Fall sports

Greenwich High football team enters season with championship aspirations

Photo by David Fierro: From left to right: Jack Wilson, Jake Kiernan, Matthew Trimmer and Dominic DeLuca are senior captains of the Greenwich High School football team, which opens its season on Sept. 9 against Newtown.

Following a season that was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Greenwich High School football team, like every other squad, was back in action last fall.

Unlike a lot of teams though, the Cardinals qualified for the postseason, earning a spot in the CIAC Class LL Tournament, where it was edged by Fairfield Prep, 21-14, in the quarterfinal round, in a game in which Greenwich held a 14-7 third quarter lead.

Graduation claimed more than 20 players from last season’s successful squad, yet a program like Greenwich, which typically has 90-plus athletes, quickly reloads.

And this season’s version of the Cardinals is intent on taking their success to a higher level.

“I feel like we’re all locked in, ready to go and ready to take care of business in the season,” said Greenwich offensive lineman Jake Kiernan, one of the team’s four senior captains. “The biggest goal is to try to hoist up a banner, try to win a state championship and hopefully, everything falls into place.”

Photo by Dylan Goodman: From left to right: Matthew Trimmer, Jack Wilson, Jake Kiernan and Dominic DeLuca are captains of the Greenwich High School football team. The Cardinals hope to be one of the premier teams in the FCIAC and state.

Indeed, the defeat against Fairfield Prep in the Class LL quarterfinals has been a source of motivation for the Cardinals.

“We’ve been working hard after that loss to Fairfield Prep,” Kiernan said. “We have been going to the weight room getting work in every time we can.”

Greenwich’s season-opener is Sept. 9 against host Newtown, an unfamiliar SWC opponent. Though they have met in scrimmage games in recent seasons, the last time Greenwich and Newtown have faced each other in a game when the Cardinals topped the Nighthawks during their 2018 state championship season.

“We want to play the best of the best and our schedule is a bear,” said Greenwich coach Anthony Morello, who is starting his fourth season at the helm. “All of our focus right now is on Newtown.”

Dominic DeLuca, Kiernan, Matthew Trimmer and Jack Wilson are the Cards’ four senior captains. Wilson is Greenwich’s starting quarterback, a role he was highly effective at in his first varsity season under center in 2021.

Photo by David Fierro: Jack Wilson will lead Greenwich’s offense this fall as the squad’s starting quarterback.

“I’m very excited, I have a year under my belt, so I feel comfortable and confident with the offense,” the 6-foot-4 Wilson said. “It feels good to be out here leading the team again.”

The 2021 season saw Greenwich register a record of 7-4, including a 7-3 mark in the regular season. They qualified for the Class LL tourney by edging Staples in overtime, 34-28, in the final game of the regular season – the rivals’ Thanksgiving Day matchup. Greenwich’s winning history includes 11 state championships, its last coming in 2018 and 14 FCIAC titles.

Coach Morello’s squad is hoping to add to the program’s championship tradition.

“My brother was on the 2018 team, my dad was on the 1983 team – they both went undefeated and won state championships,” DeLuca noted. “So I am hoping to come out here and carry on the legacy.”

Photo by David Fierro: Jake Kiernan is one of Greenwich’s most experienced offensive linemen.

“Our goal is to be playing through December,” Trimmer said. “We want to be the best team we can be and be a tight knit family. We’re building that right now, we’ve got a brotherhood.”

Here’s a look at the 2022 Cardinals.

QUARTERBACKS: Wilson is seeking to build upon a strong junior season at quarterback.

“Jack has demonstrated great poise in the pocket, he has seen the coverages really well and he is holding his receivers accountable,” Morello said. “The leadership he is demonstrating on the field and being a vocal leader and keeping everyone in line, while running the offense at the tempo he expects – that’s been the biggest change in him.”

Juniors Rocco Grillo and Kaine Rama are among the Cardinals’ quarterbacks. Wilson knows the offense has plenty of potential.

“When we’re all in and all clicking together it’s definitely fun to witness and be part of it,” he said.

Greenwich’s starting QB is enjoying his role as one of the captains.

“It’s an honor,” Wilson said. “A lot of great captains have come through this program. I’m trying to do my best to follow in the footsteps of the guys who came before me.”

Photo by Dylan Goodman: The offensive line figures to be one of Greenwich’s strengths this season.

OFFENSIVE LINE: With four seniors and a sophomore who started last year, the Cards have a powerful, experienced unit up front. Kiernan (6-2, 265) will help anchor the line from his left tackle position. Sophomore Peter Vomvolakis (6-2, 285) will start at right tackle and senior Vinny Insinga (6-2, 280) returns at right guard. Senior Teddy Flinn (5-10, 205) is back as the starting center and Drew Falla (6-3, 290) will line up at left guard.

“They went up against the best defenses in the state last year together,” Morello said. “We are hoping to pick up where we left off, there, we are not rebuilding at this position, we have a really good foundation.”

“I’m out there to protect the quarterback, protect the running back, the offensive line as a whole, we have all taken on the role,” Kiernan said. “It’s almost like the big brothers of the team. We try to protect whoever we can, because they’re one of our own.”

Photo by David Fierro: Greenwich’s offensive line at work during a recent practice.

RUNNING BACKS: Returning to the backfield are hard-running Jack Konigsberg, a senior, and speedy George Vomvolakis.

“Those two are going to be interchangeably running the football,” Morello said. “They are dynamic ball carriers and we expect both of them to be able to run inside, run outside, catch and block. They continue to lead a committee of running backs.”

WIDE RECEIVERS: Seniors Charlie Dixon and James Wailgum lead a deep receiving corps. The duo caught plenty of passes from Wilson a season ago.

“When they’re on the field, they are a threat to take it all the way on any play,” Morello said of his senior duo at wide receiver.

Said Wilson: “The receivers are looking good, they are putting in a lot of work and with one more week we’ll be ready to go.”

Juniors Gavyn Gennarelli, Jake Stefanowicz and Ryan McBrearity are among the receivers that will provide depth to the position.

Photo by David Fierro: Dominic DeLuca is a captain/tight end/defensive end on Greenwich’s football team.

TIGHT ENDS: DeLuca played defensive end last season and will line up at the position this season. However, he will also play tight end for GHS.

“I’m doing a lot of stuff for the offense – blocking, going out, catching screens and I’m also lining out at receiver in the red zone,” DeLuca said. “I love playing tight end, it’s a lot of fun.”

Senior Michael Moeller and junior John McHugh are also among some of the team’s tight ends.

DEFENSIVE LINE: DeLuca (6-7, 230) should anchor the defensive line from his defensive end spot.

“It’s really fun playing defensive end,” he said. “I pretty much go get the quarterback and play contain.”

Griffin Galletta, a junior, (6-2, 235) should also ignite the team on the line.

“To have those two on the edge and disrupting the quarterback with their pass rush moves will be great for us,” Morello said.

Senior Danny Fox, senior Andre Castellanos and Peter Vomvolakis should power the line on the inside.

Matthew Trimmer, one of Greenwich’s captains, is a starting linebacker.

Trimmer is strong side linebacker. He’s currently nursing a knee injury, but could be back in action relatively soon. Juniors Sebastian Parra and John Insigna are slated to play on the inside. Dylan Brehm is among some of the linebackers that will help solidify the position.

“Our defense is looking great, there are guys that were on the team last year, so we have some experience,” Trimmer said. “There are some things we have to tweak here and there, it’s nice to have those scrimmages where you can get the rust out a little bit, but there’s not a lot of rust. The boys are looking good, they are ready and they can’t wait to get out there.”

“Football in Greenwich is such a big part of this town,” Trimmer added. “To have my name in that long list of captains that have played here is just such an incredible feeling to have.”

DEFENSIVE BACKS: Zach Jacob, a senior, is a cornerback, along with George Vomvolakis and senior Kane Ehrhart. Senior Anthony Pedicano is a safety for the Cardinals, who have players vying for significant roles.

SPECIAL TEAMS: Senior placekicker Sergot Boone has a strong leg and has ability to kick field goals from a good distance. Dixon will fulfill the team’s punting duties.

COACHING STAFF: Morello’s varsity coaching staff includes: Byran Hocter (defensive coordinator), John Woodring (special teams coordinator), Rodney Joyner (defensive backs), Bruce Cunningham (offensive line), Erik Lee (defensive coordinator), Riis Lane (linebackers, safeties), TJ Lucas (wide receivers) and Nick Celestino (running backs).

SCHEDULE: Newtown, Sept. 9, away; Ridgefield, Sept, 16, away; Sept. 24, Southington, home; Westhill, Oct. 1, home; St. Joseph, Oct. 14, home; Trumbull, Oct. 20, home; Darien, Oct. 29, away; Danbury, Nov. 5, home; Stamford, Nov. 12, away; Staples, Nov. 24, away.

Greenwich gathers after a recent practice.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s