The Staples football team knows a couple of close losses cost it a spot in the Class LL playoffs a year ago. The Wreckers will get to avenge one of those defeats in the season-opener at home against Danbury on Friday night at 7 p.m.

That opener — later in the calendar than most would hope — is finally here. With the FCIAC season starting a week after the rest of the state, the Wreckers have almost had to wait until the true start of fall to lock horns in a competitive game.

“It feels like we’ve been practicing for three months,” said Staples coach Marce Petroccio. “I give the kids credit; they come to work every day and they’ve worked hard and have had great practices. We need to hit a different color jersey.”

Now that the game is nearly here, the Wreckers are focused on winning their first contest after dropping the previous two to Xavier.

“It’s been discussed and with nine games there’s even less room for error,” Petroccio said. “We understand what we have ahead of us; it’s time for us to be 1-0.”

They will also be looking to avenge a 35-24 loss to the Hatters from 2014, one that still lingers with team.

“We took it to them in the first half, and suddenly there’s a turnover, a bad snap, a dropped snap, and you look up and you’re down 11 points,” Petroccio said. “It was a bad day.”

It will be the first game for junior quarterback Andrew Speed, who got mop-up duty in 2014. Speed will help guide an offense with weapons capable of keeping the team in each of its games.

Some elements of the Hatters are unknown for Staples. A new coach (Alex Trasacco) and a new quarterback (Marvin Payton) to name two, but a host of familiar playmakers who torched the Wreckers for more than 400 total yards a year ago will be on the field. It wasn’t just the Wreckers that Danbury burned — the Hatters went 8-3 and nearly made the state playoffs as well.

Moving the football wasn’t a problem for the Wreckers against Danbury last year, but keeping it from hitting the ground was. Staples fumbled four times and didn’t come through in the final quarter.

The win should give the Hatters confidence they can upend the Wreckers again Friday.

“They’ll be excited to play and have a lot of confidence based on last year’s game,” Petroccio said. “We’re playing at our place, it will be a different aura. Our kids will be around.

Petroccio and Trasacco played together at Southern Connecticut and coached together for a year.

“He’s a great guy, he loves football and he’ll have those kids ready to go,” Petroccio said.

In addition to the new season, there will be a new video scoreboard overlooking Staples Stadium. The project was completed in the days leading up to the game and cost about $110,000 to complete.,