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Staples Football Is Up To Challenge Of Defending Title

WESTPORT, Conn. – The Staples High football team took home the conference championship and rolled all the way to the Class LL finals last season. But the best may be yet to come for the Wreckers.

A huge portion of its championship squad has returned, including Jack Massie at quarterback, Joey Zelkowitz at running back, James Frusciante at wide receiver, Peter Hoets on defense and Nick Kelly, who plays well at just about any position.

Despite the high expectations and stacked roster, head coach Marce Petroccio is making sure his players understand they will have a target on their backs all season.

Eric's Take: I've seen just about every contender in the conference in practice, and Staples looks like a team that will be playing in a different league. The team has high-pressure postseason experience, size on both lines and one of the best coaches in the state.

With nearly all of Westport's all-stars returning, I expect the Wreckers to be in the stratosphere and back in the conference and state championship games. The Wreckers just have to hold to Petroccio's one-play-at-a-time approach to avoid buying into those inflated expectations.

If things go as expected, Staples will shine brighter than the new lights at Wreckers Stadium.

Worst Case: The expectations get to the Wreckers' heads, and Darien takes down Staples in Week Seven. The loss sends Staples reeling and its playoff fate comes down to its Thanksgiving showdown against Greenwich.

Best Case: Staples shatters records on both sides of the ball, owning any and all comers. The Wreckers have a chance to do just that: defend their conference title and come home winners in the Class LL championship.

Key Players: Jack Massie at quarterback; Joey Zelkowitz, running back; Nick Kelly, running back, wide receiver, free safety; James Frusciante, wide receiver; and Peter Hoets, defense.

Big Games: Sept. 14 (Opening Night) vs. St. Joseph; Oct. 19 vs. Trumbull; Oct. 27 at Darien; Nov. 22 (Thanksgiving) at Greenwich.

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