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Correction: This article has been updated to reflect all of the 2017 graduates now playing college football.
For the first time in a decade, Newtown High School’s football team has a new coach, but a very familiar one, calling the plays from the sidelines. Bobby Pattison moves down from the press box where he viewed the action on the field as defensive coordinator, and up in the ranks as he takes over head coaching duties for longtime leader Steve George, who stepped down after last season but remains with the team to help as an assistant.
Pattison’s first assignment in his new role comes on the Pomperaug of Southbury field, when the Nighthawks kick off the campaign for a Friday, September 8, visit to the Panthers, beginning at 7 pm.
“I am extremely excited for this season. A tremendous amount of time and effort was put in to get better this offseason. Many of these kids have waited for their opportunity, and now is the time,” Pattison said as the preseason unfolded last week.
A season ago, the Nighthawks posted a glossy 10-1 mark, won the South-West Conference championship, and fell to Shelton in the Class LL state playoff quarterfinals.
Gone from that squad are 16 players who graduated, leaving big shoes to fill.
“We lost a lot of players to graduation including several that are now playing in college,” said Pattison, listing Ben Mason (Michigan), Seth Willis (BYU), Derek Ivey (Stonehill), Cormac Roe (Catholic University), Tommy Long (Castleton), and Alex Morganti (University of New England), as well as Hunter Cobb (post graduate at Loomis Chaffee). Justin Dunn, the team’s quarterback, was also among the graduates. “We have a lot of guys that will need to step up to fill key positions.”
Captains are quarterback Ryan Kost and cornerbacks Conor Marlin and Matt Dubois.
Other key players are seniors: running back Jack Miller, defensive end Alex Street, and tackle/defensive end Ryan Williams.
The Nighthawks have mostly dominated the South-West Conference in recent years, but Pattison anticipates plenty of challenges this campaign.
“I expect the SWC to be very competitive and talented this year. We also play two crossover games with Xavier and Shelton that will be great opponents,” Pattison said.
Read the full article in the September 8 print edition of The Bee.