FOOTBALL 2017: Saddle up! Lyman Hall Trojans ready to get back on the horse

FOOTBALL 2017: Saddle up! Lyman Hall Trojans ready to get back on the horse


WALLINGFORD — OK, let’s just say it and get it over with. Over the past five seasons, Lyman Hall football has gone 5-47.

Now let’s move on.

Because that’s exactly what the Trojans intend to do. They’ve got a new head coach, some new players, a new slate of games and the feel of a “new culture.” There is a palpable sense that a page is turning at Fitzgerald Field.

“We’ve been together, this senior class, since freshman year. We stuck together through the worst and I expect this team to do a lot of work this year,” said senior captain and cornerback Harrison Febbriello. “We’ve been working really hard in the offseason. A lot of people got bigger and stronger. And with the new coaching staff, everything’s looking better.”

The new coach is Bill Weyrauch, a Lyman Hall math teacher and former Lyman Hall assistant who spent 11 seasons with the Trojans from 2000 through 2010.

Weyrauch is Lyman Hall’s fourth head football coach in seven years. Following Chip McKeehan’s retirement after the 2011 season, the Trojans passed through the hands of two former players, Rob Marone and Aidan Lynch.

It did not end well for either. Marone was fired mid-season 2014 over an out-of-season practice violation self-reported by the school and Lynch’s contract was not renewed after the 2016 campaign.

Given that Weyrauch is 49-years old and works at Lyman Hall (his predecessors both taught at out-of-town schools), the hope is the coaching situation will stabilize. Let the rebuilding begin.

One thing, though: The rebuilding doesn’t necessarily mean the Trojans can’t start winning now.

“There’s some talent in that room,” Weyrauch said of his new charges. “If I line those kids up, you’d look at those kids and say, ‘This is a good football team.’”

The 2017 Trojans are a good mix of classes. There are seniors who have been playing varsity since their sophomore year. There are juniors returning with experience.

Then there are the sophomores, some of whom played on the Wallingford Vikings eighth-grade team that went undefeated to win the Shoreline Youth Football Conference in 2015. The head coach of that Vikings team, Dom Colavito, is now Weyrauch’s offensive coordinator.

The Lyman Hall seniors have taken their knocks. They are battle-tested, however, and they are ready to lead the way.

“The experience we have on this team, growing together as a younger team, maybe we didn’t have the success we want, but the experience can help us this year and start bringing a winning culture to football,” said captain Andrew McClure, who returns at center.

Standing alongside Febbriello and McClure as captains are defensive end Jake Seichter and running back/linebacker Randy McFarline.

“Everything’s looking up,” McFarline said. “We also need to trust each other — trust each other to hold those blocks, to make those tackles, to make those right reads. We have to trust each other. We’re not just a team; we’re brothers. We’re out here working together as a family.”

Will better fortune return for the family in 2017? Toward that end, early success on the field will go a long way.

“I think if we get that, the kids will get some confidence,” Weyrauch said.

“I ask them to have some confidence even though we haven’t won that much, but I say to make it a quiet confidence,” the new coach added. “We’re a team that hasn’t been very successful. At the same time, I don’t want them to go into the season thinking that we cannot be successful. So a quiet confidence is what I want them to have: confidence in their abilities, but be quiet about it. Let’s go out and perform as a unit and try to win some football games.”

The Offense

While senior Nick Santello returns as starting quarterback, there are new wrinkles to the Lyman Hall attack.

The Trojans will look to capitalize on Santello’s ability to run and throw. They’ll also deploy a power game, running McFarline behind 215-pound junior fullback Zach Kizer.

“I’m still an old-fashioned guy,” Weyrauch said. “We still will go to the I-formation once in a while. We will have fullback sets.”

Furkan Parcal, Matt Velardi and Tylor Seamons are the starting receivers.

McClure returns to the line along with senior guard Tim Hettrich and junior tackle Qris Johnson. Guard Jeff Giamettei and tackle Robert Syme, both juniors, step into starting roles.

The Defense

There are a handful of players who will go both ways for Lyman Hall. Kizer is slotted for defensive end, McFarline for middle linebacker, Johnson for strong-side linebacker and Santello for a rover position.

Senior Andres Godinez will man the nose in Lyman Hall’s three-man front. Seichter is at the other end opposite Kizer.

Austin Ruiz and Louis Ferri, two returning juniors, are at strong safety and weak-side linebacker, respectively. Febbriello holds one of the cornerback slots. Juniors John Forster and Amiri Vaughn will rotate at the other.

Quarterbacking the defensive operation at free safety is a sophomore with by far the most literary name in the local high school football book: Shakespeare Rodriguez.

The Schedule

Lyman Hall’s 10-game slate is favorable. The Trojans have just one SCC crossover and it’s against Foran of Tier II.

Other than that, they stay strictly in Tier III with Creed/Career/Whitney Tech, East Haven, Bassick, Branford, Jonathan Law and Sheehan, the defending champ.

Crossovers against Hillhouse, Hamden and Wilbur Cross are off the slate. Three non-conference games are on — two against South-West Conference teams Notre Dame-Fairfield and Bethel. Notre Dame was 5-5 a year ago. Bethel was 1-9 like LH.

The Trojans also play the CREC Co-op, a team they’ve beaten for two years running.

Said McClure, “I just expect us this year to come out and compete with everyone we play against and I think this year we should have a good chance to win football games.”

Date Opponent Time

Sept. 8 at Creed Co-op*7:00

Sept. 15 ND-Fairfield 7:00

Sept. 22 at East Haven 7:00

Sept. 28 Foran 7:00

Oct. 6 Bassick 7:00

Oct. 13 at Bethel 7:00

Oct. 27 CREC Co-op 7:00

Nov. 3 Branford 7:00

Nov. 10 at Law 7:00

Nov. 23 at Sheehan 10:30

*at Bowen Field-New Haven

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