I am writing this letter on behalf of the East Haven High school Football Team, East Haven High School and the town of East Haven. Saturday night, November 3rd, the East Haven Football Team played the Cheshire. The game was postponed from Friday due to the storm Sandy and all that went along with it. East Haven was one of the hardest hit areas sustaining heavy damage especially in the beach area. The damage was so severe in East Haven that schools were cancelled for the entire week. As the Head Football coach at East Haven I saw and heard how some of the devastation affected the players and the general population of East Haven. No electricity, no water, no heat, people unable to even get back to their homes, it went on and on. One in particular player told me of his father’s house that had just been rebuilt from last year’s storm only to be heavily damaged yet again. A football game seemed like an extremely insignificant thing when weighed against the heart break that East Haven was going through.
We began practice mid week with small numbers, many unable to even get to practice but the team used the upcoming game as a distraction from their troubles and an opportunity to have some fun. The head coach of Cheshire, Don Drust, contacted me as all coaches do the week of the game to discuss the film exchange. I had never met coach Drust but had heard many good things about him. His first words spoken to me were to express how sorry he felt for what had happened and he and his football team were there for any help they could give. A couple of days later my Athletic Director, Mike Marone, told me he had spoken with the Cheshire Athletic Director, Steve Trifone who informed him that anyone from East Haven that attended the game would receive free admission.
When we arrived at the game I met coach Drust on the field who let me know that along with the free admission, East Haven fans would also receive free food at the concession stand. Cheshire is an excellent football team and we are young and under manned. Cheshire scored on their first play from scrimmage and never looked back playing clean and hard throughout the 39-0 win. East Haven has been on the losing end of quite a few games and has seen teams do almost anything from leaving their starters in the whole game, to trick plays as time runs out - all in the quest to win by the magical 50 points. What coach Drust and his team did on an emotional night for the East Haven football team was show what class and character is. The Cheshire football team provided a perfect example of what High School sports should be and how student athletes should act. After the game, as we all shook hands, coach Drust again reminded me that if we needed anything Cheshire was there. What also struck me, having shaken the hands of thousands of players in my career, was how polite and concerned the Cheshire players were and I will never forget that.
As we left the field and got onto our bus for the ride home I was informed that Cheshire had given us cases of fruit and candy for the players to share on the way home. It was a final classy gesture on a special night for the East haven football team. In summation, on behalf of the East Haven football team, the High School and the town of East Haven, I would like to thank coach Drust, Steve Trifone, Cheshire High School and the town of Cheshire for showing concern and compassion during a tough time for a neighboring town - leading by example to all of CT what class, character, compassion and sympathy are all about. We will never forget and we will quietly root for Cheshire's continued success.
Head football coach
East Haven High School