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“Best football team” in Connecticut ramping up for 2023 season

July 11, 2023

The Cheshire Academy varsity football team was recently named the best team in Connecticut by MaxPreps, citing the 2023 roster having five of Connecticut’s top seven recruits in the Class of 2024 as one of the school’s strengths.

This year, the team consists of several top-talent student-athletes who have committed to playing at the collegiate level. And they’re under the leadership of longtime football coach Bill Mella P’26, who has coached at the high school and collegiate levels.

The five top recruits at CA include:

Luke Reynolds (No. 1), Penn State commit, No. 3 tight end in the nation, competed in the Elite 11 Finals in Los Angeles

Jerod Smith (No. 2), defensive lineman, University of Michigan commit

Jacob Smith (No. 5), edge, University of Michigan commit

Elijah Newby (No. 6), linebacker, University of Southern California commit

Dante Reno (No. 7), quarterback, University of South Carolina commit, competed in the Elite 11 Finals

Other key players for this season include postgraduates Christopher White ’24, Zac Zhang ’24, Michael Bowman ’24, Luca Antonio ’24, Nino Francavilla ’24, Eddie Dresch III ’24, Mattis Karrasch ’24, as well as other newcomers Teriq Mallory ’25, Cameron Covington ’26, Michael Buron ’26, and Vince Reno ’27. Returning members of the team include Bryce Hrubiec ’24 (Fairfield University commit), Garrett Reardon ’24, Jack McCluskey ’25, Chris Ortiz ’25, Marcus Richardson ’25, Jacob Calandruccio ’26, and Tristan Washington ’26.

“I’m really excited about the way that this team has already become a family. That’s a recipe for success,” Mella said. “These kids have been working hard. They’re communicating with and encouraging each other, they’re building a successful locker room, and that’s what you hope for as a coach because then you have kids who understand that they get to play this game and they get to practice and play for a championship.”