The St. Joseph High School Cadets are one of the most highly decorated programs in Connecticut high school football history, having won a total of 11 state championships (1980, '81, '82, '83, '84, '88, '89, '90, '09, '10 and '13) since a state playoff system was instituted in 1976. Most recently, in 2013, St. Joseph won the Connecticut Class M State Championship with a 54-16 victory over Brookfield at Arute Field in New Britain. It was the third state title in five years for the Cadets, who also won the Class SS State Championship in 2009 and Class S State Championship in 2010. Nicknamed the "Hogs" since the early 1980's, the current Head Coach is Joe DellaVecchia, who took over the program in 1998.
DellaVecchia is a graduate of St. Joseph's (1981), a former player under Coach Ed McCarthy, and has earned the unique distinction of winning a state championship as a player, an assistant coach, and a head coach at the same school. Former head coaches of the Cadets include the aforementioned McCarthy (three state titles at St. Joe's), and Christy Hayes (five state titles at St. Joe's). McCarthy is currently the head coach at West Haven HS, has the most victories in Connecticut football history, and has won four additional state titles. Hayes is currently the Athletic Director at Wilton HS.
Legend of the Hog
The formal mascot of St. Joseph High School is the Cadet. But for the past 30 seasons, the football team has been known as the Hogs.
How did they become the Hogs? It all started on a cold, frigid, fall morning; October 25th, 1980 to be exact. St. Joe’s, which was ranked #4 in the state football polls at that time, was hosting a strong Stratford team; and had a showdown with arch rival and #3 ranked Fairfield Prep the following week.
Heavy winds and rain were in the forecast. The field would be a muddy mess, nearly unplayable – it had very little grass to begin with. Coach Ed McCarthy came into the locker room to discuss the possibility of postponing the game, and the affects a short week of practice sandwiched between games with two of our biggest and toughest rivals would have on the team. As he started to talk, he was abruptly interrupted with a loud protest from the back of the locker room, “We are Hogs, and we love to play in the mud!”
The game was played that morning, in a monsoon no less. St. Joe’s won 20-0. Following the game a new battle cry was heard for the remainder of the season, “We are the Hogs, and the Hogs are great!”
With their bruising running game, complimented by a creative passing attack and a tenacious defense, this 1980 team represented the best attributes of the wily hog; and they went on to win the school’s first football state championship ever! Football purists and genuine St. Joe’s fans felt comfortable with the Hog, and the Hog had won it all – and thus, HOG MANIA was born!
2012 ST JOSEPH HS FOOTBALL HOGS (Final Record 8-3, Class M Quarterfinals)