Football: Trumbull Eagles open on road with Greenwich High

Colton Nicholas put the work in during the offseason to improve his game. — David G. Whitham photo
Colton Nicholas put the work in during the offseason to improve his game. — David G. Whitham photo

Trumbull High open its season with a road game at Greenwich High’s Cardinal Stadium on Saturday at 4 p.m.

Coach Marce Petroccio’s Eagles are expected to have their hands full.

“They could be a preseason number one,” Petroccio said about coach John Marinelli’s Cardinals. “They return some great players on both sides of the ball. We’re excited to have the opportunity. This will be the real deal — jumping right into the fire.”

Petroccio’s journey back to Trumbull High, the school he graduated from and coached at with Jerry McDougall, includes a 25-year stay in Staples where the Wreckers won 210 games, a handful of FCIAC titles and three state championships.

Trumbull is coming off a 3-7 campaign, while Greenwich went 12-1, captured the FCIAC title, and advanced to the Class LL state final. Greenwich, on paper, has a chance to equal that run. The Eagles…

“Everything (about us) is an unknown,” Petroccio said. “They (the Cardinals) really won’t know what we’re doing, because there is no tape besides our scrimmage with Bunnell. We could run a spread offense, a wing-T or go triple option.”

That anonymity is a plus for as long as it lasts.

“The key will be the first quarter,” Petroccio said of matching up with the Cardinals, who defeated the Eagles 70-16 in last year’s opener. “We will have to be focused and execute right from the start.”

While Petroccio agreed his team is filled with many unheralded players, he loves the makeup of his squad.

“Honestly, we have a lot of good players that played last year,” he said. “I like our size and the way we played with a team as quick as Bunnell (in a scrimmage). This rivalry with Greenwich goes back a long way. My expectations for my guys is high.”

Colton Nicholas is back at quarterback. A junior, the 6-foot-4, 220 pounder is blessed with a strong arm and great field awareness. “Colton has worked so hard to make himself into a better quarterback,” Petroccio said. “He is a phenomenal kid who has improved tremendously and loves to play football.”

Corey Osborne and Isaiah Johnson will be at running back.

Ryan Cranston and Peter Schmitz will be the wideouts, with Kyle Atherton, Aidan Clark in the slot. Vinny DeLeo and Ray Leonzi add to the receiving corp.

“Our offensive line is made up of tough kids and good athletes,” Petroccio said. “They’ve taken in a lot of coaching and are soaking it up like sponges.

“Nick Cioffi is at center. Justin Schwartz is our left guard and Matt Delaney is our right guard. Michael McHugh and Koby Levison are the tackles. In that mix will also be Wade Dayton.”

Adam Tolk will lead the defense from his outside linebacker position.

“Adam is just a great football player,” Petroccio said of the senior, who will be joined on the outside by Danny Giblin and Nicholas Jack.

“We have a lot of guys to play up front, led by Dayton Chris Briganti and Ben Duda,” Petroccio said. “We’re trying to be a two-platoon team and it is working out so far.

"Kenley Pierre and Devin DiCocco are cornerbacks, with Nolan Shay at free safety and Danny Arganese doing a phenomenal job at strong safety.”

Cranston will do the place kicking.

Briganti is the punter.

The Eagles defensive will try to limit the Cardinals and their senior quarterback Gavin Muir, who threw for 33 touchdowns last season.

His options are plentiful, with Lance Large, Stephen Bennett, Matt Davey and Garrett Murphy. Tysen Comizio is a key member of the Greenwich back field.


Sept. 8 — at Greenwich 4

Sept. 14 — Ludlowe 7

Sept. 21 — New Canaan 7

Sept. 28 — at Trinity Catholic 6

Oct. 5 — at Norwalk 7

Oct. 19 — Danbury 7

Oct. 26 — at Darien 7

Nov. 2 — Westhill 7

Nov. 9 — at Griswold 7

Nov. 22 — St. Joseph 10