#TrainingCampTour Day III: West Haven

These guys want nothing to do with going 6-5 (like 2014) in CT’s toughest conference, the SCC.

Dreams Do Come True…Even If It Takes 30 Years

Rich Boshea is heading into his first season as head coach for the West Haven Blue Devils…about 30 years after he became an assistant under long-time mentor Ed McCarthy. Coach Mac officially resigned after 32 seasons as West Haven’s legendary head man back in May. Boshea won’t even try to replace McCarthy, a man whose teams won a state-record 332 games.

I find coach Boshea to be a very endearing man. You can tell that guy really wanted to be the head football coach of West Haven whenever it was his turn to take over.

“We are working a lot harder,” said quarterback Tim McCarthy (Ed’s son). “He has always pushed us a lot harder. We are working just as hard as anyone if not harder. We are barely skipping a step. Philosophy-wise, he is pretty much the same as my dad.”

“He’s not new to coaching,” added senior defensive end Marquis Lockhart. “It prepares us as if we have an upper hand because we have some one who knows how to control the team.”

Side note: Lockhart is an IMPRESSIVE public speaker and he is only 16 years old. He tells me that he wants to be an engineer and play collegiately at a place that has some hard-hittin’ tackle football. Hmm. I hope someone from, say Georgia Tech, is listening. I would ask him to provide analysis on Friday Night LIVE Football if he was not a student! But for now, he will try to best his 2014 mark of 111 tackles that he collected as a junior. In short, this is a guy that Boshea needs on his side to reach his players.

The new Blue Devils coach may have the same problem as the old one because he is also much older than his students. The question that always hung around Ed McCarthy: how can this sixty-something coach relate to his players? As it pertains to him, Boshea provided me with essentially the same answer that I heard from McCarthy when I asked him a couple of years back.

“I stay with the kids all the time so they keep me young,” explained Boshea. “They keep me on the ball.”

Timmy McCarthy and the Blue Devils may be a year away from competing for an SCC title, but they may get there sooner if hard work off-the-field translates to success on the gridiron.

Boshea’s initial attempt at building a winner with a couple of huge hires. He named Scott Benoit (former Hamden, North Branford, and Guilford head coach) his defensive coordinator. Next, he appointed Tom Unger (also a former head man at Guilford) as the Czar of the Westie Weight Room. Unger pushes his athletes to master three core lifts: the clean, the bench, and the squat. Take it from me on a first-hand account, the Blue Devils are very strong. Tackle Byron Dickens has a wicked-good physique for someone who is 310 pounds. I saw McCarthy and Marshall Davis have zero problems with 185-pound clean lifts. All of the guys on the team show a real willingness to spend time in the gym.

Where Boshea thrives is on the conditioning front. “We tell them all the time when they are sprinting, there is just no way around it, you have to run and you have to run hard and you have to run a lot,” he said.

The Blue Devils brain trust is hoping that by instilling an intense lifting regimen in the athletes, coupled with asking the guys to take an arduous cardiovascular approach, the young team will be able to overcompensate for a lack of skill and experience.

They will be put to the test the very first week of the season when they take on defending Class LL-Small champion Xavier-Middletown, Friday September 11, LIVE at 7 on CPTV Sports. The Westies were downed by the Falcons, 27-7 on the road last year.

“You can expect us to be flying around {against Xavier},” predicted McCarthy. “We are going to be ready to make plays. I’ve got a lot of confidence in all of my teammates. We are going to be in for a good year this year.”

What about Rich Boshea? Will he be ready for his first game as the official head coach of the West Haven Blue Devils come September 11th?

“I hope so,” intimated Boshea. “It’s been 30 years to get ready for this game so if I’m not ready now, I’ll never be ready.”

Follow the #TrainingCampTour as it happens on Twitter. Please check in to cptvsports.org nightly for other team training camp reports. For more on the West Haven team, tune in to the 2015 High School Football Training Camp special on September 4, 2015.