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The North Haven football community lost one of their own Thursday as Matthew Jacques, 6, died from complications from a heart transplant. He was born with Tetralogy of Fallot, a congenital heart defect.
Jacques became the team's adopted brother after raising $9,000 for him at the program's annual "Spring Brawl" intersquad game.
The Indians also had Jacques run a play with them to end the game. Jacques scored, and video of his touchdown went viral and was shown on "Good Morning America".
Xavier also raised $1,800 for Jacques and presented North Haven with a check during a pregame ceremony before last Friday's game.
"We had a team meeting (Thursday) morning and I told them that we're a family, that we're a tight-knit group of men and that we need each other to lean now," North Haven coach Tony Sagnella told Mike Pucci of the New Haven Register on Thursday. "Some kids are struggling with it right now. I told them to keep the Jacques family in their thoughts and prayers, and that we're not equipped to know why, but know that Matthew is in a better place."
The Register's Chip Malafronte wrote a column about Jacques that is worth your time.
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Your travel guide for tonight:
Gilbert/NW Regional (2-0) at North Branford (2-0), today, 6:30 p.m.: Two of the Pequot's top teams. RB Tony Ortiz (6 rushing TDs) and QB John Lippincott (3 rushing TDs) have both averaged over 10.7 yards a carry. North Branford has changed its offensive identity and run a lot more than last year. Josh Melaccio has averaged 9.7 yards a carry with four touchdowns for last season's Class S runner-ups.
Bristol Eastern (2-0, 0-0 CCC D-II West) at No. 8 Middletown (2-0, 0-0), today, 7 p.m.: Eastern has already knocked off two perennial winners — Berlin (21-14) and Hartford Public (17-7). It moves up a class tonight as the Blue Dragons are a Class L contender.
East Catholic (1-1, 0-0 CCC D-III West) at Rocky Hill (2-0, 0-0), 7 p.m.: East Catholic was tied after three quarters with Platt last week before losing (40-26). The Terriers figured to be among the best teams in the CCC D-III and have played like it so far. It's also GOD'S OFFENSE v. GOD'S OFFENSE.
Northwest Catholic (2-0, 0-0 CCC D-III West) at Bloomfield (2-0, 0-0), today, 7 p.m.: Northwest needs a challenge as it's already routed two overmatched foes. Bloomfield could give it one.
No. 1 Ansonia (2-0) at Holy Cross (1-1), today, 7 p.m.: Speaking of teams that need to be challenged, Ansonia has won its first two games by a combined score of 106-13. The Crusaders have a good defense. It'll have to be great tonight.
Fairfield Prep (1-1) at Notre Dame-W.H. (1-1), today, 7 p.m.: Hey, it's the two teams No. 4 St. Joseph beat to start its season! Prep lost on a game-ending 42-yard Hail Mary touchdown last Friday (36-34). Juniors Joseph Ganim (6.25 yards per carry) and Colton Smith (6.6 yards per carry, 2 TDs) have led the Jesuits ground game. The Green Knights will hand the ball off to Cameran Tucker as often as needed. He ran 28 times for 243 yards and 4 TDs in a Week 1 loss to the Cadets (47-28).
Newtown (2-0) at Brookfield (2-0), today, 7 p.m.: Newtown's offense was a bit clunky in last week's 22-14 win over Bethel, odd given that it returned almost the entire starting lineup from its SWC championship team. The young Bobcats have already showed their potential. Sophomore Bobby Drysdale has averaged 12.1 yards a carry with 5 TDs.
Ridgefield (2-0) at No. 4 St. Joseph (2-0), Saturday, 1:30 p.m.: Ridgefield has been a consistent winner and has several offensive weapons. Will Bonaparte has averaged 10.3 yards with 6 TDs for Ridgefield. Jordan Vazzano has already thrown nine TDs for the Cadets.
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Jim Bransfield, Middletown Press: Middletown, Xavier have big weekend tests
Kyle Brennan, Waterbury Republican-American: Gimme 5: Keeping eye on some off-radar teams
Kyle Brennan and Mark Jaffee, Waterbury Republican-American: Week 3 predictions
Scott Ericson, Hearst Inc.: Ridgefield v. St. Joseph preview
David Fierro, Hearst Inc.: Greenwich football team hosts New Canaan in key FCIAC matchup
Michael Fornabaio, Hearst Inc.: Despite new faces, Bunnell-Masuk remains big rivalry
Dave Greenleaf, Bristol Press: Bristol Central set to face tough test in No. 9 Windsor
Carl Josephson, New Britain Herald: New Britain shoots for 2-0 start against Manchester, and, Southington ready for Simsbury's triple-option offense
Sean Krofssik, Meriden Record-Journal: Leather, lace and one fine line
Chris McLaughlin, The Herald: Newington trying to rebound tonight against Hall
Mike Pucci, New Haven Register: Notre Dame's Cam Tucker in top tier of state's running backs, and, his Week 3 picks
Kevin D. Roberts, Bristol Press: Huge challenge awaits for Bristol Eastern
Matt Straub, New Britain Herald: Plainville battles Platt with first place on line
Vaya con dios....
East Lyme returned just five players with any varsity experience and lost its first four games. It's made gradual improvement and downed Woodstock Academy last Friday, 42-7, its second-straight victory.