On the evening of November 18, 2011, under the lights of our brand new start-of-the-art Simosa track & field (you can read more about the dedication of Simosa Field here), Cheshire’s football team played Choate in a bowl game that would determine whether or not the Cats could complete their undefeated season and walk away with a New England Championship. The game, nicknamed the “Backyard Brawl,” pitted two local schools that had not played against each other in thirty years. Choate — a school three times the size of Cheshire — came into the game with a 7-2 record, hoping to spoil CA’s run at perfection.
Choate got off to a fast start in the game, quickly taking a 7-0 lead and eventually going into halftime up 14-6. Cheshire Academy found itself in an unusual situation; the team had rarely trailed all season—and never at halftime.
Everything changed after that halfway mark. The offense, which had made a number of uncharacteristic first half mistakes, finally started to click, and it became business as usual for the Cats! Malik Golden ’12, Leif Colberg ’12, and Connor Caponegro ’12 each caught touchdown passes from quarterback Mike Villapiano ’12, and Mike added a running touchdown as well. As a result, the final score was 35-14. Notable individual performances included that of Malik, who had seven catches for 140 yards and two touchdowns, and Mike, who threw for 372 yards and four touchdowns. Watch the WFSB-TV wrap-up here.
The Cats walked off the field having won both the Colonial League Championship and the Class B New England Championship. It was the school’s first ever Colonial League Championship, as well as its first undefeated season in exactly 50 years. According to Coach O’Dea, “the game showed the character and poise of one of the greatest teams at Cheshire Academy ever,” as they faced adversity and a talented opponent and responded beautifully. He adds, “It was amazing to be a part of this team.”
In the fall of 2011, the Cheshire Academy football team finished its first undefeated season since 1960 by beating Choate 35-14. The Cats finished the season 9-0! Cheshire Academy also had four students named to the 2011 New England Class B All-Star team — more than any other school. As for some of our key players mentioned above, see where they were recruited in our Signing Day write-up here.
For more stunning championship game photographs and the complete story, you can access the article, The Game, in our 2012 Spring Magazine. We're also hitting the big screen! For some behind the scenes action of what it's like to play football at CA, look out this fall for the nation-wide release of the documentary, The Hopeful, which follows the two-year journey of Cody Keith ’11, whose dream is to become a Division I college quarterback. Part of the film was shot during Cody’s time at Cheshire Academy and features his CA coaches and 2010-2011 teammates. You can watch the trailer here.
We can’t be more excited for thisfall-- we're looking squarely at another title. Hope you see you under the lights with us!