Christian Abraham / Hearst Connecticut Media

Meet GameTimeCT's All-Decade Football Team: 2010-2019

The 2022 high school football season is quickly approaching with games beginning in just more than a month. At the conclusion of this season the staff at GameTimeCT will select the 90th New Haven Register All-State football team.

So to kick off this season we are selecting an All-Decade team from the most recently completed. This decade is defined as the 10 seasons from 2010-19. To be eligible players must have been selected to the New Haven Register All-State team and competed in at least two years in the decade.

Selecting All-State teams is never easy. You can imagine how difficult it was to select an All-Decade team. We based our selections on their high school careers, excluding their collegiate and professional success. We recognize there are players who went on to the NFL who are not included. Believe us, they were strongly considered. We also realize that arguably the most dominant team of the decade, three-time state champion Xavier is not represented.

OFFENSE

Quarterback: Casey Cochran, Masuk

Casey Cochran

Casey Cochran

Christian Abraham/Hearst Connecticut Media

In a career that bridged the 2000s with the 2010s, Cochran still put up numbers even the most talented high schoolers could only dream about. Within the decade, he threw for 6,412 yards and 77 touchdowns against 13 interceptions and led Masuk to a Class L state championship in 2010 and the Class L semifinals in 2011. … He threw for 3,345 yards and 40 TDs in the championship season of 2010. …He is the all-time career leader in passing yards (10,767) and is second all-time in touchdowns thrown for a career with 112 and led New London to a state championship as a freshman in 2018. …Went on to play at UConn before a bout of concussions ended his career.

Running back: Arkeel Newsome, Ansonia

Arkeel Newsome

Arkeel Newsome

Autumn Driscoll/Hearst Connecticut Media file

Still the state’s all-time leading rusher and most recent Parade All-American, nobody occupied the same stratosphere as Newsome in the early part of the 2010s. A backup for his freshman year, Newsome put up MVP numbers over the next three seasons as Ansonia won three-consecutive state championships (two in S and one in M). Overall, he ran for 10,672 yards, on 943 carries and holds the state record for career touchdowns with 187, which is 73 more than Ansonia’s Alex Thomas’ second-place 114. Newsome is the only player to score more than 60 touchdowns in a season, and did it twice in 2013 (68) and 2011 (62). …He was the New Haven Register’s MVP in 2011 and 2013 and went on to play at UConn.

Running back: Zach Davis, Sheehan

Zach Davis

Zach Davis

Catherine Avalone/Hearst Connecticut Media file

Sheehan saw a resurgence as a football power in the late 2010s and much of it has to do with Davis, who shattered school and state records before heading to Fordham. Over his four-year career, Davis ran for 5,232 yards on 472 carries for an average of 11.1 per carry. …His 2016 season total rushing yards of 3,588 on 281 carries is the fourth-best all-time. …He also set the state’s single-game rushing yard record twice that year, first with 541 yards on 41 carries vs. Law on Oct. 28 and then again on Thanksgiving with 543 yards on 26 carries vs. Lyman Hall. …He also is sixth all-time in rushing touchdowns with 95. His 52 touchdowns in 2016 is third-best all-time. He also hold the state record with 10 TDs in a single game.

Wide receiver: Nico Ragaini, Notre Dame-West Haven 

Nico Ragaini

Nico Ragaini

Catherine Avalone/Hearst Connecticut Media file

There haven’t been many three-time NHR first-team all state players, but Nico Ragaini made his three-time selection easy. In his four years at Notre Dame-West Haven, he caught a state-record 222 passes for 3,345 yards, second-best all-time, and 21 touchdowns. But it wasn’t just receiving, he also ran for 17 touchdowns and returned six punts for touchdowns, the second-best total in state history. …He was also a standout defensive back with 14 interceptions in his career, including six as a sophomore. …Went on to play at Avon Old Farms and parlayed that into a career at Iowa.

Wide receiver: Alex Jamele, Southington

Alex Jamele

Alex Jamele

Hearst Connecticut Media file

Dynamic playmaker for Southington during its state championship runs of 2013 and 2014. As a senior, he caught caught 79 passes for 1,623 yards and 29 touchdowns as Southington won the Class LL-Large title. For his career the 6-footer averaged 16.6 yards over 173 reception for a total of 2,878 receiving yards. He is the state’s career (50) and single-season (29) leader for touchdown receptions.

Wide receiver: Julian Dunn, Newtown

Julian Dunn

Julian Dunn

H John Voorhees III/Hearst Connecticut Media file

Before there was Ben Mason, there was Julian Dunn who starred at Newtown, albeit on the other side of the ball. As a senior, caught 48 passes for 1,024 yards and 22 touchdowns and made 32 tackles, four interceptions and recovered one fumble on defense. … Finished his career with 143 receptions for 2697 yards and 49 TDs, which briefly was the most in state history until Southington’s Alex Jamele broke it in that season’s state final. Also had 12 touchdown catches in 2013, which is fourth-best in state history.

Offensive lineman: Lucas Niang, New Canaan

Lucas Niang

Lucas Niang

Bob Luckey Jr. / Hearst Connecticut Media

Massive and dominant two-way lineman for the Rams during their run of state championships in the mid-2010s. He was a significant contributor on the 2014 and 2015 championships, was second-team all-state on the OL that helped NC amass 4,390 total yards on their way to the 2014 Class L-Large title. And did so again for the 2015 Class L championship offense that put up 5,104 yards. He also had 38 tackles and 9 for a loss and a sack on the defensive line. …Wound up playing two years at Texas Christian and was a third-round draft pick by the Kansas City Chiefs.

Offensive lineman: Evan Adams, Norwalk

Evan Adams (left)

Evan Adams (left)

Mark Conrad/Hearst Connecticut Media file

The 6-foot-6, 275-pound two-way lineman helped Norwalk put together nearly 3,000 yards of total offense his senior year. Made 46 tackles, five for a loss, and had four sacks as well. As a junior, Norwalk put together 2,928 yards of total offense on defense had made 48 tackles and had a pair of fumble recoveries. Also had a sack his junior year. Went on to play at Syracuse.

Offensive lineman: Andrew Stueber, Darien

Andrew Stueber (72)

Andrew Stueber (72)

Matthew Brown / Hearst Connecticut Media

The 6-foot-7, 300-pound lineman was a force on offense and, when needed, on defense during Darien’s run of state championships. Helped the Blue Wave roll up 4,873 yards of total offense as a junior and 5,682 yards — best in the state — as a senior. Won two state championships in 2015 and 2016. Two-time all-state. …Went on to play at Michigan and was drafted by the New England Patriots in the seventh round of the 2022 draft.

Offensive lineman: Travis Jones, Wilbur Cross

Travis Jones (55)

Travis Jones (55)

Peter Hvizdak / Hearst Connecticut Media

The 6-foot-4, 330-pound two-way lineman was a big part of Wilbur Cross’ 7-3 2017 season. As a senior he made 61 tackles, including six for a loss and made seven sacks. Recovered a fumble and caused two. Anchored an offensive line which helped the Govs put up over 3,000 yards of total offense. …Played at UConn and was drafted by the Baltimore Ravens in the third round (76th overall) of the 2022 draft.

Offensive lineman: Steve Hashemi, St. Joseph

Steve Hashemi

Steve Hashemi

Bob Luckey/Hearst Connecticut Media file

Was a big part of St. Joseph’s offensive prowess in the early 2010s, particularly its 2013 Class M championship team which went 13-2, reached the FCIAC final and defeated Brookfield in the snow at CCSU for the first of back-to-back titles. The Hogs ran for 4,066 yards and 54 TDs that season, and a whopping 7,131 total yards. …Played at UConn where he also played tight end.

Utility: Dario Highsmith, Middletown

Dario Highsmith

Dario Highsmith

Tyler Sizemore/Hearst Connecticut Media

Dynamic, two-time All-Stater at quarterback and defensive back for the Blue Dragons. As a junior, led Middletown to the Class L semifinals by running for 2,768 yards and 35 touchdowns and throwing for 930 yards and 11 TDs. As a senior, ran for 2,056 yards and 24 touchdowns while throwing for another 712 yards and seven TDs, leading Middletown to the Class L-small semifinals.

DEFENSE

Defensive lineman: Mark Evanchick, Darien

Mark Evanchick

Mark Evanchick

Jason Rearick / Hearst Connecticut Media

The 2015 New Haven Register Player of the Year and the state’s all-time leader in sacks with 65 1/2, breaking Dwight Freeney’s record of 60. Led Darien to the Class LL championship and No. 1 ranking in 2015. …Made 25 sacks as a junior and 23.5 as a senior, the fourth and fifth-most in a season. Had 5 1/2 sacks in a single game vs. Greenwich in 2015 — eighth all-time. … Also an all-state player in lacrosse, played at UPenn.

Defensive lineman: Zach Allen, New Canaan

Zachary Allen (44)

Zachary Allen (44)

Bob Luckey/Hearst Connecticut Media file

The 2014 New Haven Register Player of the Year, led New Canaan’s defense to back-to-back championships in 2013 and 2014. As a defensive lineman, he made 102 tackles, had 13 1/2 sacks, intercepted two passes, caused seven fumbles for the Rams, who went 11-1 and won the Class L-Large title. He also played tight end can caught three touchdown passes. … During his junior year, he made 81 tackles, had 11 1/2 sacks and intercepted a pass. He famously returned a fumble for a touchdown in the Turkey Bowl in 2013 and slam dunked the ball over the goal post after an interception touchdown vs. Greenwich. Two-time all-stater, played at Boston College and was taken by the Arizona Cardinals in the third round of the 2019 NFL Draft.

Defensive lineman: Cole Ormsby, Windsor

Cole Ormsby

Cole Ormsby

Hearst Connecticut Media file

Two-time first team all-stater for Windsor who was in on 146 tackles, 20 for a loss, and 30 sacks for his career. In his senior season, he had 17 sacks, helping Windsor reach the 2012 Class L final vs. Hand. As a junior, he made 64 tackles and had 13 sacks, reaching the Class L semifinals. Also played on the offensive line. Went onto play at UConn and starred on the defensive lines.

Defensive lineman: Rondell Bothroyd, E.O. Smith

Rondell Bothroyd

Rondell Bothroyd

Catherine Avalone / Hearst Connecticut Media

A two-time first-team all-state player and three-year starter at defensive end. Had 24 1/2 sacks and forced 10 fumbles during his tenure. Made 45 tackles, 12 1/2 sacks and an interception during his senior season. Also played offense and caught 15 passes for 215 yards and a score. …As a junior, had 66 tackles, 15 for a loss, and 13 sacks while also forcing five fumbles, including one he returned for a touchdown. Is now entering his redshirt junior year at Wake Forest, where he is a starter on the defensive line.

Linebacker: Ben Mason, Newtown

Ben Mason (41)

Ben Mason (41)

Christian Abraham / Hearst Connecticut Media

One of the state’s all-time best players, Mason was a four-year starter and a three-time all-stater at linebacker and fullback for the Nighthawks, leading them to the state playoffs in all four years. …The 2016 New Haven Register Player of the Year, Mason made 63 tackles, including three for a loss and a sack. Also returned two interceptions for touchdowns, tying a state record with five interception touchdowns for his career along with fellow three-time all-stater Bobby Valentine and Phil Pope of Simsbury. Accounted for 1,041 all-purpose yards and 16 TDs. Also had dominating performances as a junior (113 tackles, 4 INTs, 6 rushing TDs) and sophomore (110 tackles, 5.5 sacks, 2 fumble recoveries). ... Went on to play at Michigan and was drafted by the Baltimore Ravens in the fifth round of the 2021 draft. He is back with the team after being waived and going to the Patriots and the Bears’ practice squads.

Linebacker: Cole Harris, New Canaan

Cole Harris (top)

Cole Harris (top)

Bob Luckey/Hearst Connecticut Media file

A terror who was in on 328 tackles, nearly 9 per game, during his distinguished three year career which resulted in a Class L state championship in 2013. He made 6 1/2 sacks, intercepted five passes and caused 11 fumbles (seven as a senior) during his three-year career. Scored six offensive touchdowns and scored five defensive touchdowns, including two off blocked punts.

Linebacker: Matt Walsh, Hand

Matthew Walsh (42)

Matthew Walsh (42)

Amy Mortensen/Hearst Connecticut Media file

The 6-foot-2, 230-pound 2012 New Haven Register MVP who played both offense and defense during his standout career. Two games stood out, his five-touchdown performance in Hand’s 40-20 victory over No. 1 Xavier at midseason and his 15-tackle (10 solo), two forced fumble performance in the 2012 Class L championship victory over Windsor. …Finished with 282 tackles, five sacks and four fumble recoveries. Went on to play at UConn.

Linebacker: Bobby Drysdale, Brookfield

Bobby Drysdale

Bobby Drysdale

Scott Mullin/Hearst Connecticut Media file

A two-time All-State selection in 2014 and 2015, led the Bobcats to back-to-back state titles in his final two seasons. Brookfield’s career rushing leader rushed for 1,445 yards and 15 touchdowns as a senior and on defense had 95 tackles with 4.5 sacks. As a junior, he rushed for 1,496 yards and scored 24 TDs. On defense he made 72 tackles, eight sacks. The future Harvard standout had three sacks in state final win over Berlin.

Defensive back: Tajik Bagley, Ansonla

Tajik Bagley

Tajik Bagley

Christian Abraham/Hearst Connecticut Media

A two-time New Haven Register All-State selection, Bagley recorded five interceptions as a senior. He also followed a long line of successful running backs for the Chargers, rushing 219 times for 2,083 yards and 31 touchdowns as a senior to help Ansonia advance to the Class S state championship game. A coaches all-state first team, an All-NVL and a Walter Camp team selection, Bagley went on to a successful career at Central Connecticut. Named the NVL Player of the Year. Competing for Arena Football’s Quad City Steamrollers.

Defensive back: Ervin Philips, West Haven

Ervin Phillips

Ervin Phillips

Hearst Connecticut Media file

Dynamic receiver and defensive back and two-time all-stater who went on to play at Syracuse, Phillips rushed 257 times for 1,812 yards, caught 16 passes for 275 yards, and tallied 35 total touchdowns in a spectacular senior season the Westies. He also made 57 tackles, recovered four fumbles and made three interceptions as a defensive back. Set 12 school records at West Haven, including rushing yards in a career (4,596), touchdowns in a career (88) and total yards in a career (6,182). He led the Westies in rushing his junior year with 1,054 yards and 22 touchdowns to lead . West Haven (8-2) to the Class LL quarterfinals, where it lost to Staples.

Defensive back: Thomas Milone, Masuk

Thomas Milone

Thomas Milone

Christian Abraham/Hearst Connecticut Media

Before going on to a successful professional baseball career, Milone was putting together highlight reels on the football field for the Panthers. As a senior, he returned six kickoffs and six punts for touchdowns, rushed 60 times for 1,033 yards and 19 touchdowns, caught 40 passes for 1,094 yards and 14 touchdowns and also threw for two touchdowns. He made four interceptions defensively. As a junior caught 48 passes for 1082 yards and 16 TDs and as a sophomore, caught 43 passes for 992 yards and 10 TDs to lead the Panthers to a n11-1 record. He finished his career with 3,224 receiving yards, now third-best all-time, and his 40 touchdown catches are fifth-best all-time. He signed to play baseball at UConn, but went pro after being drafted by the Tampa Bay Rays in the 2013 MLB Draft. He is in the Padres organization at the AAA level.

Defensive back: Tyler Coyle, Windsor

Tyler Coyle

Tyler Coyle

Catherine Avalone/Hearst Connecticut Media file

The versatile Coyle caused havoc on the defensive side against CIAC quarterbacks, making 28 tackles, five interceptions, deflecting four passes and recovering two fumbles for Windsor, which advanced to the Class L state quarterfinals. He also caught 29 passes for 741 yards and eight touchdowns and rushed for four scores. As a junior made seven interceptions and deflected 11 passes. For his career, finished with 15 interceptions and 18 pass deflections. Offensively was a big-play receiver, catching 57 passes for 1,441 yards, a career average of more than 25 yards per catch. He caught 19 TDs in his career. Played at UConn and is an NFL free agent.

SPECIAL TEAMS

Kick returner: Lars Pedersen, St. Joseph

Lars Pedersen

Lars Pedersen

Autumn Driscoll/Hearst Connecticut Media file

Two-time All-State selection did it all for Cadets before playing at Cornell. He scored on two kickoff returns and two punt returns for the Cadets, who finished 11-2 and won the Class M-Small state championship. Tallied 2,069 all-purpose yards. Made 45 receptions for 736 yards and nine touchdowns, scored nine rushing touchdowns and tossed two touchdown passes. Caught 60 passes for 1,059 yards and 16 touchdowns for the Hogs, who went 13-2 and captured the Class M state championship. He also compiled 1,673 all-purpose yards, made 75 tackles and two interceptions.

Kicker: Mike Aresco, Middletown

Mike Aresco

Mike Aresco

Catherine Avalone/Hearst Connecticut Media file

Two-time All-State selection is career leader with 24 field goals, including a 52-yarder as a junior, still tied for the fifth-longest. Shares state record for most field goals in a game with four and holds state record for kicking points in same game with 16 (four extra points). Ended career with a state-record 255 kicking points (24 FG, 183 XP). As a senior made 7 of 8 field goal attempts, including a long of 43, and had a season-best three field goals in a 23-12 victory over Hudson Catholic (N.J.). Also converted 48 of 53 point-after attempts for a total of 69 kicking points. Also averaged 51.8 yards per kickoff attempt, including 26 touchbacks and averaged 31.6 yards per punt and had 5 inside the 20. As a junior set state record with 10 field goals on 12 attempts and connected on 52 of 56 extra point attempts. Kicked off 77 times for 3,873 yards (50.3 average) and had 25 touchbacks. Also punted 28 times for 908 yards (32.4 average) with 10 inside the 20-yard line.

Punter: Peter Swindell, New Canaan

Peter Swindell

Peter Swindell

Catherine Avalone/Hearst Connecticut Media file

Averaged 41.2 yards per punt as a senior, had a long of 63 yards and landed eight inside the 20-yard line. Also made 40 catches for 793 yards and 12 touchdowns and made 56 extra points and five field goals for the Class L state champions. Made 79 of 85 extra points, 12 of 17 field goals, including a long of 45 yards, and tallied a state record 115 points as a sophomore in 2013 for the Rams, who won FCIAC and Class L state championships that season. Fourth all-time with 20 career field goals, including second most in single-season with 12 in 2013. He is third all-time with 232 kicking points.