Darien’s Will Rolapp and Greenwich’s Mozi Bici are less than a year removed from successful football seasons at their high schools, so who could blame them if this weekend’s Grip It and Rip It 7-on-7 football tournament in New Canaan felt a little strange.

Rolapp, a wide receiver and former Blue Wave star, and Bici, a defensive end and former Cardinal standout, were both playing with Suffield Academy for the first time and, on the other side of the field, were their former teammates.

In the end, it was all good.

“It was great to see those boys,” Rolapp said. “Those were my teammates last year and I love those kids, so it was good to see them and compete against them.”

“It was awesome to see them,” Bici said. “It was funny seeing them across the field and playing against one of my best friend’s little brother. It was a lot of fun and a great experience. I don’t think I’ll forget it.”

“I think someone yelled ‘traitor’ from the sideline,” Bici added with a smile.

Both players are doing postgraduate years at Suffield Academy and will be looking at their college options for 2020-21. Rolapp will also play basketball for the Tigers.

This weekend had some added intrigue for the Tigers, who had just nine players, many of whom were together for the first time. They still managed to go 6-2 overall, beating both Darien and Greenwich along the way, and finished one win short of the championship game.

“They played with a lot of heart which wins you a lot of football games in the end,” head coach Drew Gamere said. “It’s a win in my book. We didn’t win the tournament which we would’ve liked to do, but we certainly were successful. It says a lot about what type of team we’ll have going forward.”

“I just met these guys yesterday,” Rolapp said. “We put together a team and it was good to get to know the guys and play with them for the first time this weekend. We had nine guys, it’s hot out and a lot of the teams we were playing had full benches. We were dragging three games ago, so to make it as far as we did, especially just meeting these guys, is pretty impressive.”

“It’s a great team with a great coach — coach Gramere is an awesome dude, so I’m so happy to be playing for him and to be a part of this team,” Bici said. “There’s a bunch of great athletes here and everybody knows how to play. It was great coming in for the first time and I really felt welcomed right away.”

Bici played at linebacker and saw some time on offense, even catching a touchdown pass.

“That was really fun and it was tiring,” he said. “It’s definitely a different game. It was really fun getting to catch the ball. I don’t get to do it that much playing defense and being on the line.”

Gamere was seeing Rolapp and Bici in action for the first time and was impressed with the two local players.

“Today was the first day I got to work with them live,” Gamere said. “I knew both guys were talented and they did a great job at their high schools, but you never really know till you get to work with guys. We’re excited to have them at Suffield.”

Rolapp is looking forward to the football and basketball seasons with Suffield before heading to the college level, where he’ll likely focus on football.

“I’m taking a post-grad year at Suffield for a year, playing football and basketball and then after that, I’ll re-enter the college process and kind of pick and choose what my best option is,” Rolapp said. “We’ve got some great players, some big-time commits and big-time college players. When you’ve got that much talent around you, it’s really fun to play with them.”


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