Grip It & Rip It: FCIAC notebook
With change comes opportunity. And in high school athletics, where the turnover is pretty high each year, opportunities for players to step up and fill specific roles are plentiful.
The Grip It and Rip It 7-on-7 Passing Tournament at New Canaan High School the past two days gave some first-year varsity football players and competitors that were on their respective teams last season, but will have a larger role this fall, a chance to build rapport and chemistry with their teammates.
Here’s a look at some of the FCIAC teams that attended in the Grip It and Rip It Passing Tournament.
DARIEN: Graduation claimed starting quarterback Timmy Graham, who helped lead the Blue Wave to the FCAIC and CIAC Class LL titles. Brian Peters, a rising senior, received all of the repetitions at quarterback on Saturday for the Blue Wave.
“I’m feeling great, I’ve been putting a lot of hard work in to get ready,” Peters said. “I have big shoes to fill with Timmy leaving. I watched a lot of film with him last year and he taught me so many things about being a quarterback. I feel I’m ready to help the team continue its success.”
Tim Herget, a rising senior cornerback/running back knows he must step up to help fill the void left by the graduation of offensive standouts such as Colin Minicus, Shelby Grant and Hudson Hamill to name a few.
“Last year’s group was such a talented group of players,” Herget said. “They set the bar high, so we have all been putting in hard work during the offseason and we want to raise the bar higher.”
“We have a lot of depth on offense,” Herget said.
NEW CANAAN: The defending Class L champion Rams are also rebuilding at quarterback thanks to the graduation of star Michael Collins, who spearheaded an offense that helped ignite the team’s 2015 championship season.
Senior James Crovatto, senior Spencer Williams and freshman Drew Pyne are vying for the starting quarterback job. The Rams also have some spots to fill on defense, so the tournament was a good way for the team to get on the same page.
“This has been our best turnout here over the past few years,” said senior right guard/defensive lineman Teddy Hood, one of the squad’s captains. “We’re concentrating on meshing before we begin practice in August. For a few seasons, we haven’t meshed as well as we wanted to early in the season. We want to get our reps in and improve our chemistry.”
Said linebacker James Freyre, also one of the senior captains: “Normally we don’t get a chance to work as a team that’s not playing our offense, so this camp is a great chance for us to improve our communication on defense. Hopefully, this will help carry us into the season.”
TRINITY CATHOLIC: Senior Nick Grenata got all of the repetitions at the passing camp for the Crusaders, who advanced to the Class S tournament semifinals a year ago.
“He did a nice job, especially since we did not have spring football,” Trinity Catholic coach Donny Panapada said. “Our defense is ahead of our offense, which is usually the case at this point. But the main thing for us is to get better every day and be ready by our first game (Sept. 10).”
“We have a lot of guys, we won’t rely on one person offensively,” Panapada said. “It is a good group with a lot of potential.”
ST. JOSEPH: The Cadets don’t have to fill the quarterback position, as standout Corey Babineau (a rising senior) returns for his third season under center. But the rest of the team’s offense is inexperienced.
“He (Babineau) understands our offense and what we are trying to do,” St. Joseph coach Joe DellaVecchia said. “But other than two linemen, he is the only one back on offense. We have brand new receivers, so a lot will be on his shoulders.”
NORWALK: Rising junior AJ Hall has the inside track to win the starting quarterback role for the Bears.
“We’re very happy with what we have seen from him so far,” Bears coach Sean Ireland said. “This was the first action he has seen against a varsity defense. The more reps our younger kids get the better.”