1973 Team

Championship Game
Danbury vs. New Canaan
Won 20 - 12

Eugene “Gus” Edwards (Head Coach)

Joe Coniglio (Assistant)

Bob Bergman (Assistant)

Ken Salem (Assistant)


Coached by Eugene “Gus” Edwards and his assistant coaches Joe Coniglio, Ken Salem and Bob Bergman, the 1973-74 Hatter’s football team beat the New Canaan Rams on November 17, 1973 to win the eighth F.C.I.A.C. East-West football championship. The game was played at Boyle Stadium in Stamford, CT in front of some four thousand fans. Led by senior quarterback Kevin Burns, the Hatter’s won the hard fought battle 20-12.

The team was made up of many talented players with the championship game starting lineup including Fred Cesca, Joe Caprio, Ken Ackell, Larry Furhrman, Doug Morrell, Joe Devito, Leon Kurjiaka, Kevin Burns, Ned Belardinelli, Pete Laboy, Don Harris, Tom Downie, Dave Kroha, Angelo Scalzo, Fred Constantenesco, and Charlie Wilson. Many of the players played both offensive and defense. Five members went on to be named to the FCIAC All County Western Division football team including Burns, Ackell, Caprio, Fuhrmann, and Laboy.

The championship game was not won without drama but with grit and determination. Danbury dominated early in the game but then New Canaan scored. Danbury’s dominate ground attack along with an aerial blitz helped secure the lead that they would never relinquish. However, as reported in the Newstimes the day following the game, “ But then the Rams issued a reminder of what the FCC is all about. They came storming back with a vengeance and it was one more feature of the Danbury season--the big defensive play-- to turn them back. It came with 41 seconds left and New Canaan driving for a tying score that would have sent the game into overtime. On the Danbury three-yard line, Ken Ackell, Dave Kroha and Doug Morrell slammed the Rams star running back and separated him from the football. Morrell recovered it and the Hatters were in.”

The article went on to say “The Hatter contingent that just won its first conference championship (since the FCC was realigned in 1966) may be the strongest ever to represent the school. But throughout the 1973 campaign, Danbury had to come up with big plays, rally from behind or stop opposing rallies en route to making its title dream a reality.” The final record for the team was 9-0-1 and it was the first time since 1959 that the Hatters had gone through the season without a loss. Prior to the championship game the Hatters had amassed 202 points and had only given up 78. They were a team to be reckoned with. In the locker room after the championship game, it was reported that Coach Edwards could not find his famous DHS cap. Luckily Coach Salem found his hat. Coach Edwards then bellowed “Gotta have that hat. It's my good luck hat." The rest is history!