Offensive line leading way for revamped Eagles
What do you do when all of your skill position players have graduated, and you open the season with a non-league opponent with thoughts of winning a state championship?
“We have our offensive line back and that’s a good place to start,” said Trumbull High head football coach Bob Maffei, whose Eagles will host Shelton High at McDougall Stadium in an SCC-FCIAC Football Challenge game tonight (Sept. 12) at 7.
“Games are won with physical play up front. Greg Goldman, Jon Newland, Connor Shea, Justin Appleby and Cory Haslam started all or parts of last season and have come back bigger and stronger.”
Trumbull, minus All-State quarterback Nick Roberts, is coming off an 8-3 campaign.
“We have two kids at quarterback, Steve Nagy, a junior, and Johnny McElroy, a sophomore,” Maffei said. “I told them not to worry about being the next Nick Roberts. I said to be the best Nagy and the best McElroy they can be and we’ll be okay.”
Adam Angelucci will step in as featured running back from the graduated Marc Cesare, who accounted for 1,170 yards and 20 touchdowns a year ago.
“Adam did a good job (in the offseason) and is bigger and faster,” Maffei said about the 5-9, 180-pound senior.
Jack Kelly, Lance Bragg, Niko Principi, Glenn Hellthaler and Mike Miller make up the new receiving corps.
“We’re tailoring our offense to the players to put them in the best place,” Maffei said.
“Defensively, we’re getting better. The kids are learning a new scheme and we’re again playing to their strengths.
“We have a lot of players going both ways, that’s just the way it is. We’re putting our best players out there, keeping it simple and playing fast.
“Justin Appleby and Steve D’Amato will play the nose with Ryan Moulton, Goldman and Shea at tackles.
“Haslam and Kelly will be the defensive ends, with Pat Hallstrom and Johnny DeRosa at linebackers.
“Brandon Nguyen and Lance Bragg will be at the corners with Nagy and Hellthaler at the safeties.”
Shelton went 7-4 a year ago and returns a strong team.
“They are highly skilled with veterans,” Maffei said. “We have to score when the opportunity is there, create turnovers, limit their big play chances and make them earn what they get.”