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Assembling an all-state team falls somewhere between doing your own taxes and being kicked in the head by Anderson Silva. One has to be ridiculously meticulous, and it causes headaches.
It's always easy for folks to ridicule all-state teams, but just try to assemble a perfect one. NOT HAPPENING. It's unpossible because no one can watch tape from every game of the season.
Even if one could see every game, and had the keen eye of Paul Brown, their team would still be dissected by folks who thought a player was snubbed.
We gave that disclaimer before you read the 2013 Connecticut High School Coaches' Association All-State teams. Players were selected to one of five teams — the overall team (i.e. the crème de la crème), and the state's four playoff divisions.
It is one of three all-state teams — there's the Walter Camp, and the New Haven Register's.
Before we get to the list, here are a few players who weren't honored, and who everyone here at Polecat Worldwide believe should be recognized:
(UPDATED: Learned that Morgan's Jake Ward name was accidentally left off the Class S list submitted to the press. Ditto Newtown tight end Julian Dunn from the overall team. There may be further additions, too. As you were.)
■ Zak Jamele, Southington, linebacker (Class LL): The senior stands just 5-foot-8 and weighs 195 pounds. Dude wrecked opposing offenses like he was J.J. Freakin' Watt. Southington won the LL title because undersized defenders like him were willing to swarm to the ball like ants to a Popsicle stick. One of the best linebackers we saw this season.
■ Tanner Kingsley, Woodland, quarterback (Class S): Threw for a state-best 3,613 yards and 45 touchdowns for the Class S runner-ups. Completed 62-percent of his passes, too. His 240.9 yards per game wasn't as high as UConn-bound Logan Marchi (322 yard average), but he had a ridiculously fine season.
■ Joey Salemme, Seymour, quarterback-running back (Class S): Football is about getting the ball in your best player's hands, and the Wildcats had Salemme run the ball 305 times this season. In 11 games. Only Ansonia's Arkeel Newsome (333) had more carries, according to MaxPrep.com's data base, but he did that in four more games. Salemme finished with 1,913 yards and scored 26 times. Ansonia will vouch for Salemme — he nearly carried Seymour past the Class S champs in a 21-20 loss on Nov. 7. Salemme ran 38 times for 244 yards and two touchdowns in that game, and also threw a 44-yard touchdown.
■ Colton Smith, Fairfield Prep, quarterback (Class LL): The Jesuits' offensive revolved around the junior, and they wouldn't have made it to the Class LL final without him. He ran for 1,899 yards and 29 touchdowns and threw for 1,708 yards and 10 scores. Prep averaged 405 yards a game. Smith averaged 258 yards of total offense.
Now, for the coaches' teams:
Quarterback: Stephen Barmore, Southington
Running back: Mufasha Abdul-Basir, St. Joseph; Arkeel Newsome, Ansonia; Marcus Outlaw, NFA; Ervin Philips, West Haven.
Wide receiver: Alex Jamele, Southington; Nick Weissauer, Foran.
Tight end: Julian Dunn, Newtown.
Offensive linemen: Erlin Colon, Platt; Steve Hashemi; Ryan Hovan, Ansonia; Colin McKeown, Fairfield Warde; Joao Rocha, New Canaan.
Kicker: Kyle Smick, Southington
Utility: Dario Highsmith, Middletown.
Defensive line: Zach Allen, New Canaan; Connor Buck, New Canaan; Zach Maxwell, Southington; Jack Wynne, Greenwich.
Linebacker: Nick Crowle, Fairfield Prep; Cole Harris, New Canaan; Mike Jones, Capital Prep/Classical Magnet/Achievement First; Mike Root, New Canaan.
Defensive back: Harold Cooper, Hillhouse; Mike DiCosmo, New Canaan; Jordan Kowalski, Ledyard; Jai'Quan McKnight, Ansonia; Brett Phillips, Wilton.
Utility: Jack Shaban, Barlow.
Punter: Daly Hebert, Darien.
Quarterback: Nick Roberts, Trumbull; Andrew Tarantino, Newtown.
Running back: Will Bonaparte, Ridgefield; Cooper Gold, Newtown.
Wide receiver: Cameron Byrd, East Hartford; Ethan Ericson, Glastonbury; T.J. Hayduk, Trumbull.
Tight end: Andrew Chuma, Ridgefield
Offensive line: Otilio Berrios, Hartford Public; Tony Fox, Fairfield Prep; Jesse Ridgway, West Haven; Andrew Starr, McMahon; Nick Ward, Staples.
Kicker: Lyle Luth, Amity.
Defensive line: Matt Houpert, Hall; Josh Krapf, Newtown; Tuzar Skipper, NFA.
Linebacker: Will Garrity, Xavier; Brad Helmkamp, Simsbury; Ken Keen, McMahon.
Defensive back: Brian Gayle, McMahon; Nate Gonzales, Xavier; Will Johnson, Staples; Liam Moore, Trumbull.
Punter: Stephen Walsh, Fairfield Prep
Quarterback: Nick Cascione, New Canaan.
Running back: Jaylen Berry, Windsor; Tyzhan LEATHERWOOD, Platt.
Wide receiver: Jose Garcia, New London; P.J. Kokkoros, Masuk; Nick Lombardo, Darien; Cole Turpin, New Canaan; Tom Wilson, Hand.
Offensive line: Joe Allyn, Fitch; Charles Baldwin, Windsor; David Bednarz, Middletown; Joe Fraccaroli, Wilton; Kyle Porter, Bristol Eastern; John Tondalo, North Haven.
Kicker: Peter Swindell, New Canaan.
Defensive line: Ian Dieli, Hand; Mark Evanchick: Darien; J. Hunter Roman, New London; Kenny Smith, Bristol Eastern.
Linebacker: Andrick Bernadel, Bunnell; Stephen Griffin, Avon; Ford Linell, Guilford; Isaiah Tompkins, Middletown
Defensive back: Bryan Coney, Naugatuck; Kenny Jones, Farmington; James Murphy, Avon; Jason Nelson, Platt; Nico Ramos.
Quarterback: Jake Kasuba, Foran; Jordan Vazzano, St. Joseph.
Running back: Liam Clancy, Brookfield; Bobby Drysdale, Brookfield; Tony Ortiz, Gilbert/Northwestern Regional; Zach Poirier, Stonington.
Wide receiver: Khary Childs, Ledyard; Brandon Gauthier, Sheehan.
Offensive line: Nick Casagrande, Law; Zack Hubler, Foran; Ian Melvin, Bethel; Peter Mestre, St. Joseph; Louie Rodrigues, Brookfield.
Kicker: Juan Gomez, Barlow.
Defensive line: Calvin Daniels, Bethel; Alex Gallaer, Barlow; Mike Schuchmann, St. Joseph; Tarrol Stafford Jr., Hillhouse.
Linebackers: Justin Cheverier, Valley Regional/Old Lyme; Kevin Gazlay, St. Bernard/Norwich Tech; Vincenzo Marciano, Coventry/Windham Tech/Bolton; Austin Reich, Brookfield.
Defensive backs: Joey Hicks, New Fairfield; Chris Jean-Pierre, Valley Regional/Old Lyme; Lars Pedersen, St. Joseph; Nick Silva, Bethel.
Punter: Sean Deegan, Foran.
Quarterback: Logan Marchi, St. Paul.
Running back: Jeremiah Crowley, Montville; Chris Young, Rocky Hill.
Wide receiver: Tyrik Henry, Enfield; Chris VanKamerik, Oxford.
Tight end: Tom Seaver, Rocky Hill.
Offensive line: John Burke, North Branford; Jake Laliberte, Woodland; Antone Mack, Ansonia; Elijah Riley, Northwest Catholic; Zack Sirowich, Seymour.
Kicker: Greg Marzilli, Rocky Hill.
Defensive line: Derek Hawkins, Bloomfield; Jon Mumby, Bloomfield; Gerron Pendarvis, Holy Cross.
Linebacker: Harrison Bernard, Griswold; Levi Fancher, Woodland; Saiheed Sanders, Ansonia; Jeff Ziegenhagen, Plainville.
Defensive back: Andrew Jenkelunas, Rocky Hill; Hassan Penn, Prince Tech; Norvel Stewart, Bloomfield; Jake Ward, Morgan.
Punter: Mike McNally, Cromwell.
• • • •
One of the dumbest things one will hear this time of the year is, "there's too many bowl games".
There's never, EVER such a thing as too much football. You can stuff your eyes full of America's passion this week, and New Year's Day should be declared our country's national football holiday.
Today is a más impresionante day of football as everyone at Polecat HQ will gaze lovingly at two of the country's finest manufacturers of flexbone football — Navy and Georgia Tech.
The wonder kicks off at 11:45 a.m. when the Middies play Middle Tennessee in the Armed Forces Bowl in the great city of Fort Worth, Texas.
The Ramblin' Wreck face Ole Miss in the Music City Bowl in Nashville at 3:15 p.m.
Bristolvision will broadcast both games, of course.
We've hyperlinked a few stories for YOU to read about both the flexbone and the veer. The first three are by Chris Brown, a man so smart that he can dumb things down for hacks like the Polecat staff. The first is about Navy, the second and third are about the system used by Tech coach Paul Johnson (formerly of Navy).
Remember — KNOWLEDGE IS POWER.
• • • •
Thanks for reading. We hope to have more soon.
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.