The Connecticut Ravens, based out of Hamden, recently finished a decent 6-5 season in Minor League Football, but are now in the process of making some key off-season moves that should set them up for a better season in 2017.
“I took on a new partner,” Ravens owner Todd Kennedy told Developmental Football USA. “There was a start-up team this year in our league, the Silver City Wolves, they were a new start-up team, but their head coach kind of had a falling out, so I brought him on as a coach and a partner. He took a brand new team, I think they went 11-3 this year. He’s coming over and bringing some of his better players with him.”
Going into their ninth season, the Ravens have come a long ways from where they started, but now they’re looking to get back to the level they were at just two years ago.
“Every year we’ve progressively gotten better and every year our record gets a little better,” Kennedy said. “We’ve made the playoffs every year we’ve been a team.”
The Ravens began their inaugural season in the New England Football league, which is based out of Massachusetts, and made a jump in classification in Year 2.
“They have three different levels of play, A, AA and AAA,” Kennedy said. “We started out as a developmental team the first year in their league which was lower than A. The next year we moved into A, then had a really good recruiting class and jumped up to AAA. The past seven years we’ve played AAA ball.
“For several seasons we went like 4-6, 5-5, then the year before we left, we were 7-3 during the regular season.”
In 2014, the Ravens joined the Triboro Football League and made it to the championship game.
“We were 11-1, 11-0 going into the championship game and lost that,” Kennedy said. “Then, we got an invitation to Florida and we beat the Ohio Sabres 31-0 so we finished 12-1 in 2014.”
In 2015, the Ravens made it to the semifinals in the TFL and finished the season 9-3, before going 6-5 in 2016.
Two of the Ravens best offensive weapons will return in 2017 for what looks to be a good year in the making.
“I’ve got two really good receivers that are basically our go-to guys,” Kennedy said. “One is Andy St. Fluer and the other receiver is James Moore. Andy played football at Western New England College, just graduated this Spring and then came and played for us. He actually just signed with an Independent Arena Team, the Connecticut Chiefs. James, he still has college eligibility and this year we’re hoping after a good season we can send him to college.”
Defensively, a defensive back turned defensive lineman was a real bright spot for the Ravens and should be even better in 2017.
“We got a really good defensive end, Rasheem Gonzalez,” Kennedy said. “This was his third season, he was actually playing defensive back. We moved him to defensive end this year and he had a breakout season, he had over 20 sacks on the season.
“This was the first time our defense was average this year. That was why we didn’t win as many games. Rasheem definitely had a good year. Justin Burnett, a linebacker for us, those guys pretty much held it down this year, they were really consistent in their play.”
The Ravens will start practicing in February or March to get ready for their season later in the year.
“Our strong point has always been our defense,” Kennedy said. “Offensively, we have our moments where we’ve had decent teams on offense. If the Connecticut Ravens are on your schedule, we’re coming to play and we’ll pretty much play anybody. We’ve always been a team to play four quarters, and we play hard all four quarters.
“We run a really good organization, my head coach has a lot of control over the players. We’re not one of those teams that’s out there fighting people. We’re really respectful on the field.”