BRATTLEBORO -- Mike Hatt, the Brattleboro varsity football coach, said this year he’s got a secret weapon.
Strange as it sounds, it’s a former Brattleboro football coach.
Okay, secret’s out.
Charly McLoughlin, one of the most successful football coaches in Colonels history, has come out of "retirement" to work steadily with the team’s quarterback, Tyler Higley.
Higley is an underrated player, according to Hatt. The QB threw for over 1700 yards last year and did better than average in completions.
"McLoughlin has put a tremendous amount of time into working with Higley. He was really the last coach who had a lot of success with the team," said Hatt. "The two have been training together for the last five months. Higley’s been hiding under the radar, but this is his year."
The team’s official season begins this Friday, but the Colonels have already been testing themselves through practice and at a few recent scrimmages.
Brattleboro’s preseason game last week put them up against Burr and Burton, led arguably by the top quarterback in the state, Jake Stalcup. The team then traveled to Keene, N.H. this past Friday to face off with the Blackbirds, where the purple and white were again routed by a more experienced team.
"The Keene game is always a good indicator where we’re at," said Hatt. And while it is Hatt’s opinion that it’s still too early to
"It might be tough," he said. "We lost some seniors this year, but we were feeling pretty good after our first week of practice."
This would be a vast improvement over the team’s previous season record of 5-4, where they failed to make it to the first round of playoffs.
"We want to be a playoff team this year," said Hatt, in his third year with Brattleboro, and who once coached varsity football up in Springfield for the Cosmos.
Receiving those McLoughlin-inspired Higley-bombs and hand-offs as the Colonels look to enhance both their running and throwing game will most likely be Josh LaValley, Andy Harris, and Max Bostwick catching, and tight ends Joe Barrows and Phil Perkins helping out on offensive tackle.
As for the Colonel playbook, Hatt said he will attempt to make the team one of the first in the state to run a true offensive spread. This means a lot of shotgun and I-formations and quick huddles to throw off their challengers. A sometimes risky strategy that can pay off if done right, thinks Hatt.
The Colonels will debut at Essex on Friday at 7 p.m. Their first home game takes place in Week 2, when they welcome CVU on Friday, Sept. 7 at 7 p.m.
Brattleboro’s new defensive coordinator this year is Eric Libardoni. PE teacher Matt Mills, Chad Pacheco and Teddy Knutson are the team’s assistant coaches.
David Aquino can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, or by calling 802-254-2311, ext. 164.