Sports Person of the Week
Garea Has a Knack for Playing Quarterback
Trey Garea led the East Haven football team as its quarterback last fall and was named one of the squad’s senior captains this year. Trey is hoping for a change to take the gridiron with the Easties in the spring. (Photo courtesy of Trey Garea )
Trey Garea started playing football in East Haven’s rec league as a 7th-grader, and he quickly became a fixture on the field. Trey’s journey took him all the way to a starting quarterback role with the football team at East Haven High School.
Trey was starting at wide receiver in the first game of his junior year last fall. Yellowjackets’ quarterback Tanner DiVito suffered an injury in that game, prompting Head Coach Scott Benoit to turn to Trey to take on the responsibility as East Haven’s signal caller. Trey played quarterback for the rest of the season and went on to be named a senior captain for the Easties this year.
“When Tanner went down, it was almost like a surreal moment. It was my time,” says Trey. “The first game, I was thrown into the fire, and I knew that I had to step up and win this game. We’re not going to lose this game because I’m the backup. That’s how I played the whole season. I didn’t want to ruin the year for the seniors and myself. Since I was the backup, I knew I had to work 10 times harder.”
Trey helped East Haven claim a 14-7 victory over Foran in that game and wound up guiding the team to a record of 7-3 for the 2019 season. While he wishes that his team was playing football this fall, Coach Benoit knows that Trey made the most of his opportunity last year and feels that he has the potential to play in college.
“This would be my 11th season as a head coach, and we have always run a similar style of offense. Trey is, without a doubt, the most gifted kid that I’ve coached at the quarterback position,” says Benoit. “He’s very fast. He has a tremendous throwing arm. If someone takes a shot at him, I think he could play at a pretty high level.”
Trey came to the Yellowjackets as a tight end/outside linebacker. During Trey’s freshman year, then-freshman coach Doug Cotto asked him if he wanted to take his shot at the quarterback position. Trey had always had an interest in playing QB and started working with DiVito to develop his skills under center.
“I’ve really always wanted to play quarterback ever since I was really little. It’s a fun position, and I’ve always had a decent arm. I figured I might be able to play it,” Trey says. “When I heard I was going to be the quarterback, I was excited. It was a challenge. It was a whole new different position. I wasn’t running around tackling kids; I was reading defenses. I learned a lot from Tanner DiVito. He taught me a lot my freshman year.”
Heading into his junior season, Trey felt ready to make the jump to the varsity level. He didn’t expect to be the starting quarterback, but Trey still worked harder than ever in order to prepare for the rigors of varsity football. Trey was in the gym twice a day every day, working out for at least five hours and also doing another hour of running.
Trey felt excited about leading the Yellowjackets as their quarterback and a captain this fall, but the COVID-19 pandemic forced the CIAC to cancel the football season. When the season was canceled, Trey wanted to do everything in his power to help East Haven get back on the field. Trey, his fellow captains, and other football players around the state organized a rally at the Capitol building in an attempt to save the season. About 1,200 people attended the event.
It was a tough blow for Trey and his teammates to lose the fall season, but the disappointment of sitting out reminded them how much they care about both football and each other. Trey and the Yellowjackets are continuing to prepare for a potential football season in the spring.
“We’ve been through so much as a group from when I started playing, and I know they’ve been through even more than I have. We all have an emotional connection to the game. We all care. Every single one of us,” Trey says. “Every single day we came to practice, even without a season. We came because we knew we had the potential to be the best team East Haven has ever had.”
Trey has fallen in love with the sport of football during the past six years. As he looks to finish out his senior year on the gridiron, Trey encourages others to play the sport with hopes that it could change their lives just as much as it’s changed his.
“I would tell every single kid that has an opportunity to play this game and every kid still playing to cherish every single moment that you have,” says Trey. “Whether it’s a practice, a walkthrough, a game—it’s the greatest sport on earth. Nothing compares to it.”