2021 results: 5-5
Key players: Darren Gasparri (Sr., QB-DB), Jace Molcyk (Sr., WR-DB), Nate Cook (Sr., LB), Michael Strachan (Sr., TE-DE), Mason Mastropietro (Jr., WR-DB)
Key losses: Nate Bodnar (WR-DB), Ben Brooks (RB-LB), Matt Dutkanicz (LB), Josh Gibson (OL-DL), Josh Morales (RB-LB)
Outlook: Second-year coach Joe Lato hopes that Woodland’s work ethic will translate into strong play on the field.
“They have a great attitude and they work hard,” Lato said. “We practice well. There are no regrets entering this season. They take all the coaching lessons and they do a good job taking things to heart.”
The team returns a strong set of skill players, including a second-year starting quarterback in Gasparri. His top targets should be Molcyk, Strachan and Mastropietro.
Lato also sees the team’s leadership as a strength.
“We have a good senior class,” Lato said of the group, which numbers about a dozen. “They show good examples of leadership, not just from the captains but from everyone in the grade. They really care about the program.”
Woodland will open the season with three road contests: Friday at Oxford, Sept. 16 at Ansonia and Sept. 23 at Watertown.
2021 results: 9-2, NVL champion, Class L quarterfinalist
Key players: Michael Deitelbaum (Sr., RB-LB), Jake Sanchez (Sr., OL-DL), Jacob Scianna (Sr., OL-DL), Cayden Martin (Sr., RB-DB), Blake Stone (Sr., QB), Jett Hall (Jr., RB-DB), Dom DeSousa (Jr., K)
Key losses: Jibree Bartelle (QB), David Bien (LB), Kyle Johnson (LB), Aiden Robertson (WR), Mike Rusin (OL-DL)
Outlook: Coach Chris Anderson wants to make sure the Greyhounds won’t rest on their laurels from last fall.
“It’s a new year,” Anderson said. “What happened last year is in the past, but the kids have learned that when you work hard, good things will happen to you.”
Although Naugy lost some key players from the squad that won its first NVL title since 2010, the ‘Hounds return a wealth of talent, led by last year’s major rushing weapons, Deitelbaum, Martin and Hall.
Stone will replace Bartelle as starting quarterback.
“We’re high on (Stone) and we think he’s going to do good things for us,” Anderson said. “We were one-dimensional last year, so we’re looking to do good things in the passing game.”
Naugy will begin its title defense at home Friday vs. Gilbert-Northwestern-Housatonic at 7 p.m., followed by a Sept. 16 home clash against a Seymour team that’s expected to be a strong contender.
Football 2022 preview