Football - Varsity
The Wilbraham & Monson Academy football program has a long and proud tradition. There is a place for both beginning and experienced players in our program as we offer football at both the varsity and junior varsity level.
The varsity program joined the Evergreen League, which consists of a highly-competitive schedule against some of the top prep schools in New England and New York.
In this league, we will continue to play traditional rivals such as Berkshire School, Canterbury School and Albany Academy.
At WMA, we strive to teach unity, work ethic, character, sportsmanship and most importantly to have fun playing a truly great TEAM game. Each individual is challenged to make himself and the team better everyday, while learning teamwork, discipline, sacrifice and personal growth. In practice, we focus on building excellent fundamentals, playing fast and aggressive, and creating a team-first mentality and atmosphere.
We run a spread offense with a balanced running and passing attack. We utilize multiple one and two back sets (with 3-4 wide receivers) with the QB primarily in the shotgun. The goals of the offense are to score points, protect the ball and change field position. Defensively, we play an aggressive eight-man front with multiple blitz packages, while the secondary plays both man and press man, as well as zone coverages. The goals of our defense are to stop the run, pressure the quarterback and create turnovers. Every player learns an offensive and defensive position along with multiple roles on special teams.
Letter from WMA football parent Harmony Palmer to Coach Vartabedian
Dear Coach Vartabedian,
I wanted to express to you my wholehearted gratitude and appreciation for everything this year. The opportunity, education, coaching, guidance and experience that WMA has given my son this year will forever be in our hearts and full of great warm memories.
Last year, Joel was very hesitant on college: choosing one, his interest in college visits and researching them, his future's direction on which college, would he choose the right one, would he be able to play college athletics, etc … This year has solidified that going to WMA was the correct path. Joel has grown so much into a "man," and he took the initiative with the whole college process that I couldn't be any more proud than I am. His growth into a fine young man has awed me because I thought he was distinguished before attending WMA and now he has become even greater due to being a WMA graduate.
I also wanted to thank you for taking a chance on Joel - recruiting him and wanting him to be part of your team. He has learned a lot from you and the rest of the coaching staff that his football ability and understanding of the game has enhanced, broaden and grown so much this year. You have given my son many opportunities and you prepared him so well to play at the next level and nothing I can do can ever repay you for that. But I'm sure Joel can, though, by playing well at the next level and all the while getting his education with high honors, also. Thank you!
He is very eager to start the next journey of his life in college and hitting the field, and I am very confident in his choice of college and the path he is on his way to. He has not taken a moment off from training, working out and eating healthy since returning home.
So, in conclusion, I just want to thank you for giving him the opportunity to attend WMA and fulfilling his high school ambitions and being a part of all of your lives at WMA.
Max Alpert ’15 - Merrimack College
Jaelon Blandburg ’16 - Brown University
Alex Claudio ’17 - Bryant University
Anthony Costa ’17 - Bates College
Joel Diaz ’14 - Bryant University
Dylan Dupont ’16 - Union College
Caelan Etti ’17 - Bowdoin College
Jack Faulstick ’16 - Amherst College
Anthony Garro ‘15 - University of Rhode Island
Sam Hart ’12- Amherst College
Eddie Jewel ’09 - Monmouth University / Bridgewater State University
Xavier Jones ’17 - Stonehill College
Peter LaBracio ’18 - Dickinson College
Rickey Moore ’10 - Sacred Heart University
ShaCor Privott ’14 - Central Connecticut State University
Alan Williams ’08 - University of Massachusetts
Jeff Vartabedian has been Head Coach of the Titans football program for the last 12 years. He serves as the Titans' Offensive Coordinator in a spread offense.
Jeff led the team to a 7-2 record and trip to a Super Bowl in 2016, its first title game appearance since 2007.
He came to WMA with 14 years of college coaching experience at Division IAA, II, and III schools including the Ivy League and New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC).
Jeff began his career as a graduate assistant coach with NCAA Division II Springfield College, while earning a master’s degree in athletic administration. From Springfield, he went to Princeton University, where he was tight ends coach for the 1994 and 1995 teams with a record of 15-4-1 and the 1995 Ivy League Championship to their credit.
The teams at Trinity College and SUNY Cortland, both Division III schools where he was offensive line coach in 1996 and 1997, had winning records and postseason appearances, with Trinity crowned NESCAC co-champions in 1996.
In 1998, Jeff moved to Division III Bates College, where he was offensive coordinator for eight years before joining the Wilbraham & Monson faculty. During his tenure, Bates took the Colby-Bates-Bowdoin Championships twice, in 1999 and 2002.
Jeff is an athlete in his own right. He played football, basketball and outdoor track at Arlington High School from 1984 to 1988, and football at Springfield College, where he was the Keith Scholar-Athlete Award winner and the recipient of the Coaches’ Award. Jeff lives on campus with his wife, Danielle, and children Savannah, Laurel and A.J.
Jim Irzyk, the Titans' Defensive Coordinator and on staff for the last five years, played football at Westfield High School and Deerfield Academy. He was selected to All-Western Mass. football team as a senior at WHS. Coach Irzyk began his coaching career at Cushing Academy, where he was an assistant before being hired as the head coach. He left Cushing for a coaching job in Brussels, where his teams won two international school football titles. He was hired as the head coach at Choate in 1998. During his 15 seasons, Choate won the Class A title in 1990, 1991 and 1994. Two of Coach Irzyk's players from Choate (Jim Pyne and Tim Fleisher) played professional football.
Michael Harrison has been on staff for more than 10 years, serves as the head junior varsity coach and varsity WR/DB coach. He played football at Greenfield High School during the 1990s. After graduating from the University of Massachusetts, he was instrumental is starting the youth football program in Greenfield. Upon moving to Wilbraham, he was hired to run the Academy's food service program, and also served as an assistant coach for Boys' Basketball. Michael joined the Football staff when Coach Vartabedian was hired in 2007. Michael lives in Wilbraham with his wife, Jane, and three daughters, Sydney, Shea and Peyton.Jim Clifford
ShaCor Privott '14
Amherst College, American International College, Assumption College, Bates College, Bowdoin College, Bentley University, Brown University, Bryant University, Central Connecticut State, Hobart and Smith Colleges, Merrimack College, Monmouth University, Occidental College, Ohio Wesleyan, Sacred Heart, Saint Anselm College, St. Lawrence University, Southern Connecticut State University, Springfield College, Stonehill College, Temple University, Union College, University of La Verne, University of New Haven, University of Maine, University of Massachusetts, University of Rhode Island
Zion Setal - All-New England, NEPSAC Class B Independent First Team
John Wright - All-New England (Honorable Mention), NEPSAC Class B Independent First Team
Anthony Tivnan - NEPSAC Class B Independent Second Team
Dante Leo - NEPSAC Class B Independent Second Team
Super Bowl season
The Titans' Varsity Football team finished the season with a 7-2 record, qualifying for its first Super Bowl game since 2007. Check out the game story here from the exciting title game against Belmont Hill School.
2011 Craig Martin - All-New England Class B and All-Colonial 1st team Sam Hart - All-Colonial 1st team Jared Osumah - All-Colonial 2nd team Shacor Privott - All-Colonial 2nd team 2010 Kyle Sweeting - All-New England Class B, All-Colonial 1st team Jared Osumah - All-Colonial 1st team Keoni Colson - All-Colonial 2nd team Davian Madho - All-Colonial 2nd team 2009 Trevor Treibt - All-New England Class B, All-Colonial 1st team Rickey Moore Jr. - All-Colonial 1st team Travis Treibt - All-Colonial 2nd team Peter Pascarelli - All-Colonial 2nd team 2008 Eddie Jewel - All-New England, All-Colonial 1st team Nick Dalton - All-Colonial 1st team Aaron Haas - All-Colonial 2nd team Will Edwards - All-Colonial 2nd team 2007 Lorden Samson Bowl, Class M finalist Ezra Bynam - All-New England, All-Colonial 1st team Joel Penney - All-New England, All-Colonial 1st team Alan Williams - All-New England, All-Colonial 1st team Nickolas Dalton - All-Colonial 1st team Mike Simons - All-Colonial 1st team Devin Gordon, Andrew Harvey, Eddie Jewel - All-Colonial 2nd team Ian Carlin - Frank L. Boyden Award
The Titans earned a hard-fought victory, prevailing 22-6 on a cold and rainy Saturday night under the lights at home. Despite the weather, the Titan offense managed to use a balanced attack to move the ball on the ground and in the air, while the defense kept the Tilton offense off the scoreboard for much of the game. The Titans were again led by Matt Banbury '19, who rushed for two touchdowns and a two-point conversion, while connecting with Wyatt Jackson '19 for an 11-yard score, all in the first half. Meanwhile, the defense shut out the visiting team the entire first half, and dominated field position. The second half saw Tilton battle back, but the Titans managed to keep a two-score lead the entire way. Defensively, Jackson had a big day, finishing with five tackles, a sack, an interception, and a pass break up, while Aidan Held '21 also had a strong day at defensive end, tallying five tackles (two for loss) and a sack. Hudson Perham '22 had a very strong day at outside linebacker as well, containing the edge on numerous outside run plays and making a huge stop on fourth down late in the game.
The Titans played their second home night game in a row as they took on Albany Academy. After being down 17-0 late in the first half, the Titans scored an improbable 16 points in the half's final 18 seconds. After a strong drive by the offense, Matt Banbury '19 capped it off with a six yard touchdown scramble from his QB position. He then proceeded to run in the two-point conversion to make the score 17-8. Ayinde Turner '20 made a great effort to recover the ensuing squib kick, giving the Titans possession at Tilton’s 34-yard line with only 7 seconds left on the clock. On the next play, Banbury connected with Wyatt Jackson '19 for another WMA touchdown. Banbury passed to Nick Gleason ‘20 for the conversion, making the score 17-16, and giving the Titans plenty of momentum going into halftime. The second half started with defensive end Aidan Held ‘21 recovering a fumble to give the Titans possession inside Albany’s 10-yard line. The offense took advantage as Banbury ran it in from three yards out and passed to Myles Everson ‘19 for the conversion, putting the Titans up 24-17. Albany fought back with a field goal in the third quarter and a long run in the fourth quarter to take the lead 27-24. The offense drove the ball inside Albany’s 25 late in the fourth, but was unable to find the end zone. Banbury had an impressive 22 carries for 156 yards, two touchdowns and a two-point conversion, while passing for another touchdown and two conversions. Will Crocker ‘20 had a strong game on defense, finishing with 7 tackles (2 for loss), 1 sack and a QB pressure. Held added 5 tackles, 2 forced fumbles and a fumble recovery, while Gene Kang '20 had 7 tackles, and Rohan Heron '19 was a big boost for the offensive and defensive line in his first game back.
The Titan football team took to the road for the season finale to take on Canterbury School for another game under the lights. Unfortunately, Canterbury’s run game was too much for the Titan defense to contain, as the host team jumped out to a formidable first half lead. The Titan offense was able to move the ball consistently throughout the game, as the passing game looked very good. The offensive line of Rohan Heron '19, Tristan Lynch '20, Will Crocker '20, Matt Clifford '22, and Sam Zabolotnij '19, as well as running back Nick Morin '21 provided very good pass protection for much of the game, helping QB Matt Banbury '19 and WR Wyatt Jackson '19 finish with season highs in passing and receiving, respectively. Banbury finished 25 for 47 passing, 327 yards, 3 TD’s, and 2 two-point conversions, as well as a rushing TD and two-point conversion. Jackson recorded 16 receptions for 244 yards, 2 TD’s and a conversion, while Aidan Held '21 hauled in 6 passes for 55 yards, 1 TD and a conversion. On the defensive side, Zabolotnij tallied 7 tackles, Banbury had 6 tackles and a forced fumble, Afsheen Zarrin '20 recorded 5 tackles. Matt Clifford ‘22 and Held each recovered a fumble.