Danny Lauter will soon begin his first season as the Brunswick School football team’s starting quarterback, a role he’s waited a long time to fill.
Projected to be the Bruins’ starting quarterback as a junior last fall, after serving as the Bruins’ backup signal-caller in 2019, Lauter’s plans of leading the offense were put on hold, as the COVID-19 pandemic forced the cancellation of the 2020 season.
Now Lauter, who will take his quarterback skills to Georgetown University in 2022, is primed to help navigate the offense for the Bruins, who face an ultra-competitive schedule.
“With COVID and everything, we’ve had a lot of time to prepare,” the 6-foot-2 Lauter said of the team’s offense. “We put in a lot of work, we had to deal with the challenges provided and we are ready to get after it. Last year, we made the best of it with the regulations that were put into place. We got out here, got some receiver work, quarterback work and did a lot of conditioning and great drill work.”
Brunswick third-year coach Mike Hannigan knows Lauter is well-prepared for the rapidly approaching 2021 season.
“Danny Lauter is a great starting quarterback, because he was a great backup quarterback,” Hannigan said. “We are now in a different offense, we have a new offensive coordinator, so he’s spent time learning. Nobody works harder than Danny Lauter. He will go to any camp, he’ll never turn down the opportunity to throw.”
In January of 2020, Lauter played on the U.S. Under-18 Select Team at the High School International Bowl at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas – the home of the Dallas Cowboys.
“He’s got a ton of football experience,” Hanningan said of Lauter. “He just needs game reps. He might be more excited than anybody to have this come to fruition.”
The Bruins officially begin their first season in the newly formed Northeast Prep Conference – a Class A independent school league, on Sept. 18, when they visit The Hun School. The Northeast Prep Conference is part of the New England Preparatory Athletic School Council and conference play will serve as a qualifier for a NEPSAC championship bowl.
“This year, we have a really tough schedule ahead of us and we’re all looking forward to competing at a high level,” Lauter said.
Prior to their season-opener against The Hun School on Sept. 18, the Bruins will host Greenwich High School on Saturday at 1 p.m. for a scrimmage game, then will scrimmage visiting Trinity-Pawling School on Sept. 11.
“It’s going to be nice to be playing against people we know,” Lauter said of playing Greenwich. “We’ll get some great work in and have fun.”
Michael Burton, Charlie Johnson, George Villis and Ashton Winegardner are Brunswick’s senior captains, all of whom will lead the squad at different positions. Here’s a look at the 2021 Bruins.
OFFENSE: The Bruins are expecting to have a versatile offense that can move the ball in the air and on the ground. Lauter has been with the program since he was a freshman and is excited to start in his first game at quarterback for Brunswick.
“Our offense is looking really good,” he said. “We have a lot of younger players who could potentially get a lot of playing time, which will be good for us.”
Senior Chris Gaine, junior Wolf Hill, sophomore Tyler Lloyd and junior Riley Redahan are also quarterbacks. Gaine should aid the team’s running game as well and Redhan can line up at multiple positions.
Hunter Clark and Kha’lil Eason, both seniors and Gaine are among the running backs the Bruins will rely upon.
“We have a bunch of guys who are able to carry the ball,” Hannigan said. “Hunter Clark will get the ball. He’s had the ball in his hands most of his career.”
Wide receiver has been a position of great depth and skill for the Bruins in year’s past and this season is no different. Winegardner, junior Jason Agudelo, Eason, senior Jalen Johnson, junior Nick Burns, senior Logan Mueller and junior Tomas Delgado are just some of the Bruins’ speedy and talented receivers. Some of the squad’s tight ends include Michael Neviera (senior), Riley Gilsenan and Liam Butler (junior).
“I think we have a very special offense,” said Winegardner, whose brother Nick, a 2020 Brunswick graduate, helped lead the team to victory in the 2019 NEPSAC Todd Marble Bowl game against Governor’s Academy. We have a lot of talent on the outside. We have receivers and running backs and an experienced offensive line.”
Winegardner will mostly lineup at slot receiver, a position that should indeed, challenge opposing defenses.
“Our quarterback has a cannon of an arm and our offense has a lot of experience,” Winegardner said.
Up front Burton leads what should be a strong offensive line. He will start at center, a position he’s vastly familiar playing.
“We have a hard schedule, but the team has worked as hard as we could during the offseason, with workouts and conditioning,” said Burton, who has committed to Georgetown. “We have a family-like bond on the team that will surface during the season.”
Senior Cliff Belknap returns at offensive guard and junior Miles Walker (6-5, 265) starts at left tackle. Junior William Janis joins the Bruins’ offensive line and is slated to play tackle.
DEFENSE: Junior Jesse Schutzman, senior Michael Neviera, Darrell Warren (senior), Tyler Wilson (senior), Burton, Sam Swigart (senior) and Lyndon Gay (senior) are among some of the squad’s defensive linemen.
“Coach Hannigan, he’s been one of the best defensive coordinators in the NEPSAC for a while,” Burton said. “Our team has great leadership on the defensive side of the ball.”
Charlie Johnson, Will O’Connor (senior), Jackson Wolfram (junior), Wells Faulstich (senior), Jalen Johnson, Blaine McClure (senior) and Eason are among some of the players that will give the Bruins’ secondary plenty of depth. Charlie Johnson leads the squad’s safeties, while Jalen Johnson should solidify the cornerback position.
“We’ve got a lot of experience back in the defensive backfield this year,” Charlie Johnson said. “We have players who have a lot of football experience and they’re familiar with the concepts and the playbook and that’s going to be helpful. We’ve got a lot of experience in the back seven across the board. I think that offsets losing a year of football when you have older kids who understand the process.”
Villis and Clark leads a group of linebackers, which will receive depth from senior Jack Stemerman, Jamie Restieri (senior), Justin Norton and Gay.
“I think the defense will come together,” Villis said. “We have a strong defensive line, linebackers and safeties. The young kids are looking good listening and getting the techniques down. I’m looking forward to seeing them play.”
SCHEDULE: Sept. 18, at The Hun School; Sept. 25, home vs. Suffield Academy; Oct. 2, at Salisbury School; October 9, home vs. Williston Northampton; October 15, at Wyoming Seminary; October 23 at Phillips Andover Academy; October 30 vs. Cheshire Academy; Nov. 6, at Avon Old Farms School; Nov. 13, home vs. Trinity-Pawling School.