Southington head football coach Mike Drury refers to Johnny Carreiro as one of the emotional leaders of the team’s defense.
And that’s just fine with the senior defensive back.
“I like to bring the noise. I like to bring the energy. I like to be the battery,” Carreiro said. “If we’re on the goal line, I like to be the guy who still might be talking trash even if you got us on the ropes.”
That was certainly the case as the Blue Knights scrimmaged against Maloney in one of their final tune ups against an opposing team before the start of the regular season. It didn’t take long for Carreiro to start shouting in excitement when his teammates - offensive or defensive - made a play or when the Spartans were approaching the end zone to let them know they weren’t scoring or when he made a big hit.
That’s just the nature of how Carreiro, who is one of Southington’s four team captains, likes to play. But it’s also just part of his game and Carreiro makes sure he backs it up.
That starts with the work he puts in over the summer working on technique or in the weight room and the amount of time he spends watching film.
“I like study the game a lot,” Carreiro said. “To be a [safety] you have to be one of the best athletes on the field, but a lot of that is mental. If you can read coverage well and read a quarterback’s eyes and read a receiver’s routes, do a lot of studying, that can help, too. I’m a fundamentally sound guy. I did my work in the offseason and made sure my fundamentals are ready for game time.”
Carreiro’s role and presence will be particularly important for a team that will be replacing three defensive backs, including All-CCC standout safety Matt Thompson, who led the Blue Knights with five interceptions. Last season, Carreiro finished sixth on the team in total tackles with 55, while intercepting two passes in 10 games.
“Johnny’s been a tremendous leader so far,” Drury said. “Replacing three defensive backs, guys have to step up and he’s done a good job of continuing to do that.”
But even with the new faces, Carreiro likes what he’s seen out of the defense and believes the unit has the chance to be even better than the one that allowed just 13.2 points a game last season.
“I like the swagger we bring,” Carreiro said. “We’re tenacious. We’re nasty. We’re running to the ball and swarming. It’s scary to watch on film. Everyone does their job. That’s what makes us good. Our chemistry is really good this year.”
Some of that, of course, has to do with the player who describes himself as the battery.
“I can’t wait for everyone to see what we’re about,” Carreiro said.
David Glovach can be reached at (860) 801-5085 or email@example.com