Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Housy grid coach Bayer learned from the best

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Say this about Deron Bayer, head coach of the Housatonic Regional/Wamogo co-op football team: In his days as a player, he had the benefit of instruction from two of the best: Jude Kelley at East Catholic High School and Paul Pasqualoni at Western Connec
ticut State University in Danbury.

“I was blessed to play for those two men,’’ Bayer said, rightly, last week. Kelley now coaches the St. Paul/Goodwin Tech/Lewis Mills Tri-op team. Pasqualoni went from head coach at Western to assistant coach at Syracuse. When his boss, Dick MacPherson, became head coach of the New England Patriots in the NFL, Paul, a Cheshire native, took his place as head coach of the Orange. He served from 1991 to 2004, very successfully most of the time, and then went to the NFL. He is now defensive coordinator for the Miami Dolphins.

When I caught up with Bayer by phone on Friday, he was about to board a bus with his team to travel to Great Barrington, Mass., for a scrimmage against Monument Mountain High School. But he had a few minutes to chat about this interesting and valuable high school co-op sports program, which he believes, as do I, is a very good thing all around.

“Well,’’ said the coach who grew up in Marlboro, “It allowed us to keep playing. We have seven or eight Wamogo kids on our team. They would have no chance to play high school football without the co-op system.’’ The whole squad membership totals about 35 players.

Housy-Wamogo gets a helping hand, cooperation, in other ways. Practice could be a major headache, but Housatonic teacher David Bayersdorfer takes responsibility for getting the Wamogo players to the practices in Falls Village. Bayersdorfer takes the school van and picks up the Wamogo guys at Goshen Center School each day, and transports them back when practice is over. Those rare times when Bayersdorfer is not available, Vinny Viscarelli does the job.

I could not make the scrimmage at Monument Mountain High Friday, but Bayer said, “On Sept. 26 we’ll be playing Wolcott Tech in your town (Torrington).’’ Uh-oh, can’t make that either; going out of town.

However, I have promised myself I’ll get to at least one Housy-Wam game – can’t wait to see the old single wing which Bayer uses again – and to games of all other area teams.

Bayer’s team was 5-6 last season and came very close to beating powerful North Branford. “They were 8-0 when we went down there and we took them to overtime,’’ said the coach.

While I couldn’t make Great Barrington Friday, I did get to Winsted in the late afternoon to watch Coach Scott Salius and his assistants putting the Gilbert/Northwestern team through offensive drills. Gilbert has a beautiful field, but the team uses a small half-field surrounded by woods near the school for practice. I watched a while, not inserting myself or disrupting the proceedings, and was impressed. I can’t wait for the season to begin. High school football is a terrific thing, which is why the co-op system is a terrific thing.

I owe a thank you to Peter Hoey, associate executive director of the CIAC in Cheshire, for sending me pages of detailed info on the coop system.

The Register Citizen
190 Water St.,
Torrington, CT 06790


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