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    Wednesday, August 17, 2022

    Saccone does it all for the Colonels

    Luke Saccone (4) of Ledyard intercepts a pass intended for Fitch's Luke Letellier during the first half of the Thanksgiving Day game at Ledyard. (Tim Martin/The Day)

    Ledyard — Ty Ebdon is a pretty sharp quarterback, having held down that gig for three years at Ledyard.

    Ebdon has also grown up playing football with Luke Saccone, his fellow senior, so he was asked if he’d choose to throw Saccone’s way when he’s playing defensive back.

    “No, I’d want to go James’ (Smith) way,” Ebdon smiled. “There’s a little bit of a height difference over there.”

    Saccone is 6-foot-1 and the Colonels’ do-everything player. Smith, a freshman, is 5-9.

    Saccone’s versatility makes him a little more lovable to Ebdon.

    “Kicker, receiver, (a) sick corner; lockdown corner,” Ebdon said of Saccone. “He’s the man.”

    Saccone and third-seeded Ledyard will play host to No. 6 Bacon Academy in Tuesday’s CIAC Class M quarterfinals at 6:30 p.m.

    Two-way players are still pretty commonplace in state high school football, most especially at the smaller schools.

    Saccone qualifies more as an iron man than two-way player for the Colonels (9-1) as his name is everywhere in their team statistics. To wit:

    • Thirty six carries for 465 yards and five touchdowns. That’s 12.92 yards per carry.

    • Eight catches for 108 yards and two touchdowns.

    • Seven interceptions

    • Converted 37 of 43 extra points.

    • Averaged 35.6 yards per punt.

    “I played soccer when I was younger,” Saccone said about his versatility. “My (older) brother (Anthony), he was an all-state soccer player. My dad, he was pretty athletic when he was younger, so I might have got (the athleticism) from him. Maybe it was just a mixture.”

    Whatever the case, Saccone has been indispensable. He was a highlight reel unto himself during Ledyard’s 55-20 Thanksgiving Day beating of Fitch. He ran 10 times for 170 yards and a touchdown, caught a 27-yard touchdown pass, kicked seven extra points, and had three interceptions.

    Saccone also set up the Colonels’ final touchdown with a 73 yard run to the Fitch 1-yard line. Classmate Devin Conde ran for a touchdown on the next play.

    It’s worth noting that Saccone had been a wide receiver when Ledyard used a spread set. Head coach Jim Buonocore felt that the Colonels were better suited to the run-heavy double wing offense, made famous around these parts by Fitch during Mike Emery’s championship reign.

    The double wing doesn’t have receivers. It has a wingback on both ends next to a tight end.

    There are three backs in the double wing — the A (right side), B (fullback), and C (left). The A is the primary back. The C back is the counter back and ideally the team’s fastest player.

    Yeah, Saccone is the perfect C back.

    “He’s got outstanding speed,” Buonocore said. “We’re able to get him the ball in many different ways. We can still get him the ball downfield by throwing, but his ability to run the ball now doesn’t make it reliant on getting (the ball) to him (only) by a forward pass. We can pitch it to him. We can hand it off to him.

    “He has all the attributes that you need as a runner in this offense.”

    Saccone will be one of Ledyard’s most important players when it plays host to Bacon Academy in Tuesday’s CIAC Class M quarterfinal at Mignault Field (6:30 p.m.)

    Sixth-seeded Bacon throws as much if not more than any team in the Class M bracket. Quarterback Sean Kelly completed 17 of 23 passes for 349 yards and three touchdowns against the No. 3 Colonels in Bacon’s 25-22 win on Sept. 29. All the attention to the passing game also allowed Kelly to score on a 6-yard run, too.

    Saccone got good practice against Fitch as senior Luke Letellier was targeted almost exclusively. He had six of his team’s seven catches for 70 yards.

    “I think that was probably one of the best defensive efforts I’ve seen in a long, long time on arguably one of the top receivers, if not the top receiver, in the (Eastern Connecticut Conference),” Buonocore said. “Letellier is a big, physical kid. He uses his body well. He and (Robert) Duncan do a nice job with each other, particularly on those timing routes and fade balls. And, from the get-go, Luke’s ability to take him out of the game really eliminates a large part of their offense.

    “Our plan was to help Luke under, help him over the top when needed, and then, in some cases, leave him on his own. He proved early that he didn’t need the help under or over the top, and what that does is it allowed us to keep an extra body in the box. That was obviously a key to our success on defense.”


    Twitter: @MetalNED

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