Skip to navigation Skip to content Skip to footer

Trinity Football Poised For Run At Fourth NESCAC Title In A Row In 2019

Trinity Football Poised For Run At Fourth NESCAC Title In A Row In 2019
Hartford, Conn. - Expectations have never been higher for the Trinity College football team, as the Bantams are poised this fall to become the first team to win four consecutive New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) titles since they first did it from 2002 to 2005.  Coached by Jeff Devanney (14th Season), Trinity has won eight games in each of the last three seasons, including an 8-0 record in 2017 and 8-1 marks the last two years.  Trinity finished 2018 as the No. 2-ranked team in New England and enters 2019 ranked No. 23 nationally according to Street & Smith's Magazine and No. 30 nationally according to College Football America.  The Bantams dominated their competition last autumn with five wins by over 30 points and seven victories by double digits, and extended winning streaks of 20 games or more against Bates, Bowdoin, Colby, and Hamilton.  Trinity returns 59 letterwinners and 13 starters from last year's squad, including senior tri-captains Austin Baiardi (Smithtown, N.Y.), Daniel Negron (Hartsdale, N.Y.), and Koby Schofer (Northbridge, Mass.) in 2019.  Seven players who earned All-NESCAC honors in 2018 will grace the roster this fall, and an abundance of talent on both sides of the ball and on special teams also return. 
 
Video Preview

The Bantams will play five of nine games at home where they have won 19 straight times this fall, but will seek their 23rd consecutive season-opening win at Tufts on September 14.  Four of Trinity's next five games will come against teams with sub-.500 records a year ago, before the Bantams close the campaign with a tough stretch of games against Williams, who beat Trinity last year, at Amherst, and versus Wesleyan in the finale on November 9.  Trinity will have a high-powered offense with two talented quarterbacks, a fantastic receiving corps, and a punishing offensive line, but must replace 2018 NESCAC Co-Offensive Player of the Year Max Chipouras '19 at running back.  Trinity's defensive line features two returning, all-league honorees among its top returnees, although its special teams will miss K Eric Sachse who graduated in May and is now competing for the starting job at Boise State as a graduate student.

Schofer and junior Jonathan Girard (Poughkeepsie, N.Y.) give Trinity arguably the two best wide receivers in the conference with 90 catches for 1,068 yards and 19 touchdowns between them last year.  Schofer is a two-time All-NESCAC selection and Girard graced the all-league first team a year ago.  Junior Dakota Foster (Hyattsville, Md.) and sophomore Devante Reid (White Plains, N.Y.) are also dangerous, and All-NESCAC FB/TE Joe Samuelman (North Andover, Mass.) has good hands with 12 catches in his career.  Senior Jordan Vazzano (Trumbull, Conn.) was one of the most productive quarterbacks in the league over the first half of 2018 after transferring to Trinity from the University of Rhode Island, while sophomore Seamus Lambert (North Andover, Mass.) stepped in after a season-ending injury to Vazzano and did enough to garner NESCAC Co-Rookie of the Year honors.  Vazzano threw for over 1,300 yards with 12 touchdowns in five games, and Lambert was 4-0 as a starter with over 750 passing yards, nine touchdowns and just two picks.  

Baiardi has continued Trinity's long tradition of dominance from the tackle position, earning his third All-NESCAC honor and New England Division II/III All-Star recognition while helping Trinity backs gain over 2,000 yards and average five yards per carry in 2018.  Sophomore Kalvin Guillermo (Lawrence, Mass.) stepped in as a rookie starter at the other tackle spot last fall, while senior guards Matt Evans (Whitman, Mass.) and Alex Wukovitz (East Hanover, N.J.) are both dependable and versatile veteran linemen with significant starting experience.  Sophomore RB Spencer Lockwood (Danielson, Conn.) is the frontrunner to replace Chipouras, having rushed for 425 yards, 6.4 yards per carry, and five scores as a freshman in 2018.  Samuelman plays a major role in the Trinity running game as a lead blocker, and speedy junior Colin Beaulieu (Bethany, Conn.) is dangerous as both a returner and a change-of-pace back.

The Trinity defense is perennially one of the nation's best and 2018's unit was no exception.  The Bantams finished third in the nation in total defense, fifth in scoring defense, and ninth in pass efficiency defense last fall.  No less than four Bantams received All-NESCAC honors on the defensive line last season and two return to wreak more havoc in 2019.  Senior DE Devyn Perkins had 38 tackles, 9.5 tackles for loss, and 4.5 sacks a year ago, while junior Jimmy Christiano (Middlebury, Conn.) added team-highs of 11 tackles for loss and 7.5 sacks at both end and tackle.  Seniors Josh Brito (Wayland, Mass.) Dan McKeeney (Westwood, Mass.), junior Dan Renaud (Herndon, Va.), and sophomore Hassan Azeem (South Windsor, Conn.) give Trinity fantastic veteran depth up front.

The linebacking corps is always a strength of the Trinity defense, and Negron will anchor the unit from the inside this year after leading the Bantams with 53 tackles to go with 4.5 tackles for loss in 2018.  Sean Smerczynski (Topsfield, Mass.) totaled 64 tackles and 8.5 tackles for loss in his first three seasons at LB and returns to the squad after a year hiatus, while senior R.J. Guardia (Somerville, Mass.) and juniors Charles Barsella (North Baldwin, N.Y.) and Xavier Francis (Bowie, Md.) all have quality experience.  Sophomore LB Brian Casagrande (Madison, Conn.) should step up in a major way on the outside, having notched 25 tackles as a rookie.

There will be plenty of competition for playing time in the Trinity secondary.  Senior CB Matt Patry (Medfield, Mass.) returns for his first year as a starter on the outside, and has 47.5 tackles and 15 pass breakups over the last two years.  Classmate Ian McDonald (Avon, Conn.) emerged as the starting cornerback on the other side and led the secondary with two interceptions, while sophomore CB Jalen Weathers (Chicago, Ill.) showed exciting potential with 21 tackles, three pass breakups, and one pick in his rookie campaign.  Sophomore Robert Levine (Catonsville, Md.) burst on the scene as a run-stopping safety with 31 tackles in his first collegiate season, while junior Matt McCarthy (North Reading, Mass.) was solid in 2018 with 30 tackles and four pass breakups.  Numerous other young players have the potential to challenge on the back end.

Sachse left his mark as one of the best placekickers in NESCAC history, but hopefully a spirited battle among senior Kimball Winans (Los Angeles, Calif.) and several young kickers in pre-season will produce an adequate replacement.  McDonald has been Trinity's primary punter over the last three years, and improved his average a full yard to 38.9 yards per attempt with 20 boots inside the opponents 20-yard line last fall.  Beaulieu gained over 500 yards returning kickoffs and punts, while eight different Bantams blocked some kind of kick in 2018.

NBC Connecticut Season Preview