Trumbull, Amity make most of unexpected situation

Trumbull coach Marce Petroccio and Amity coach Craig Bruno took turns addressing each team prior to taking the field.

Trumbull coach Marce Petroccio and Amity coach Craig Bruno took turns addressing each team prior to taking the field.

Bill Bloxsom / Hearst Connecticut Media

TRUMBULL -- Teams competing in 7 on 7 drills without pads was thought to be a thing of the past. It became very much the present for Trumbull and Amity when the non-league rivals met at McDougall Stadium on Wednesday.

The villain wasn’t COVID-19, but rather temperature in the high 90s.

Amity got off its bus grim faced. The echo of banshee-like yells from the Trumbull locker room seemed hollow. There would be no pads popping.

“You wait a year and a half or whatever it’s been for the players to hit someone else -- and we still can’t do it,” Trumbull coach Marce Petroccio said about receiving a text letting him know the school was following CIAC guidelines. “It is tough on the coaches, more on the kids.”

Amity coach Craig Bruno said: “I told my guys not to let today affect who they are. We’ll make the best of it. Let’s have fun. It was going to be a controlled practice, with hitting on the line and running plays. Not a scrimmage.”

Each took turns speaking with players from the other team.

Petroccio won three state titles at Staples before returning to coach his alma mater at Trumbull in 2018. Bruno led his Bunnell team to a pair of championships. He coached at Naugatuck, then joined Petroccio’s staff at Staples for the 2017 season. He took over at Amity for the 2019 season.

Each team had four downs from the opponent’s 40-yard line to get the ball past the 20 for a first down. Turnovers and mistimed plays over the first few possessions were replaced by efficiency as the offenses got into a rhythm.

Amity quarterback Patrick Coughlin worked the ball to his brother Jack Coughlin, wideout Clem Neary and backs Chance Starrett and Brendan Johnson. Trumbull safeties Owen Solano and Corbin Smith, with cornerbacks Jack Durland and Jack Kelly, were key defenders.

Trumbull quarterback Hunter Agoste spread the field with targets Nick Tuccinardi, Justin Delaney, Smith, Solano and Ben Carley.

The teams will give scrimmaging another chance on Saturday. Trumbull is scheduled to host Hillhouse at 11 a.m. Amity travels to Immaculate-Danbury for an 8-team matchup.

william.bloxsom@hearstmediact.com Twitter: @blox354