Pictured: Seven college-bound players from the Coginchaug co-op football program took time to gather for a group shot Friday. Back row from left: Terence Murphy, Evan Faiella, Tyler Garretson; front row: Dean Fontano, Aaron Faiella, AJ DeFilio and Jackson Moore.

By Paul Augeri

DURHAM — They haven’t seen the last of each other.

Seven seniors from the Coginchaug/Hale-Ray/East Hampton football team gathered Friday to celebrate the jump each is making to play at the next level. They wore apparel representing their new school and enjoyed photo ops with their families.

The number of players getting an opportunity to play beyond the co-op program is unprecedented.

The 2020 high school football season was canceled because of the pandemic, meaning the Blue Devils were bound to be the best team, at least locally, that we’ve never seen play. In 2019, the team won seven games. With nearly its entire offensive and defensive units returning,

Come next fall:

Quarterback Aaron Faiella will play at Salve Regina in Newport, Rhode Island.

His brother, Evan, will do a post-grad year at St. Thomas More in Montville and play football and baseball.

Tyler Garretson will be a pass catcher of some sort – at tight end or receiver – at the University of New England in Biddeford, Maine.

AJ DeFilio will join Garretson at New England as a receiver.

Jackson Moore is committed to Endicott College in Beverly, Mass. The Gulls’ roster includes former Cromwell/Portland players Kevin Hinkle and Ismar Kandic.

And Dean Fontano as a linebacker, and Terence Murphy as a receiver, are headed to Nichols College. Fontano, of East Hampton, and Murphy both started high school at Xavier and reconnected as football players in the Coginchaug program.

Salve, Nichols, Endicott and UNE are all members of the Commonwealth Coast Conference, a collection of NCAA Division III schools that includes Western New England, Husson, Curry and Becker, although Becker announced in March that it would cease operations in August.

If you want to see a former Blue Devil play this fall, here’s the CCC’s composite 2021 schedule.

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