Seven high school football teams get ready for season at Immaculate jamboree

DANBURY — Seven high school football teams hailing from three conferences came together for a jamboree scrimmage at Immcaulate on Saturday.

ATI (Abbott Tech and Immaculate Co-op) hosted Amity, Bullard Havens/Kolbe Cathedral, Masuk, New Fairfield, Pomperaug and Weston as the teams rotated against each other for 24 minute cycles.

“The kids were excited and the coaching staffs were excited,” ATI head coach Chris Pace said. “There were a lot of teams from different areas competing with each other and it looked like a lot of teams haven’t really skipped a beat since they were last out there.”

With three matchups going on at a time on shortened 40-yard fields, the constant sounds of whistles, screaming coaches, and pads colliding were welcomed as teams rushed for as many reps as possible.

“Everything has been great,” first-year Masuk head coach Steve Christy said. “The kids are great and they are bought in 100 percent. When they buy in it makes my job easy. They want to play and they want to practice. They love this, you can see the excitement.”

Christy had been the offensive coordinator for Masuk during its 2017 Class L Championship appearance.

Despite missing four starters who were taking the SAT exam, Masuk appeared to be the team to beat along with Amity. The two teams split a touchdown each in their anticipated final matchup of the day.

“Today was really great because I was missing four starters,” Christy said. “Missing my quarterback and others because they have the SATs. It gave other guys some chances, and I like what I saw out of them.”

For some teams such as ATI and Pomperaug, Saturday showed drastic improvement compared to the teams’ first scrimmages earlier in the week.

“I like the intensity level I am seeing today,” Pomperaug coach Tony Pereira said. “We practiced against Woodland earlier in the week and today, getting a look at six separate teams, we knew the intensity level here would be a lot.”

Of the seven teams in attendance and each individual matchup, only three will meet again in the regular season.

“We don’t play any of these teams in the regular season, but I like the effort our kids are putting in,” Pereira said. “That is all I asked for today, effort and competitiveness and that is what I’ve seen.”

ATI and Bullard/Kolbe will go head to head in CTC play while New Fairfield will take on Weston on opening day and Masuk in Week 8.

“Today I saw a lot of good things and I saw a lot of bad things, but we are on the field and playing football,” New Fairfield coach Anthony Fata said. “The downside to it is we have to get ready for a season, and only one or two kids on this team as a sophomore got some varsity burn. It is a clean slate and we just need to get better every day.”

The day was a success in the eyes of the coaches who watched their players continue to work off the rust, and could become an annual tradition at Immaculate.

“I have spoken to some of the coaches and we want to continue to do it again,” Pace said. “It was a lot of football in a small amount of time. They got a lot of reps and playing time.”

“The best part was that I actually got to coach my team rather than facilitating and worrying about it going smoothly,” Pace said. “All the coaches are great guys and they kept the format of it. Everybody was there to get some work in, get out, stay healthy and get ready for the season.”