BEACON FALLS — The Woodland football team will be led on the gridiron this season by its fourth head coach in as many years.
Last season, the new coach was also a former coach in Chris Anderson. This year, another Chris will captain the ship.
Chris Moffo, 35, was named Woodland’s head coach — his first head coaching job — in the spring.
Moffo may be in his first season as a head coach, but he is no stranger to the sidelines. A 1999 graduate of Wolcott High School, Moffo started coaching at Wolcott in 2004. He moved over to Woodland in 2007 and last season was the defensive coordinator for the Hawks.
Moffo’s first crack at being the head honcho will be a tough task to say the least as the Hawks are looking to rebuild.
“We’re young,” said Moffo when asked to describe his team.
The Hawks, who finished last season 7-3, are looking to replace major players all over the field.
Sean McAllen, the school leader in almost every offensive category, graduated along with tackling machine Coby Vaccarelli, Joe Kmetz, Dave Bobbie and Semir Dervisi.
Moffo plans to replace what he called “huge pieces” with a mix of new and returning players.
Four returning seniors — Scott Lawrence, Quincy Koch, Isaac Negron and Cody Doyle — will lead the way for the Hawks. Moffo is looking to junior Tom Smith, who joined the team this year, to contribute in a big way as a running back and defensive back
“Tom Smith has been a huge addition to us,” Moffo said. “He is going to be a really good player for us. The senior leadership has taken over in Scott Lawrence, Quincy Koch, Isaac Negron and Cody Doyle.”
Woodland will also be without last season’s quarterback Zach Bedryczuk, a sophomore who opted not to play this year. Koch will be replacing Bedryczuk as the team’s signal caller.
A large number of underclassmen will be asked to take on a more significant role this year as the Hawks only have a handful of seniors.
“Mike Farina is a sophomore who will be playing WR and DB and has been doing very well,” Moffo said. “A lot of the young sophomores are really stepping up. When you graduate 13 seniors and have a smaller senior class this year you have to have the young guys take on their roles nicely and they are doing that. They are fresh and ready to learn and putting the work in. They work hard.”
The Crosby Bulldogs will be a good test for the Hawks’ first game. Experience wise, the Bulldogs are on the opposite of the spectrum.
“Crosby is very skilled at their quarterback and wide receiver positions. Their quarterback is a four-year starter for them and he is phenomenal. He is a very good athlete and throws the ball very well. He is going to test us quite a bit, but I think our kids will be excited to go,” Moffo said.
The Hawks kick off the season Friday at home against Crosby at 6 p.m.