Foran football: Line play once again the key
The Foran High football team’s spread offensive attack has piled up the yards and the points during head coach Jeff Bevino’s tenure in Milford.
One of the reason’s Zach White (2009-11) and then Jake Kasuba (2012-14) put together All-State careers at quarterback for the Lions was the play of their offensive linemen.
Last season, Foran went a 6-5 campaign with Luke Edmondson, Anthony Raccio, Aniber Moras, Mike Howell and Sam Kopatch giving Kasuba time to throw for 2,357 yards and 19 touchdowns and run for another 808 yards and four scores.
Kasuba, running back Steve Longley (1,057 yards and 15 touchdowns), Patrick Fitzgerald (68 catches good for 847 yards and nine scores), Josh Mixie (16 catches for 214 yards), Raccio and Moras have graduated.
Junior quarterback Lance DiNatale, who completed 5-of-7 passes for 78 yards and a touchdown in spot relief of Kasuba, will have Kevin O’Connor (186 yards, three scores) and R.J. Balado (176 yards rushing, 13 catches for 156 yards receiving) keying the running game.
Colin Firmender (26 catches, 446 yards, three touchdowns) and Brett Huber (14 catches, 214 yards, three touchdowns) are the top receivers returning.
Providing pass protection and push at the line of scrimmage will be Edmondson (6-2, 265 pounds), Kopatch (6-3, 245), Howell (6-2, 235), Bryan Habansky (5-9, 200), Angelo Simonelli (5-7, 180) and Andre Vella (5-10, 190).
“The o-line is one of our strong points,” Bevino said. “They are big, strong and fast.”
Some of the Lions have lost time in the shortened preseason to injury, but Bevino sees that as a positive.
“Its a good thing because the young kids just stepped in. They’ve gotten the majority of the coaching, the majority of the snaps.”
Bevino likes this team, which will be captained by Edmondson, Howell, Firmender and Noah Hubler.
“Lance DiNatale has been phenomenal,” he said. “He learned from sitting behind Jake Kasuba for two years and taking it all in.
“He knows the offense, has a cannon for an arm, sees the field well and can run. I couldn’t be more pleased.”
Noah Hubler will lead the defense.
“Noah goes wherever we need him,” Bevino said of his hybrid linebacker. “Mike Howell will be at linebacker and can play d-line and Derik Defelice will play inside.
“Jordan Thompson and Andre Vella will be upfront on defense. We have a good competition at the nose with Luke, Kopatch and O’Connor, so depending on the personnel we can go big or small.
“Steve Lynch, Huber, Tyler Auger and sophomore Mat Cruz are in the secondary, with Matt Kennedy and Mark Wooten also playing cornerback.”
Foran will battle North Haven, East Haven and Sheehan High of Wallingford for the Southern Connecticut Conference Division II East title this fall.
The Lions will play host to Coginchaug High from Durham for a scrimmage on Friday, Sept. 4, at the Vito DeVito Sports Complex at 6 p.m.
“Coginchaug went 7-4 and return real good kids,” Bevino said. “This will be a great test. It’s a full game dress rehearsal and we can’t wait to see what we have.”
Sept. 11: Branford at Foran 7 p.m.
Sept. 25: Foran at Sheehan 6 p.m.
Oct. 2: Foran at Guilford 7 p.m.
Oct. 9: Foran at Lyman Hall 7 p.m.
Oct. 16: New London at Foran 7 p.m.
Oct. 23: West Haven at Foran 7 p.m.
Oct. 30: East Haven at Foran 7 p.m.
Nov. 6: Hillhouse at Foran 7 p.m.
Nov. 13: North Haven at Foran 7 p.m.
Nov. 26: Foran at Jonathan Law 10:30 a.m.