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Football 2019: CAPITAL PREP / ACHIVEMENT FIRST preview

[Vitals]

  • COACH — GARRICK MILLEDGE (First year)
  • CONFERENCE — Independent
  • PLAYOFF CLASS — Class M (Co-Op)
  • HOME — Multiple sites
  • 2018 RECORD — 3-6
  • 2019 OPENER — Sept. 13 vs. CREC at Annie Fisher MS Field, Hartford, 6 p.m.
  • TEAM WEBSITES — Maxpreps | TWITTER —  @focusmilledge (coach)

[Top Players]

[Key Losses]

OL Tyler Oney (Milford Academy); RB Jeremiah Taylor; LB/OL Roy Clemons, OL/DL Christian Malave.

[Outlook]

It wasn’t that long ago that Capital Prep/Achievement First was sitting on the pinnacle of Connecticut football. The Trailblazers literally did that, beginning as an upstart program in the mid 2000s and culminating with a 2014 state championship.

But the program has stumbled a bit in the intervening years. It was jettisoned from the now-defunct Constitution State Conference after 2016 and, in their two years as an independent, Captial Prep/AF has gone 7-7 overall, including a 2-7 mark last year, all while struggling just to fill out a schedule.

Then Capital Prep/Achievement lost coach Jason Mason to the vacant gig at St. Thomas More. Longtime assistant Garrick Milledge takes over and inherits a squad that graduated All-State lineman Tyler Oney among some other contributors.

But Milledge’s roster is far from bare. Seven starters return on offense and eight on the defensive side, including incumbent quarterback Solomon Barlow, a 6-foot-4, 200-pound specimen who had a great training offseason. “Solomon has put on about 16 pounds of muscle,” Milledge said. “His throw power has increased as well as his decision-making from watching him in 7-on-7 (passing camps).

“He’s definitely a scholarship player, whether it’s football or basketball.”

Jayden Delarosa takes over as the primary ballcarrier and Mahki Buckly returns as Capital Prep/AF’s top receiving threat. While Oney’s massive presence on the lines are gone, CPAF does return three starting linemen to help kick-start the team’s offense, which averaged just 8 points per game last year.

“Delarosa is a hard-nosed runner and moves well in space,” Milledge said. “He’s one of the most coachable kids I’ve ever had.

“Buckly has great hands and great route-running ability, similar to that of (former CPAF all-staters) Oneill Robinson and Jahkai Gill, who are both at UConn.”

Capital Prep/AF also has a cadre of junior receivers –Julian Ferguson, Bryce Williams and Kadeem McKnight — ready to make their impact.

Buckly will also see time out of the backfield as Milledge hopes to get his athletes into the open field where they can use their speed and quickness to their advantage.

Capital Prep/AF managed to fill its schedule with nine games again, although they’re still without a consistent home field. The Trailblazers will play Killingly for the third-consecutive year and will also play New London and Windham out of the ECC and Stamford (FCIAC).

While it remains independent for the time being, help is on the way. The Eastern Connecticut Conference admitted Capital Prep/AF as a football-playing member beginning in 2020.

2019 Schedule

  • Sept. 13 — CREC (at Annie Fisher MS Field, Hartford), 6 p.m.
  • Sept. 20 — at Killingly, 6:30 p.m.
  • Oct. 12 — WOODSTOCK ACADEMY (at Capital Prep Soccer Field), TBA
  • Oct. 18 — at Stamford, 7 p.m.
  • Oct. 25 — at Westerly (RI), 7 p.m.
  • Nov. 7 — NEW LONDON (at TBA), 7 p.m.
  • Nov. 15 — at Windham, 6:30 p.m.
  • Nov. 21 — LEWIS MILLS (at Dillon Stadium, Hartford), 6 p.m.
  • Nov. 27 — at Nonnewaug, 3:30 p.m.
Home games in CAPS
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