Derby History Quiz
Derby High School football has produced many outstanding teams down through the years, but the one pictured above stands out as being very special. Not only did the 1969 team post an undefeated record for the third straight year, but they also became the first Derby team to be named Number One in the New Haven Register's High School Football Poll. That was in the years before there were state playoffs and the Register Poll symbolized the best team in the state without considering the school's size. Four members of the team (Brent Sanford, Mike Kieley, Vince Greco and Glenn Gaetano) were named to the Register's First Team All State squad at the completion of the season. Just this year, Greco and Sanford were named to the New Haven Register's All Time All New Haven Area Team. Gaetano was an honorable mention on the team.
Legendary coach Lou Defillipo was in his second year as coach in Derby. He had compiled perfect 9-0 record in his first season in 1968 and then came back and delivered a 10-0 record and state title in his second season. The football field within the Leo F. Ryan Athletic Complex was named for him in 1997. Click here to see pictures from that dedication.
Interestingly, Seymour High also had one the the best teams in their history that year finishing third in the poll. However, Derby posted an incredible come-from-behind 28-18 win in the fourth quarter in a game played at Ryan Field to dash Seymour's hopes for an undefeated season and a state championship. Seymour actually led 18-0 before Gaetano's inspired play and three touchdowns turned the game around for Derby. The New Haven Register's Bob Barton recently named this game the top high school football game ever played in the state!
This was the first of three state championships for Derby, the smallest school to ever win the mythical title awarded by the New Haven Register.
Correct answers from this quiz came from as far away as Israel, and several people mentioned that they were friends and relatives of the players on the tea. Completely correct answers were received from: Edward McManus, Jr., Robert Woodford, Normand Audet, Mayor Marc J. Garofalo, John M. Rak, Ray Allen, Karen Woodford Lucas, Dave Woodford, Tom Lionetti, Mary Lou Boroski, Robert Hyder, Ann Searles, David Neustaedter, and Randy Ritter.
In addition, the following people got at least part of the answer correct: Tom Chebro, Markanthony Izzo, and Ken Dupke.
To see our other earlier quizzes and learn more about Derby's unique history, click here.
Quiz dates from October, 2003 and updated January, 2010.