Naugy football has big expectations for 2022


NAUGATUCK — As the preseason gets underway this week, the defending Naugatuck Valley League football champions are primed for another successful season.
But will it be easier for Naugatuck than the 2021 performance that saw the Greyhounds capture the NVL crown for the first time since 2010 and snap Ansonia’s 104-game NVL winning streak with a 14-7 victory Thanksgiving Day and also advance to the Class L quarterfinals?
“Not with the expectations that we have in place,” said Naugatuck second-year coach Chris Anderson. “Everyone in the community is excited about us. We have a lot of guys coming back and with that, the bar gets raised.”
The Greyhounds (9-2) narrowly lost to Masuk, 21-17 in the Class L quarterfinals last season. The only other loss was to eventual Class M semifinalist Torrington, 27-19, in Week 2 of the regular season.
“It was great to make the playoffs,” said Anderson. “It was a disappointing outcome, for sure. But every game is a learning experience.”
With eight returning starters on both sides of the ball, the Greyhounds clearly have a vast amount of experience. But that doesn’t necessarily translate into success.
“Last year is in the past,” said Anderson. “We need to build this team together. We can’t take anything for granted. Every game will be tough.”
Senior Blake Stone will be the starter at quarterback, succeeding the graduation loss of Jibree Bartelle and lead the Wing-T offense. Stone recorded a limited amount of varsity snaps last year.
“Blake is very cerebral and understands the offense and has good command of putting the guys in the right positions and in the right places,” said Anderson.
Last season, the Greyhounds attempted only 44 passes and that is one area that Anderson hopes to improve.
Still the run-first approach should be just as effective this season with all three running backs returning — junior Jett Hall (850 yards, 9 TDs), senior Michael Deitelbaum (580 yards, 11 TDs) and senior Cayden Martin (505 yards, 7 TDs) — returning.
It was Hall, who had a 51-yard touchdown run against the Chargers and also tossed a 49-yard halfback option to Aiden Robertson for the game-winner. He followed that up with a 244-yard, one touchdown effort against Masuk in the playoff.
“Jett finished his season strong and was looking toward the future,” said Anderson. “He built up his confidence and had a great offseason We have to tell him to go home and get some rest … Michael is stronger and really a throwback type of player. We tell the younger kids to pay attention to his every workout. He always gives it his all … Cayden is stronger and faster. I’m glad he is on our team.”
Anderson also praised sophomore Ryan Deitelbaum and junior Jaylen Martinez, who both will add depth to the running game.
Jacob Scianna, an All-NVL selection last year, will move from center to offensive guard.
Stone, Deitelbaum, also the starting middle linebacker, center-nose guard Kani Burrell, linebacker Vinny Ferrucci and tight end-linebacker Jacob Sanchez are the team captains. Sanchez played guard and defensive end last year.
“The captains are dedicated, bring leadership and playmaking ability,” said Anderson.
The Greyhounds open the season at home against NVL newcomer Gilbert-Northwestern-Housatonic Sept. 9.
Until then, Anderson is emphasizing his team to improve daily and not worry about defending the NVL crown or even qualifying for a return trip to the postseason.
“We have to avoid that,” said Anderson. “We have get ready to make our team better. We’ll cross that bridge (the playoffs) if we’re fortunate to get there.”
Reach Mark Jaffee at or follow him on Twitter@TheRealJaffman