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Finishing what they started, Wolcott Tech six on a mission.
The six, Isaiah Harrington, Trevor Carlson, Patrick Higgins, Sebastian Walsh, David Sullivan and Matt Archer, first took the field as a unit when they were freshmen playing a junior varsity schedule.
When the group, who started this program as freshman, takes to the field on Saturday, September 18 at Windsor Locks, they have only one thing on thier minds: winning.
They have come leaps and bounds in just three short years, going from a program just trying to hang on to one that makes the other team understand they are in a war anytime they line up against the Wildcats.
Year one as a varsity program came the following year, and while they didn’t pick up a win on the scoreboard, the Wildcats started to make teams notice they were going to have to play hard against this team.
It all started with Harrington, who early in his sophomore year started to get himself noticed by running over people in his favorite direction; right up the gut.
“Sometimes we would like to see Isaiah try and take it outside and use his speed,” head coach Jamie Coty said. “But he just likes hitting people with his runs right up the middle.”
During an early season practice at Tech, Harrington was taking part in a drill that saw him have to get through three blockers before he got to the tackling dummy and the ball that rested on top.
Assistant coach Sean Dorantes watched Harrington make a beeline right through the three blockers to the prize.
“The difference between everybody else and Isaiah,” Dorantes said, “is that he looks to make contact. Most of you are trying to avoid contact.”
Harrington gained over 800 yards as a sophomore and was even better last season when he was very close to the 1,000-yard mark.
It became apparent early that the Wildcats were going to rely on some good old fashioned smash-mouth football as they built their program. Harrington is the perfect fit for that wish, and this year’s offensive game plan will be no different.
“Feed the Horse,” Coty said when asked who would get the majority of carries this season.
In 2009, the six originals came within two yards of pulling out their first win when they lost an overtime game at home to Windsor Locks, 22-16.
Carlson started out as the Wildcats quarterback in their first two seasons but was lost to an injury during his sophomore year and when he returned toward the end of the season, saw time at running back while Tom Notchick took over the QB reigns.
His speed and athletic ability have served him well on both sides of the ball, and he will be featured more in the 2010 offensive game plan at the quarterback spot.
Having Carlson behind center gives Coty three quality runners in the backfield with Harrington and another four-year player, Matt Archer.
Archer filled in last season when Carlson was out with an injury and played so well at running back that he made it hard for his coaches to take him out.
“He’s not real big, only 140 pounds or so,” Coty said. “But he works hard and worked well in blocking for Isaiah.”
Patrick Higgins has been a staple for the Wildcats over the past three years and remarkably has not missed a single practice, weight session or passing league camp.
“Patrick is our hardest working kid,” Coty said. “He’s become a good slot receiver who I think we are going to see more aggression from this year as he matures.”
Sullivan and Walsh have been rock solid linemen for the Wildcats over their first three seasons.
Sullivan has been at center each of those years, missing just two games at the end of last year when he sustained a concussion.
“He is one of the smartest players out on the field,” Coty said. “He knows what calls to make on the line and points out blitzes.”
Sullivan is on the defensive line or at linebacker when his team doesn’t have the ball.
One of the strongest players on the field, Walsh is a tireless worker at right tackle who wants the action to come his way, even in overtime.
“During that drive in overtime that came down to the two-yard line, David wanted the play to go behind him,” Coty said.
Three years in, these six have stuck it out when some others may have given up.
When the regular season ended after their sophomore years, there were just 17 players (two of them were hurt) left on the roster.
Having the desire to finish what they started has given rise to a program that is gaining momentum and now sits on a solid foundation.
This will be their last 10 games together and Coty thinks they will grasp what is happening each step of the way.
“At some point they will realize that this ride is almost over,” Coty said. “I expect to see the sense of urgency increase as the year goes along as they understand that this is it.”
A plaque will go in the Wildcats trophy case at year’s end, paying tribute to six players who helped form a program.