The Shelton High football team reached the state final for the second year in a row last fall, finishing fourth overall in the state media poll.
This season, coach Jeff Roy’s Gaels will bid for their third straight Class LL championship-game appearance behind a core of veteran returnees.
Twenty-eight seniors return for Roy, who has compiled a 94-37 record in his 12 years as Shelton’s head coach.
Gone from 2015’s squad that went 12-1 are skill players Peter Hoff, Kevin Robinson, Chris Kanios and Sam and Alex Kirk.
However, a bevy of experienced players return, led on offense by senior quarterback David Wells. Wells started two games as a junior in place of injured starter Zach Tuskowski, then relieved an injured Tuskowski in Shelton’s 39-7 loss to Darien in the Class LL final.
“David Wells will be taking over full time at quarterback and he did a great job in the games that he played in last year,” Roy said.
Senior tri-captains Jonathan Sobotka, a running back/linebacker, center/defensive lineman Robert Valeri and linebacker/tight end Justin Greene will lead the way for Shelton.
Joining that trio are experienced veterans Anthony Schiavo, a senior wide receiver/defensive back, senior linemen Matt Liscio and Chris Goodman, linebacker/running back Ronnie Rich, tight end/outside linebacker Mike Cassinelli and placekicker/wide receiver Joe Zoppi.
Key returning juniors include wide receiver/defensive back Santino Durante and lineman Eddie Radzion.
“We need to develop the younger players and get them ready to contribute at the varsity level,” Roy said.
Shelton will also be playing a modified schedule this year, as the Southern Connecticut Conference realigned into three Divisions. The Gaels will once again be part of Division I, facing Amity, Branford, Hand, North Haven and Prep on the road, while Notre Dame-West Haven, Xavier, Cheshire, West Haven and Derby will visit Finn Stadium.
“We are looking to stay healthy and get better every week as a team,” Roy said.