Sports Person of the Week
Toth’s Glad He Gave Football Another Shot
Jason Toth started on both sides of the ball for East Haven in his junior year and will lead the Yellowjackets as a senior captain next season. (Photo courtesy of Jason Toth)
After taking a break from the game he grew up playing, Jason Toth decided to return to the football field in his freshman year at East Haven High School. Jason has gotten back up to speed and then some during the past three years, earning a starting varsity role as a junior and the title of captain heading into his senior campaign.
Jason watched a lot of sports while growing up, primarily football with his father Edward. Jason’s uncle, Joseph Carr, played football at East Haven and was a captain for the team. His grandfather, Joseph Carr, Jr., played football in West Haven.
With so many football fans in his family, Jason wanted to try out the sport for himself as a youngster in East Haven.
“My family all played football and all talked about how great of sport it is. I wanted to try it out like they did,” says Jason. “My uncle helped a lot with teaching me how to play the sport. My dad taught me how to throw a football. They taught me how to be tough in the sport and how to be prepared.”
Jason started playing football in East Haven’s youth league at age 5, continuing through 5th grade. Jason was able to learn the basics of the game while competing in the youth ranks. However, following his 5th-grade season, Jason decided that he no longer wanted to play and walked away from football.
Jason spent three years away from the game, but when his freshman year arrived, Jason decided to make a comeback and join the Yellowjackets. Jason was encouraged by his friends and family to return to the field and, once he got back out there, his spark for the sport resurfaced.
“All my friends were doing it. My uncle talked to me about it. They just made me realize I wanted to do it again,” Jason says. “When I came back, I just got interested in it again. It was the best decision I made.”
Jason played on the offensive line for East Haven’s JV team during his freshman season. Jason idolized the Yellowjackets’ upperclassmen that year and hoped that he would one day emulate what they did on the field.
“It felt great. I had great teammates that I looked up to. They helped me learn how to work up to varsity,” Jason says. “They taught me to always work hard. I had a lot of people to look up to my freshman year, and they helped me a lot.”
After his sophomore season was canceled due to COVID-19, Jason felt excited to play football again as a junior this fall. Jason was elevated to the varsity team and earned starting spots at both tight end and linebacker for the Easties.
Jason says that he felt “at home” playing tight end since it allowed him to block like he did as an offensive lineman, while still making plays running routes. Jason adds that while learning linebacker was difficult at first, he improved throughout the year and loved playing the position by the end of the season.
When he started seeing varsity time, Jason gained a great understanding about what it takes to succeed at the highest level. As he competed every day, Jason enjoyed battling with his teammates beside him.
“It was an eye-opener. It felt really great when I got on the field,” says Jason. “I liked working with my teammates. We fought hard. It was great knowing I was doing something to help the team and being able to do something with my friends, having a good time.”
Head Coach Scott Benoit was impressed with Jason’s progress as the junior became a two-way varsity starter this year. Benoit says that Jason is always working his hardest to make every rep as perfect as can be.
“Jason is a very hard-working kid. He strives for perfection on every rep,” Benoit says. “He carries that on to his academics, as well.”
As he looks toward his senior season, Jason’s goals are to help East Haven rack up more wins and make a push at the playoffs next year. Jason will be leading East Haven toward those goals in a captain’s role after having recently been named a team captain for the 2022 season alongside current fellow juniors Mekhi Morrison and Dom Salato.
“It was an honor to be told I was a captain. It made me happy to know I will be leading my team next season and helping out everyone,” says Jason, who also competes for the East Haven wrestling team. “I meant a lot, because my uncle was also a captain of East Haven when he played. Being honored captain, as he was, was great.”
When he stepped back on the gridiron, Jason’s goal was to spend time with good friends and have fun. With that goal accomplished, Jason wants to keep putting in the work in order to help make the Yellowjackets as successful as possible in his senior year.
“It’s one of the best things I can say I have done, playing football for East Haven and playing with the teammates I have,” Jason says. “Watching all the players seen from my freshman year, it helped me realize I can try to help the team the best I can.”