Football titan prepares for another strong season

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Middletown football has been a powerhouse in Connecticut. Every year countless sports writers rave about the team: phenomenal coaching, freakish athletes, and a chance to win it all. The expectations are always high. Last season, the team went 10-0 in the regular season for the first time since 1985. Despite the exceptional regular season, they suffered an early postseason exit to New Canaan in the first round.

This is a common theme for the football titan. The team consistently wins big in the regular season, but struggle to close out the postseason with a state championship. They look to turn that streak around.

This team starts with the head coach, Sal Morello. Morello has a tendency to draw talent out of every player on the field. “During the preseason the most important thing is building team chemistry,” said Morello. So far this season the team is 3-0 with commanding victories over Wethersfield (38-20), Bristol Eastern (41-7), and Hartford Public (44-7). Morello likes the way the team is progressing and hopes they can keep rolling down the stretch.

Senior captains, Stephen Hill, Brandon Campbell, Nygell Smikle, Jamil Ramirez, Osbourne Richards, and Michael Foster, are working to keep the team focused and eligible to play.

“We’re responsible for certain underclassmen. We stay on top of them about their work and hold them accountable,” said Campbell. These senior leaders are helping the team on and off the field.

Injuries consistently affect football teams; people play dinged up or miss a game here and there. However, it always hurts to lose a player. “The biggest one is Brandon Campbell, we lost him for the year,” said Morello.

Campbell is a senior, captain who always works hard and makes the team around him better. Campbell tore his ACL and MCL in a scrimmage before the season began.

Fellow Captain Hill said, “It sucks mostly because he always had energy in practice, no matter what. But most of all he worked so hard to get into that starting spot.”

“My injury has affected me greatly. Personally, it’s been rough being an athlete and being able to go about life and now I can’t even walk. Mentally it’s been draining because I haven’t been with the team and I miss my brothers. Something like this really does test your character as a person,” said Campbell
The team feels the loss of Campbell on the field, but he has stuck with them and continues to show his support on the sidelines. He does whatever he can to support his teammates and is a constant presence for the younger members.

The team has upcoming games against Bristol Central, Farmington, and E.O. Smith. They will round out the year with a game against Windsor. In recent years, the Middletown versus Windsor game has been a series to remember. Windsor always plays hard and this is a game to look out for.

When asked about any games he looks forward to Hill said, “I’m most looking forward to our next game. We try not to look ahead of the season and just worry about the next game.”

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