Sports Person of the Week
DiCarlo Puts His Best Foot Forward for North Haven
Senior Chase DiCarlo has proved a reliable placekicker for the North Haven football team throughout the past three seasons. (Photo courtesy of Chase DiCarlo )
Chase DiCarlo earned his spot as the varsity kicker for the North Haven football team as a freshman and has gone on to have a productive career booting the ball through the uprights. Now a senior, Chase is hoping that he gets one more chance to kick for North Haven at some point during the current school year.
Chase saw a notable moment right at the outset of his career at North Haven. In the team’s third game of the 2017 season, North Haven was locked in a 14-14 with Cheshire with just four minutes left in the fourth quarter. Chase lined up and kicked a 28-yard field goal—the first field goal of his career—to give North Haven a 17-14 lead that held up as the final score for a big win against a Cheshire team that was ranked No. 3 in the state.
Chase’s winning kick was a great way to start off a career that’s seen him make 103 extra points and convert all five of his field goal attempts for Head Coach Anthony Sagnella’s squad.
“I saw everyone else screaming and cheering and thought, ‘Oh my God. I just hit that.’ The place was going crazy,” Chase says. “Coming off the field, I just went right up to Coach Sagnella. He gave me a big hug and told me he was proud of me. A bunch of upperclassmen came up to me and did the same thing. I was just in shock. My hands were shaking. I couldn’t believe I did that. I helped knock off the No. 3 team as a freshman. It was crazy.”
After hitting his clutch field goal, Chase realized that kicking was something at which he could excel and potentially do at the next level. He began working with Alex Trasacco of the Evolution Kicking Group, training to become the best kicker he could be. Chase not only held on to his spot as North Haven’s kicker for the next three years, he also took on more of a leadership role with each passing season.
“It has been great. I like helping the younger kids get in the swing of things and helping them out if they ever need anything. I’m the kind of kid that if they reach out, I’m always going to help,” says Chase, a right-footed kicker. “It’s kind of weird how fast time flies. It seemed like yesterday I was going into fall camp as a freshman. But I’m now a senior, and it’s my last year. It’s crazy.”
Chase had several years of soccer experience prior to joining the football team. Chase started playing soccer when he was four and continued through 7th grade. However, Chase had always been interested in football and had friends who played, so he decided to try the sport in North Haven’s recreational league during his 8th-grade year.
When he reached high school, Chase was playing tight end and linebacker for North Haven’s freshman football team. Coach Sagnella knew that Chase had played soccer and asked him if he wanted to try being a kicker. Chase was nervous before the team’s first game of the season against West Haven. However, once he drilled that opening kickoff, the nerves started to fade away, and Chase knew that he belonged on the field.
“I thought I was going to be able to start my junior or senior year. I didn’t have any intent of going in my freshman year and starting right away,” Chase says. “I was very nervous going into that West Haven game. It was packed, sold out. That whole week, I thought about how I was going to be playing Friday nights in front of the town. Right when that first kickoff went, I was at ease. It was fun playing with my friends in front of the town. Nothing better than that.”
Coach Sagnella praises Chase for how he’s develop his kicking skills through the years. Sagnella always feels confident whenever Chase runs up to the tee.
“Chase has worked very hard on improving his skills for all types of kicks and punches. He is a hard-working, reliable, and dedicated player,” says Sagnella. “It really takes the burden off you during a game when you know that you have a consistent kicker. It helps to game-plan around his abilities. He has a strong kick, and he’s very accurate from inside the 25.”
Even though the traditional fall football season was canceled, Chase is staying optimistic that North Haven will be able to compete during a potential spring season. Chase is 30 points away from becoming the leading scorer in school history and is looking to break that record, along with hitting a few 40-yard-plus field goals along the way in his senior campaign.
Chase has been in contact with Sacred Heart University, the University of New Haven, and Western New England University about kicking for their respective squads in college. While he’s only been on the football field for five years, Chase loves the sport and believes competing at the collegiate level would help him grow both athletically and academically.
“I think it would be great. I really like the sport,” says Chase. “I think playing in college would not only help me focus and prepare myself for later in life, but also keep my college academics and schoolwork in check. It would be a great balance of football and academics.”
Even though he got out to a bit of a late start in football, Chase quickly found an integral role on the North Haven gridiron. All it took was one field goal as a freshman for Chase to realize that the kicking game was for him. As his confidence grew, Chase improved his skillset alongside a group of teammates that fostered his love for the sport. As he enters his senior year at North Haven, Chase says there is no team that he would rather play for.
“Being a football player means a lot to me, especially playing for North Haven and the people you’ve grown up with,” Chase says. “It is just great to end it with the people you started it with and the town that treated me so well. I wouldn’t want to play for any other team outside of North Haven.”