Win Against Deerfield Energizes Varsity Football

Although down 20-14 against Deerfield halfway through the fourth quarter, the Varsity Football team had a lot of fight left in it. James Corcoran ’20 made an impressive catch in the corner of the endzone to tie the game at 20; however, the team missed the opportunity for the extra point, and the game went into overtime.
After scoring a touchdown and converting the extra point, Hotchkiss’s defense finished the job. On Deerfield’s second play in overtime, Scott Rosati ’20 tipped the pass into the hands of co-captain Bo Zeigler ’20, who made the game-winning interception to notch the Bearcats’ first win since 2017.
The team is benefitting from new talent on both sides of the ball. Head Coach Danny Smith highlighted three new additions to the team: Michael Bright ’20, Ethan Vashel ’21, and Rosati, who bring both talent and experience to the squad.
Andy Tieso ’20 praised Vashel, saying that he is “stepping into a role that we really needed to improve upon this year.” Coach Smith added that “the kids have responded well to him.” The success that the team has seen thus far has relied not only on some of the new talent, but also on the strong leadership exhibited by many of the Upperclass students.
Co-captains Ryan Sellew ’21, Lucas Mastrodomenico ’20, and Zeigler, along with the other Seniors, have worked to create a “buy-in” culture, which has resulted in more productive practices and the team working as a more cohesive unit. Coach Smith said, “It’s real this year. My experience has been that when you get [buy-in], good things happen. The younger kids buy in, the older kids buy in, the new kids, the returning kids. Some years, it’s hard to capture that, [but] right now we seem to have really strong Senior leadership.”
One component that will be vital to the team’s success will be making sure that all the players avoid injury. Zeigler pointed out that “size and depth are two things we cannot control, so it is important that we are staying healthy.”
The strong Senior leadership will allow the team to reach one of its goals: beating Taft. In recent weeks, the team has only lost to Brunswick and Salisbury, who are known to be a perennially strong contenders in New England. Against Brunswick, the team came within one touchdown of a win, and answered back the week after, capturing a victory over Deerfield in overtime.
The combination of new players, an improved culture, and strong leadership gives the team the oppurtunity to avenge some of last season’s losses and move forward from the team’s game against Salisubry this past Saturday.
After losing to Avon last season, the football team hopes to continue its success in a home game against Avon tomorrow, on October 12 at 3:00 pm.