Prepping for Perfection: How Masuk football trains for the season

Every year Masuk football gets an early start on their season, immediately beginning summer workouts and pre-season preparation after the school year comes to an end. This year, the Panthers started team practices a week after last school year wrapped up, and continue to practice through the regular season and into the postseason. Practices take place four times a week- Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday, and run from June to November. Typically practices are fairly in-depth and very physically demanding. They include morning runs starting at 6 a.m., agility drills, play run-throughs and lots of time spent in the weight room. It is highly important that the players show constant dedication to the team, their coaches, and their teammates by attending these practices. In doing this, the players learn how to strategize and strengthen their team dynamic.
But what is a good football team without a fantastic coaching staff? After leading the team to a successful SWC win over Newtown last year, and a semifinals state championship run, head coach Steve Christy will be returning with hopes to lead Masuk to a state title this year. Also returning to the coaching staff will be the eight Assistant Coaches in their respective positions. Of the eight assistant coaches, six of them are Masuk football alumni. There has been a big effort in recent years to bring back Masuk football alumni to contribute to the program. Many have made the choice to return, which speaks big volume to the importance and the significance of the football program.
There is a lot of preparation going into this new season, and it all started fall of 2021. After coming up short of a Class L state title last year, the Masuk Coaches had big plans to make the 2022 season one of the best yet.
“Our goal was to put a lot of emphasis on getting bigger and stronger over the winter. We strongly encouraged our players to maximize their time in the weight room,” assistant coach and Masuk teacher Eric Giordano stated. “This goal was most definitely accomplished,” he affirmed.
This past offseason brought about many changes too. With the addition of two brand-new state football divisions by the CIAC, Masuk now finds itself out of Class L and now in Class MM. With some new competition in the postseason, it can be sure that the Panthers will have their work cut out for them.
Also returning to the team this year are many key players and the five team captains of their corresponding areas. Leading the team on offense will be Senior Dylan Jackson, who will be starting his second year as varsity quarterback. Jackson took over for Nick Saccu midseason last year and helped bring Masuk many pivotal wins against fierce competitors. With the Thanksgiving SWC win over Newtown and the massive 29-28 comeback win over New Fairfield, where Masuk was in a 28-0 hole before halftime. Also leading their respective areas will be Senior captains Aiden Clausen, Ryan Fedeli, Deven LaRoche, and Kyle Beckett.
“We’ve been working hard,” Jackson said. “Getting up early at 6 a.m. to condition at the field. We are improving not only physically but mentally as a team to prepare for the upcoming season.” Other coaches and players noted that they were working hard to prepare for the season and that everyone is amped and excited to begin the new year.
The Panthers played their first game of the 2022 season against the Trumbull Eagles on Friday, September 9th, losing 43-49 after a hard-fought second half. Bummed to lose their first game at home, the Panthers had a chance for redemption in front of the hometown crowd. On Friday, September 16th, the Panthers faced Notre Dame Fairfield under the lights. The game resulted in a 38-0 blowout with the Panthers coming out on top. Head coach Steve Christy divulged that after their opening loss to Trumbull, they had to improve their defense a lot.
“We did,” he stated “We made some adjustments, and we shut out a good Notre Dame team; the bounceback was great, the kids really showed their resilience,” Coach Christy also couldn’t say enough about Senior Quarterback Jackson.
“The key to this whole team is Dylan Jackson,” he exclaimed. “To me, he’s a top 5 quarterback in the state, and he doesn’t get any respect from the state for it”. When asked about his plans for the rest of the season and how the team is going to be working towards their goals, Coach Christy kept it simple:
“One week at a time, one game at a time; that’s our plans.” After another grueling week of chasing perfection, the players ready themselves for their week three opponent. The Panthers are scheduled for an away game against St. Joes on Saturday, September 24th at 1:30 p.m..

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