geyer Austin (Harding), OL Pascal Borreil (Farmington), OL David Satkowski (Pomperaug), OL Willy Seay (Sheehan), OL Tyler Gilbert (Stafford), OL Kody Messier (Stafford), OL Jonathan Matos (Waterbury Career), OL Dean Howell (Wolcott), OL Tyler Oney (Capital Prep), OL Adelino Daviega (NFA), OL Justin Gagner (Coginchaug), QB Raquan Tompkins (East Hartford), QB Ben Ambro (Rockville), RB Deandre Curry (Harding), RB Xzavier Reyes (Middletown), RB Matt Teney (Glastonbury), WR Jackson Butler (Simsbury), WR Colby Chase (Simsbury), WR Qaron Brown (Holy Cross), WR Nick Foley (Rockville), TE Luke Kelleher (Wethersfield), WR Zehki Burgis (New London), WR Josh Montpellier (Killingly), WR/QB Kevin Bednarz (Harding), PK Evan Damien (East Haven), head coach Brian Mazzone (Stafford), defensive coordinator Matt McKinnon (Wethersfield), offensive coordinator Jeff Russell (Stafford), RB coach Chad Neal (Killingly), OLB coach Erick Knickerbocker (Rockville), DB coach George Thomas (Enfield), WR coach John Johnson (Notre Dame-Fairfield), DL coach Chase Mayoussier (Simsbury), DB coach Chris Linares (Wethersfield), OL coach Beau Weed (Stafford), ILB coach Alex Voukounas (Rockville), OL coach Pat Miller (Sheehan).