Pictured: Chris Danas (14) reacts after another Middletown touchdown in an October victory over Farmington. Danas threw for a school-record 515 yards in the Blue Dragons’ 37-21 victory.
By Paul Augeri
In the playlist of Middletown High quarterback Chris Danas’ memory vault, October 26 of last year has got to be a go-to option.
That day in Farmington, with the Indians playing a lot of man defense, Danas hit six different receivers with surgeon-like precision and wound up throwing for a school-record 515 yards and five touchdowns in a 37-21 win over the Indians.
“I’m so happy Chris is my quarterback,” junior Anthony Pappa, who caught three balls for 105 yards, said after the win over Farmington.
Middletown typically has been a run-first offense over the years, but coach Sal Morello used the 6-foot-4 Danas’ arm to full effect in 2019. He threw for 2,405 yards and received All Central Connecticut Conference recognition in Division II at season’s end.
Not too shabby for a one-year starter.
Danas will get the opportunity to play at the next level, too, at NCAA Division III Framingham State. The Rams were champions of the Massachusetts State College Athletic Conference (MASCAC) last year and have qualified for the D-III championship tournament the last two seasons.
“Chris had a short window at quarterback and made the most of his opportunity,” Morello said. “He had a year to start and he maximized it. He’s a hard worker, a student of the game and I really think he can have an outstanding career at Framingham. He’s growing still. His arm strength is still improving and he’s a good-sized kid. I’m so happy for him.”
Two of Danas’ Blue Dragons teammates – two-way lineman Brady Foster (Western New England) and receiver Kristian Glemaud (Western Connecticut State) also announced their college choices recently. Middletown’s roster numbered just seven seniors.
At Western New England, Foster, who led Middletown in tackles and sacks, will join a roster that includes three former Blue Dragons – linebackers Stephen Hill Jr. and Jay Nanfito, and offensive lineman Cam Barrett.
The Golden Bears have reached the Division III playoffs each of the last five years and own the last three Commonwealth Coast Conference titles.
“Foster is a late bloomer who has gotten bigger and is still growing,” Morello said. “That school is a great fit for him. It’s a good brand of football. Brady will fit in and get better and better.”
Glemaud also played defensive back as a senior. “Kristian had a good mix of size and speed, and I think this year he really started showing us what he can do – catching the ball in the middle of field and outrunning defensive backs,” Morello said.
“I really think at some point all three can get on the field for their teams and play well.”
In Morello’s nearly two decades as a head coach between Cromwell/Portland and Middletown, he counts just three players who went on to play Division I football: lineman Randell Bennett at Grambling State, linebacker Isaiah Thompkins at Brown and receiver Tyshaun James at Central Connecticut.
“You’d be surprised at the responses of the kids who come back (and see him) and say that Division III football is no joke,” Morello said. “Division I is a different animal. And for some to step on a Division II field, they’ll have trouble getting on.
“The hard part with young people is finding the right academic fit and finding the right fit where they can play collegiately. “Number one, they have to continue their educations, and number two, they have to put themselves into positions where they can compete at that next level and have a good career.”