Foran football still in hunt for Class M playoffs
Foran is very much in the thick of the Class M state playoff race. The Lions (5-3), though, would need to win their two remaining regular season games and then get some help in order to qualify.
Foran is currently ranked 11th in Class M. The top eight teams advance to the quarterfinals.
The Lions would likely need two of the four between New Fairfield, Waterford, Berlin and Gilbert/Northwestern to lose to have a shot at reaching the postseason for the first time since 2001. It’s possible that New Fairfield and Waterford could outpoint Foran, even if those two teams lose.
“It’s been a long time,” said Foran coach Jeff Bevino, now in his 11th season with the Lions. “It’s just exciting. I’m so excited for the kids to have this opportunity. It’s something that we haven’t done, at least not since I’ve been here.”
Foran has games remaining with Creed/Career/Whitney Tech (3-6) on Thursday and Law (4-4) on Thanksgiving.
“We’ve got our work cut out for us and we’re well aware of that,” Bevino said. “Creed is fast; good sized. They’re a good football team. They’re aggressive, I’ve been very impressed watching them on film.”
The Lions lost three of their first five games but have since won three in a row to put themselves in position for a postseason berth. Foran has not loss since it had a bye in back-to-back weeks starting in Week 6. In that time, the Lions were able to get several starters back from injury.
“We got healthy,” Bevino said. “We had a lot of injuries in the preseason, and then we played Hillhouse and North Haven early. When you play North Haven and Hillhouse in a three-week stretch, you’re going to get banged up. But, we’re healthy now. You have continuity when you have everyone back.”
Senior two-way lineman Ted DeBoise, senior wide receiver/defensive lineman and junior running back Matt Kennedy all returned after the two-week bye in a 31-7 win over East Haven on Oct. 28.
“With the injuries, it took us awhile to get everyone on the same page,” Bevino said. “The kids are excited and we’ve been playing well.”
Bevino has been pleased all season with the performance of his defense. Among the standouts have been seniors Brett Huber and Steven Lynch in the secondary, senior Alex Ricci and juniors Zach Cleary and Jared Hubler at linebacker and seniors Andre Vella and Angelo Simonelli at the line.
“They’ve kept us in games,” Bevino said about his defense. “We’ve been playing very good defense, very solid defense. We knew we were not going to be big up front. We’re not big, but we’re fast, I underestimated how fast we are on defense. Not all the kids run a 4.3 (dash), but they react and fly to the ball. Credit goes to our coaches, Mark Manning and Jim Esposito, our defense has definitely kept us in every game.”
Led by senior quarterback Lance DiNatale, Huber and junior running back Matt Cruz, the Lions have been playing as expected offensively.
“When we can stay even with the chains, we’re tough because we have a big repertoire,” Bevino said. “Right now, we’re playing good football, we’ve been doing a lot of good things. I’m very impressed with how they handle practices. They’re involved, motivated. It’s been a fun year.”
Bunnell-Stratford tickets on sale
Tickets for the Stratford at Bunnell game are now on sale in the main offices and athletic offices at both high schools. Tickets are also on sale at Hilltop Food Market.
Tickets are $5 if purchased in advance. All tickets are $10 at the gate. No passes will be accepted. The game is scheduled for November 23 at Bunnell. Kickoff is 7 p.m.