With a new head coach, some different assistant coaches and numerous first-year varsity players, the Brunswick School football team is certainly enters the 2022 season as a new-look squad.
However, the Bruins are intent on competing in the same type of game in their final matchup of the season – a NEPSAC championship bowl game.
“We would love to make a bowl game this year and I think we have all the components to do it,” Brunswick senior quad-captain/left tackle Miles Walker said. “Hopefully we’ll make it there.”
“People don’t really speak about it much, but we have it in the back of our mind,” said senior linebacker Jesse Schutzman, also one of the Bruins’ captains. “We want to get to the same place as last year and it’s only going to happen if we do all the things we did last season.”
Two of the numerous positive things the Bruins did on their way to a 7-3 season last year was play strong defense and make key plays on offense – especially during the fourth quarter in close games. Brunswick finished the regular season with an impressive 7-2 record, earning a berth in the NEPSAC Class A Mike Silipo Bowl, which they hosted, last fall. The Bruins were edged by Deerfield Academy, 35-28, in the NEPSAC Class A Mike Silipo Bowl and are hoping to make another postseason matchup this fall.
Wayne McGillicuddy, who served as the offensive coordinator in 2021, begins his first season as head coach of the Bruins – a position that was filled by Mike Hannigan the previous three seasons.
Prior to arriving at Brunswick in 2021, McGillicuddy coached football at Wesleyan University. He attended Westfield State in Massachusetts.
“My first year here last year was phenomenal, the boys were welcoming me with arms open,” McGillicuddy said. “It’s a special place and a place that I’m thrilled to be a part of. Our administration is awesome.”
Brunswick scrimmaged Greenwich High School on Tuesday, Cheshire Academy today and will host Loomis Chaffee School in a scrimmage game on Sept. 10. Their season-opener is scheduled for Sept. 17 against The Hun School at Cosby Field.
The Bruins will start their second season in the ultra-competitive Northeast Prep Conference, which is part of the New England Preparatory Athletic School Council. Conference play will serve as a qualifier for a NEPSAC championship bowl.
“Last season was a great season, we all were excited about how we did,” Brunswick senior tight end/captain Riley Gilsenan said. “We didn’t win the bowl game, which is not what we hoped for. But as a team, we were really excited, because we proved everyone wrong by having such a great season.”
All four captains, Walker, Gilsenan, Schutzman and Tomas Delgado, played pivotal roles in the Bruins’ success a season ago and are primed to lead the squad on and off the field this fall.
“It feels great to be a captain,” said Delgado, a senior wide receiver. “I love being a facilitator and pumping the guys up. It feels great to talk to them every day and get them excited.”
Walker, who stands 6-foot-6 and weighs 285 pounds, will continue his football career in the Big 10 with Ohio State in 2023. He’s been a varsity team member since his freshman year.
“From when I was a kid, being able to play at one of those schools that everyone is talking about – schools that you can watch on TV, on SportsCenter, has always been a dream,” Walker said of committing to Ohio State University. “I never thought it would happen. Then after all the hard work, it finally happened.”
“Obviously, I couldn’t have had the opportunity without my coaches, my teammates and now thinking about it,” Walker noted. “To go out there and live out my dream and play top of the line college football is amazing.”
The Bruins imposing left tackle credited the team’s coaching staff for helping prepare him for the collegiate level.
“After the season ended last year, I gained a lot of weight, a lot of muscle,” he said. “I was working with coach McGillicuddy on the field and then a bunch of schools starting coming in and it showed my hard work paid off.”
Here’s a look at the Bruins’ 2022 team.
QUARTERBACKS: Graduation claimed Danny Lauter, who turned in an impressive 2021 season. Lauter is now playing football at Georgetown University. The Bruins have six quarterbacks on their roster, two of whom are junior Elijah Cromartie and senior Wolf Hill.
The duo are currently for the starting quarterback position.
“Both of them do a lot of good things and they’re learning each day,” McGillicuddy said of Cromartie and Hill.
OFFENSIVE LINE: Walker should lead the group from his left tackle position. Matty Augustine, a 6-6 230-pound junior, returns at right tackle, while senior Will Janis (6-4, 278) is back at center.
“Will Janis, he’s going to Holy Cross, he brings a lot to the table knowledge-wise, both physically and mentally,” Walker said. “Matty Augustine with his size and athleticism, we are going to be fine on the outside. We should be moving the ball well, as long as everybody communicates and makes the right plays and right decisions, we’ll be fine.”
RUNNING BACKS: Jaylen Noisette, Patrick Hiebert and Zay Smith, all sophomores, will look to produce yards on the ground for the Bruins, who flourished at running the ball last season. Kha’lil Eason powered Brunswick’s ground game in 2021 and has joined the team at the University of New Haven.
Hunter Clark, who also aided the running game last season, is playing at UConn and Chris Gaine, who spearheaded the ground attack as well, is playing lacrosse at Michigan.
“We’re going to have a running back by committee,” McGillicuddy said. “We’re going to making sure we’re running guys in and out and we’re hoping to be just as deep as we were last year.”
WIDE RECEIVERS: The speedy Delgado, who also excels on the school’s lacrosse team, should be a tough match up on the outside.
“He does a phenomenal job for us,” McGillicuddy said of Delgado. “We’ll move him all around.”
Senior Jason Agudelo, Tyler Lloyd (junior), Connor Jones (sophomore), Harrison Hoover (junior), Will MacGillivray (senior) and Crew Davis (freshman) are among some of the receivers that give the unit much depth.
“We have a lot of depth there,” Delgado said. “I feel confident with the younger guys and the seniors all coming together. We need every man and I have faith in our first receiver as much as I do our fifth.”
Delgado knows the offense has a lot of potential.
“We have a great line, some explosive running backs and a dangerous receiving corps,” he said. “It’s going to be a dangerous offense and I’m really excited.”
TIGHT ENDS: Gilsenan (6-2, 215) should be one of the Bruins’ prime tight end targets. Nick Burns (senior), Will Schmitz (junior), Taylor Primack (senior) and Riley Redahan (senior) also comprise what figures to be a position of strength. McGillicuddy noted that Redahan will be utilized at several positions – tight end, running back, slot receiver.
“We have a really strong O-line this year and as a tight end, we should be really good this year as a unit,” Gilsenan said. “We have a new team, we lost 23 or so seniors, a lot of starters, so we have a lot to learn and a lot to get in the playbook, but I think we have a lot of potential this year.”
“Even though we are a relatively new team with a new core, I think we’re doing a good job of connecting and working together,” Gilsenan continued.”
DEFENSIVE LINE: Senior Liam Butler, senior Jurgis Schmedlen, EJ Perez (junior), Jack Neal (senior), Henry Johnson (sophomore) and Grant Schmidt (junior) are among some of the athletes on the defensive line, which was one of the squad’s strengths a season ago.
LINEBACKERS: Schutzman, Tommy Pope (junior), Brady Waldron and Justin Norton (junior) will be relied upon to ignite the unit.
“We are returning some guys who have played for us and some guys who are switching positions,” McGillicuddy said.
“I feel like we have some things to work on of course, that comes with the preseason and having a new team like this,” Schutzman said. “But I feel like our defense has the potential to be better than we were last year. With hard work, good coaching and a lot of discipline, maybe we can make it to the same place we were last year.”
”We are going to have the same mentality we had last year,” Schutzman added. “We are coming with that mentality of working as hard as we can and never being out of the fight in the game.”
DEFENSIVE BACKS: Nic Wright, a senior, Luke Michalik (senior), Jackson Wolfram (senior) and Hudson Hausmann (junior) are intent on facing the challenges of competing against the high-powered passing offenses the league features. Ethan Long, a sophomore, who is beginning his first season on the squad, could make an immediate impact to the defensive backfield, which includes sophomores Wil Fels and Zay Smith.
Jalen Johnson, who is competing at Pace University and Charlie Johnson, who is playing lacrosse at Duke were the leaders of the unit last season.
COACHES: McGillicuddy’s coaching staff includes Marcus Chioffi, Jeff Criswell, Oliver Bierman-Lytle, Daniel Letteriello, Joseph Riemer, Kevin Royal, Sean Stanley and Jourdon Delerme-Brown.
SCHEDULE: The Hun School, home, Sept. 17; Suffield Academy, away, Sept. 24; Salisbury School, away, Oct. 1; Williston Northampton, away, Oct. 8; Wyoming Seminary, home, Oct. 15; Phillips Andover Academy, home, Oct. 22; Cheshire Academy, away, Oct. 28; Avon Old Farms, home, Nov. 5; Trinity-Pawling, away, Nov. 11.
“We want to play the best,” McGillicuddy said. “Our goal is to make sure we’re giving the boys the opportunity – for anyone who wants to go play college football – we want to make sure they are playing kids that have the same aspirations. Our schedule, it’s any given Saturday. If you look at our schedule, these programs are being run like colleges, so we have to make sure we’re locked in for 10 weeks. It’s definitely a tough schedule and we’re ready to take it on.”