WALLINGFORD – There is a buzz around Sheehan High School. The school’s football team is 9-1 and will play in their first playoff game since 1995 on Tuesday night.
The No. 3 Titans will host No. 6 Joel Barlow at John J. Riccitelli Field in the Class M quarterfinals. Kickoff is 6:30 p.m.
Both squads feature prolific running attacks. Sheehan showcases the dynamic sophomore duo of Terrance Bogan and Jordan Davis. The Titans average 226 yards on average on the ground and 145 through the air behind junior QB Wes Terzi.
Barlow just about all of its damage on the ground with the triple option. The Redding school has churned out 402 rushing yards per game with lengthy, clock-churning drives. The Falcons enter the playoff game at 7-3 and riding a four-game winning streak.
“The triple option is something that not a lot of teams are running anymore,” Ferrazzi said. “We don’t see it often and it’s unfamiliar with the kids. We spent some time in the preseason exposing the kids to it in case we faced a game like this. I think we are going to be as prepared as we can be.”
Trevor Furrer is the Barlow signal caller and has eclipsed 100 yards rushing in seven of the Falcons’ 10 contests and has amassed 1,255 yards and 10 TDs on the season.
Senior Calvin Peterson has 997 yards rushing on the season, including a 267-yard performance in Barlow’s regular-season finale, a 50-14 win over Weston, a team Sheehan beat in overtime earlier in the season. Barlow clinched a postseason berth and the school’s first ever South-West Conference Division II crown with its win over Weston.
Seniors Alex Stillman (654 yards) and William Cusick (526) round out Barlow’s biggest offensive threats on the ground as the Falcons make their first postseason appearance since 2013. The Falcons had 590 rushing yards in the Weston win.
“Barlow does an excellent job running that stystem. To get four days to prepare for them is difficult,” Ferrazzi said. “Their team goes the way their offense goes. According to Max Preps, their team leads the state in rushing. If you look at any team that runs this offense, it’s their team identity. They are able to keep the offense on the field awhile. We need to get off the field ourselves on defense and get the ball to our offense.”
The Titans offense has been potent as well. Sheehan has won six in a row and averaged 40 points per game during that span.
The Titans have been lead by Bogan (134 carries, 1,024 yards, 13 rushing touchdowns) and Davis (100 carries, 857 yards, 11 rushing touchdowns). Davis also has four receiving touchdowns. Davis and Bogan combined for all seven touchdowns in Sheehan’s 49-20 Carini Bowl win over Lyman Hall.
In the passing game Terzi and senior wideout Evan Mansfield have been a potent connection all season. Mansfield has team highs in all three receiving categories: catches (41), yards (547) and touchdowns (7). Terzi has totaled 1,444 yards, 19 touchdowns against five picks.
“Our offense is clicking,” Ferrazzi said. “We have been able to feature two running backs that have done really well. Bogan and Davis on the field at the same time can put stress on the defense. Our quarterback has been very efficient when we throw the ball. Our receivers continue to get better. We are a balanced offense and we will put as much stress on them as they will put on us.”
As good as the offense has been, Sheehan has also been strong on defense behind Will Terzi (115 tackles), Braedon McCarthy (76), Ryan Paul (74), Mansfield (72 tackles) and Stephen Zenisky (68).
Sophomore Mickey Deming leads the TItans with five sacks. Junior Luke Willette has three. Davis leads Sheehan in picks with a pair.
“All 11 that go on the field are important,” Ferrazzi said. “All have a role and assignment, and we can’t survive with any less.”
Ferrazzi said the team has been preparing like tonight is just another other game, but added that his team is excited and he wants them to be.
“This is something that hasn’t been done around here in a long time,” Ferrazzi said Monday afternoon. “Thanksgiving is over. The time is here and now. We’ve had three great days of preparation and another tonight. Then we will get after it.”
This isn’t a young Titan team that is just happy to be here. This Sheehan squad has the highest goals in the postseason.
“Without question, the sky’s the limit for this team,” Ferrazzi said. “We’ve expected this from our team. We’re young; we’ve grown up. These aren’t the sophomores that came that came to this team in the spring. We want to take care of the task at hand tonight. Our goals are to move on after this.”
The survivor of the Sheehan-Barlow tilt will face No. 2 Coventry/Windham Tech/Bolton/Lyman Memorial or No. 7 SMSA/University/Classical on Sunday at 12:30 p.m. in the Class M semis.