West Hartford’s Conard High School Red Wolves begin the 2022 season at Staples on Thursday, Sept. 9, 2022.
By Paul Palmer
Conard’s 2022 football team will feature a lot of new faces in key places and a new nickname, but according to their coach they will play the style that is Conard football.
“The message to our kids has been play the game and prepare to play the game with great energy and effort and do it for each other,” said head coach Matt Cersosimo.
The team now known as the Red Wolves opened camp with some question marks at key positions, but Cersosimo said things are coming into focus as the team approaches week one. The first big question is who replaces departed quarterback Israel Lopez. Senior Brendan Grady and junior Julian Schneider have been splitting reps so far.
“We’re still looking at both quarterbacks and what they do well and using their strengths to our advantage. It is like having two quarterbacks,” Cersosimo said. After that, Conard looks to stay with their running back by committee using Jayviaun Dickens, Ben Lemieux, and Santana Edwards who will share the load.
A season ago, Conard went 4-6 overall, and 3-2 at home averaging just under 24 points, while giving up at average of 29 points per game. On the defensive side of the ball, Cersosimo’s squad returns five players who either started or saw significant playing time last season.
“The captains this season are tackles Ryan Bushnell, and Ian Black, along with Dom Gattinella, Declan McCann, Brendan Grady, and Joe Palisi. I look at all our captains first and foremost and I think all of those guys are going to be players we expect to lead but also perform at their best level day in and day out,” said Cersosimo, who is heading into his eight season. “If coaches can have expectations of them to do that, there is no reason everybody else can’t fall in line.”
Conard will open on the road in Westport against the tough Staples High Wreckers before hosting their next three games. The schedule features names like Cheshire, Simsbury, and Southington – and the traditional season finale with Hall.
“Each team is going to be a dogfight,” Cersosimo said. “I think when you are in the CCC and Tier 1, week in and week out is an absolute battle. The schedule is going to be difficult, but that is how I would want to script it. You go out and challenge yourself and that’s how you get better.”
2022 CONARD HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL SCHEDULE:
Sept. 9 AT Staples 7 p.m.
Sept. 15 VS Newington 6:30 p.m.
Sept. 23 VS Cheshire 6:30 p.m.
Sept. 30 VS East Hartford 7 p.m.
Oct. 7 AT Simsbury 6:30 p.m.
Oct. 21 AT Enfield 6 p.m.
Oct. 28 VS Maloney 6:30 p.m.
Nov. 4 AT Glastonbury 6:30 p.m.
Nov. 11 AT Southington 6:30 p.m.
Nov. 19 VS Hall 1 p.m.
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