NB Junior ‘Canes Led by Three Teams
The New Britain Junior Hurricanes will have three teams – fourth, seventh and eighth grade – in the Colonial Conference Championship game on Sunday in Norwalk. All three teams are undefeated thus far and are the number one seed heading into the championship game.
The Junior Hurricanes formed in 2011 as a way to breed future talent into the high school system. The organization works directly with the high school football program and head coach Tebucky Jones. According to Alex Torres, president, the program prides itself on emphasizing the importance of academics along with hard work.
“Our program sets the groundwork of what is needed to be successful at the high school by emphasizing the importance of academics, discipline and hard work. Tebucky Jones has been a HUGE supporter of our program and we have worked closely with him to ensure we are preparing these kids for the high school. We just hope that these kids stay in New Britain. Unfortunately, we’ve seen many kids leave to attend magnet schools or other schools outside of New Britain. “
To have one team in a conference championship game is a huge success, never mind three. However, Torres isn’t surprised by this and credits the structure of the program and the volunteers who come every day to make the program the best it could possibly be.
“Even though our program has been extremely successful the wins, losses and championships do not quantify how we evaluate our success. We truly believe the success of our program can be measured by the countless volunteers, parents, friends, relatives, community members that come together to support the league and these kids. New Britain has a wealth of talented young men and women and more importantly a wealth of men and women willing to volunteer their time and energy to support these kids.”
Besides being president, Torres is also the head coach of the seventh grade team. When asked to name his standout players, he named all 25 players, noting that they are equally important and all contribute to their success.
“I shy away from individualizing the game,” he said. “Football is the ultimate team sport and every coach and players’ role is vital to our success. We don’t allow our coaches or players to look past the next practice the next game. Everything we have done and everything we do is focused on how we can improve today for the next game. Our success is based on how we compare to the team we were the week before. This way of thinking allows our team to stay even keel – we don’t get to high on wins and we don’t get too low on losses. It’s never about the team we are playing. It is always about us.”
Torres isn’t doing anything special for Sunday’s game. Instead, he says that he will approach this game as they have done every game that they have played. He noted that if the players believe in their preparation, believe in the hard work they put in and give 100 percent effort on each and every play, they will be successful no matter the outcome.
Joey Miano is the head coach of the fourth grade team and praised several players for their great play on the field – Tomal Tillman, Mychael Tucker, Cameron Bond, Daniel Hernandez, and James Jones. Miano, who coached the team as third graders, isn’t surprised by their success because they went undefeated in 2013. Before taking the field on Sunday, Miano won’t pressure his team to win the game. Instead, he’ll focus on the overall picture of their hard work over the past several months.
“Win or lose, we are all proud of them for the hard work that they have put in. They are all great student athletes who deserve a lot of credit for handling school and football for the entire season. I know they’ll give it all they got on Sunday!”
Johnny Velez, the head coach of the eighth grade team, was not available for comment. If any of the teams win on Sunday, they will advance to the state championship game in Meriden at Falcon Field on November 2. If they win that game, they will compete in a semi-regional game, where the date will be determined later. Then, if they win that one, they will advance to the New England Regional Championship held in New Hampshire. If they are victorious there, they will then advance to Florida if they win that game.
As you can see, that’s a very long road, which is why Torres is stressing to his team and to Miano and Velez to take it one game at a time and to focus on the task at hand. Win or lose though, New Britain should be proud of all these players for the job they’ve accomplished not only on the field, but off the field as well.