Football: St. Joseph to open season at New Canaan

St. Joseph will visit New Canaan to open the season on Friday at 7 p.m.

The game can be seen at HAN.Network at 7. FCIAC Tailgate starts the coverage at 5.

Coach Joe Della Vecchia’s Cadets are coming off a 10-3 campaign that saw them advance to the Class M finals, before losing to Hillhouse High (42-21).

The Rams went 12-1 and are defending Class L champions.

“Jared Mallozzi, Connor Murphy, Jude Andrzejewski, Jesse Veilleux and Mike DiIorio are captains,” Della Vecchia said. “It is a tight knit group and like being together. They bonded well over the summer.”

St. Joseph will be led on offense by quarterback David Summers, a transfer from Fairfield Warde where the rising junior threw for 1,709 yards and 13 touchdowns.

He replaces Cory Babineau, who threw for 2.860 yards and 31 touchdowns.

“David is a bright kid and has picked things up quickly,” Della Vecchia said. “He’s learning a new system, but this is quickly becoming his team.”

Summers’ top receivers will be senior Mallozzi, junior Phil Pasmeg and Jesse Bike.

Mallozzi earned All-State honors as a junior when he caught 100 passes good for 1,514 yards and 20 touchdowns.

Pasmeg was on the receiving end of 53 passes for 899 yards and eight scores.

Jaden Shirden is the top running back returning. As a freshman, Shirden ran for 1,011 yards and found the end zone 15 times.

“Jaden has added fifteen pounds and he is stronger and faster,” Della Vecchia said.

Veilleux, will be joined on the offensive line by Mark Arnone, Pete Lovan, Justin Escobar and Rob Mihaly.

Luke Kirby kicked three field goals and made 47 point-after-touchdowns as a sophomore.

“We are looking to be more consistent on defense,” Della Vecchia said. “We have some veterans back and they are mixing in well with some new guys.”

Andrzejewski will see double duty in the backfield and at linebacker, where in eight games the junior was in on 52 tackles. Murphy made 52 tackles and had two interceptions. DiIorio had 47 tackles, including two quarterback sacks.

“Jesse Lawson was our top tackler (112, seven for losses with 3.5 quarterback sacks),” Della Vecchia said. “Jude, Jesse and Alex Pagliarini will be at linebacker.”

Murphy and Darren Warren, a junior, will lead the secondary.

Three sophomores — Caden Porter, Mike Morrissey and Jermaine Williams (36 tackles) will play on the defensive line.

“We played New Canaan in the Grip It and Rip It over the summer,” Della Vecchia said. “They are very skilled and are huge up front. We have a scrappy group on defense and move to the ball well. It will be a challenge.”

The Rams' Drew Pyne threw for 2.347 yards and 26 touchdowns as a freshman.

Leading the ground game will be Owen Shin and J.R. Moore, who will be running behind juniors Jack Conley (6-foot-7, 280 pounds) and Jack Stewart (6-foot-5, 280 pounds).

The Rams leading receivers are Quinton O’Connell (45 catches, 695 yards, 7 TDs), Justin Greco (24 catches, 292 yards) and Garrett Braden (23 catches, 3 TDs).