Bad Boy Rebels Kick-Off 2016 Tour
The Rebels enjoyed their most prominent season in school history last year, capturing an elusive SWC title in an 11-2 campaign. Defense was the key for a group that allowed just 116 points in 13 games (8.9 points per game). Kyle Brennan (26 tackles in 2015), Reed Oettinger (36 tackles, 2 sacks), and Jason Schretzenmayor (51 tackles, 7.5 sacks) are among returnees that hope to have a scintillating senior season.
“We are the baddest team out there,” exclaimed New Fairfield TE/LB Michael Farrell. “We are going to hit harder than any other team and we are going to make our mark.”
“We’re savages: all of us,” intimated RB/LB Michael Clark. “We work hard and we get it done in the classroom. We wait all year for football and we are ready for it.”
AJ Pearl (2 INT, 3 forced fumbles) and Mike Farrell (17 tackles, INT) are leaders in the linebacking corps—two parts of a senior class that includes 24 Rebels!
This group will need to be ready in a hurry as the Rebels open up on the road against a team that was finally dethroned as SWC champs after New Fairfield dealt Newtown their first regular season loss in nearly four years last November. CPTV Sports was on-hand when the Rebels knocked off the Nighthawks, 13-7, clinching a playoff berth for the first time since 2001. New Fairfield was able to triumph in that game and play for a CIAC title in 2015 (losing to Brookfield 21-14) mostly due to a strong graduating class.
“They were the hardest working people I have ever met in my life and I think this team, we should work just as hard as them to accomplish our goal,” said Farrell.
Brian McGonnigle led the Rebels in 2015 with 108 tackles. Zach Tripodi rushed for 2,191 yards and 26 touchdowns. Greg Radovic caught five receiving touchdowns, intercepted three passes, and exuded fine leadership qualities. New Fairfield will have to replace that production in 2016 if they want to repeat as SWC champions.
Russell Howard (6’1”, 255) is another guy that won’t be in the trenches in 2016 for the Rebels. Fata is expecting Brennan, Oettinger, Frank Cremonini, Will Magrino, and Joe McCluskey to anchor the line on both sides of the ball. Sophomores Kenny Caselnova and Zach Buffington (4 sacks in his freshman season) are expected to heavily contribute.
Senior Matt Palardy takes over for departed 2015 signal-caller Mike Zanca (60/110, 1,224 yards, 13 TD). Palardy attempted just two passes last year, but one of them was an 89-yard touchdown strike. Schretzenmayor, Collin Ford, and Liam Rattigan are among the weapons that Palardy will look to in an effort to get the Rebels back to the CIAC playoffs.
“He knows once he looks my way, I should be open, he could let it go,” offered wide receiver Liam Rattigan. “We are hoping a lot of wide receivers are wide open to make it easier for him.”
Coach Anthony Fata is eager to see if Palardy will be a major believer in his “build upon last year, not dwell on it” approach.
“Last year, a lot of those juniors were watching on the sideline,” noted Fata. “They are chomping at the bit. They want to get their reps in.”
What’s Your Favorite Burger?
Olde 37 Patio and Grill was home to a slider smackdown of epic proportions, Monday. Owner Carl Huben offered the CPTV Sports a bevy of burgers-five to be exact in mini-form (original, Olde 37-style, dip, chicken, and turkey).
“Our turkey burger is the best around,” exclaimed Huben.
He’s not kidding. Huben has doubled-down on this claim by including a special sauce on this lean-meat option: a lemon thyme delight. You can have this turkey sensation in your life tonight: mix Hellman’s mayonnaise, lemon juice and fresh thyme together and spread on grilled turkey. Serve on a warm bun and you’ve got a sensational Olde 37 turkey special.
I enjoyed the cheese burger slider with Olde 37 sauce, which is a divine concoction headlined by sweet relish. It’s a spicy blend that will surely satisfy your tastebuds. Should you make the sojourn to New Fairfield for the opening match-up between the Rebels and Newtown on Sept. 9, a stop at Olde 37 might make it all the more appetizing.
-Frankie Graziano, CPTV Sports