#TrainingCampTour Day V: Capital Prep-Hartford

There is a lot of work happening in-and-around Hartford to improve the city. The defending Class S-Small champs are also under construction!

Blazing A New Trail…

We told you on Monday that the Capital Preparatory Magnet School had hired its second head football coach in school history. Jason Manson, last year’s defensive backs and receivers coach at CPMS, has gotten to work this offseason without last year’s starting quarterback Rayshawn Phillips (transferred to Bloomfield) and some great leaders that led the Trail Blazers to a title in 2014, like Sidney Jones, a linemen who played on both sides of the ball.

Manson told me that losing a Sidney Jones is always going to hurt because he was an ambassador for their football program. Jones forced 4 fumbles, sacked opposing quarterbacks 7 times, and made 79 tackles last season. He was named one of three CHSCA senior all-stars from Capital Prep and played in the Super 100 Classic this past June. Jones played for three Constitution State Conference championship winning teams at Capital Prep.

I believe it was the great American lyrical artist, Tupac, that once exclaimed: “…but life goes on!”

The Trail Blazers return two guys on defense that made over 50 tackles in 2014, Daniel Lebron and Edgar Torres. Lebron is 6’2″ and weighs over 220 pounds. I was told by a Capital Prep assistant coach that the goal for LeBron is to pick up 17 sacks this season. That is a lofty goal considering that the best defensive player in the state last year Zach Allen, notched 13.5 and Lebron collected 8.5. Lebron smirked at the thought of getting collecting 17, but the logic was simple: the junior wants to double his total from 2014 in his effort to be great for Capital Prep.

There is a leadership search underway at Capital Prep in the wake of the changes from last year’s Chris Fulton-coached championship squad. I was told that the Blazers had a very productive Camp Niantic National Guard Training Camp this past weekend. They were able to practice with other teams like the New Britain Golden Hurricanes. Coach tells me that a lot of the kids stepped up in a leadership role. Senior WR/DB Jakai Gill is looking at one guy in particular, Kyle Zajack.

“I’m just looking for him to be a leader,” said Gill.

Zajack was just 2 of 4 for 6 yards at quarterback last season, but he will get a lot of attempts in 2015,

Zajack will replace Phillips at quarterback this season, but only attempted four passes in 2014. He is a pure-pocket passer with a live arm entering his sophomore season. Manson put on an impromptu showcase for me so that I could obtain some footage for our 2015 High School Football Training Camp special that airs September 4, at 7 p.m. Let’s keep in mind that the boys had just been dropped off at school Saturday afternoon at 2 following an intensive Camp Niantic session that began Thursday morning. He could have thrown a pass or two and then went home, fatigued by the weekend’s events.

He made every throw. His accuracy was solid considering he had been practicing all weekend. His arm strength, though, was on-point. I can’t remember a throw that he did not make. He will have a good group of guys to throw to as well once the season begins.

“I’m a great rout-runner,” proclaimed Gill. “I can run every rout, but I like posts, go’s.” Gill is certainly not the most humble player, but he does not need to be when you factor in his resume from 2014. He collected 1,085 receiving yards and 15 touchdowns.

Gill (right) and Ross (left) were leading offensive contributors at their respective positions in 2014.

Jourdayne Ross should be a guy to look out for to catch passes out of the backfield as he does a great job of exploding to the ball. He was last year’s leading rusher with 808 yards and 8 touchdowns.

Manson should be very pleased that he maintains some integral parts from last year’s team. He should be able to improve his team right off the bat as he boasts an impressive resume in a very short time period. The former 3-time state champion Bloomfield quarterback is only 30 years old. He was Drew Tate’s understudy at the University of Iowa. Tate plays professionally for the Calgary Stampeders of the Canadian Football League. Manson has coached at several schools like Becker College and Central Connecticut State. He also has built a kinship over the past few years with the Trail Blazers.

In other words, Fulton has passed on the team to very capable hands.

Follow the #TrainingCampTour as it happens on Twitter. Please check in to cptvsports.org nightly for other team training camp recaps. For more on the Trail Blazers, tune in to the 2015 High School Football Training Camp special on September 4, 2015. Finally, Capital/Achievement will play in a game that will air on CPTV Sports Tuesday, November 3rd at 9 p.m. against Harding-Bridgeport.

It’s a new year at Capital Prep with a new coach: Jason Manson (left). They have a new goal: defend the state title.