STAMFORD, Conn. – Trinity Catholic football coach Pete Stokes received one of the highest honors of his coaching career this week. And Saturday he's hoping his Crusaders can win their second city title since he became head coach in 2009.
Stokes, whose Crusaders (4-0) play Stamford (2-2) at 1 p.m. Saturday at Trinity, was named the Lou Rettino High School Football Coach of the Week by the New York Giants.
Named for a former New Jersey high school coach, the award is given each week to a high school coach in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut. It recognizes the coach’s commitment to promoting youth football, developing motivated student-athletes and being involved in the community. One coach will be named Coach of the Year at the end of the season and receive $2,000 for his school’s football program.
Stokes, who took over for Bryan Fox, is having his best season yet with the Crusaders. Their four victories have already matched their season-high under Stokes, whose 2009 team went 4-6. Trinity has gone 3-7 each of the past two years.
The Crusaders stunned New Canaan, 31-28, in the second week of the season and have continued to roll. They lead the race for the Class S state playoff berths. Senior running back Shaquan Howsie, who missed most of last season with an injury, has rushed for 402 yards and seven touchdowns this year. Senior quarterback Danny O’Leary and sophomore running back Randy Polonia are the other skill position standouts for the Crusaders. Cody Zaro, Matt Christensen, Sean Brown, Riley Kinahan and David Deleo are the defensive leaders.
Saturday’s game is critical for the Crusaders as they chase a state playoff berth. Trinity still has games remaining against powerful Darien and St. Joseph. The Crusaders also have Fairfield Warde, Bassick and Wilton on their schedule. Trinity could make the state tournament with one loss, perhaps two. Anything more than that would likely its state playoff plans.