Full speed ahead for Cadets

The St. Joseph Cadets are looking to get back to the postseason for the second year in a row since they won back-to-back state titles in 2009-2010.

The Cadets successfully turned around a 4-6 campaign in 2011 by going 8-3 last year and advancing to the Class M quarterfinals.

The Cadets come back this season with all the tools in the shed to make another successful run.

Senior quarterback Jordan Vazzano made quite an impression last season, throwing for 2,110 yards and 27 touchdowns.

St. Joseph has a stable of receivers to give Vazzano capable targets. Seniors Shane Miller (15 catches, 283 yards, touchdown) will team up with Lars Pedersen on the outside, with senior tight end Mark Hirschbeck (30 catches and six touchdowns) getting open over the middle.

Seniors Alex Pinto and Joe Prutting will also be running routes to the outside, opening up the Cadets’ passing attack.

St. Joseph returns its top two running backs to man the ground game. Junior Mufasha Abdul Basir led the team in rushing last season with 598 yards and five touchdowns, with senior Joe Civitella the second-leading rusher lending 443 yards in the pile.

“We have a few offensive weapons back,” said St. Joseph head coach Joe Della Vecchia, who is entering his 16th year at the helm.

“We have seven starters and during the preseason we have looked pretty good. I think our biggest challenge as a team is playing one of the toughest schedules in the state.”

St. Joseph opens the season on Saturday at home for a 1:30 p.m. contest with Notre Dame of West Haven (4-6).

The Cadets will be relying on seniors Dylan Ryan with 52 tackles last year at linebacker, Darren Jackson with 38 tackles at defensive back and Mike Schuchmann with 41 tackles at defensive tackle.

What will separate St. Joseph from the rest of the pack is an offensive line that can be game changing.

Led by three returning senior starters in 6-6, 290-pound guard Peter Mestre, 6-6, 260-pound tackle Steve Hashemi and 6-1, 245-pound center Tom Adzima, to go along with juniors 6-0, 269-pound tackle Chris Taylor and 6-1, 219-pound guard Troy Vazzano, the Cadets shouldn’t have too much trouble moving the pile up front.


Sept. 14 NDWH, 1:30

Sept. 20 at Prep, 6

Sept. 28 Ridgefield, 1:30

Oct. 5 Darien, 2:30

Oct. 11 at Wilton, 7

Oct. 18 at Bassick, 3:30

Oct. 26 at T. Cath, 2:30

Nov. 1 at New Canaan, 7

Nov. 8 at Warde, 7

Nov. 15 at McMahon, 7

Nov. 28 Trumbull, 10:30