A Football Glow in Watertown
WATERTOWN - Now nobody will tell you that two games makes a season. But, the glow emanating from the John J. Mills Complex and the white and orange jerseys that dominate the football action there is undeniable.
Two up and two down for Watertown and first-year coach Mike Veronneau. Two up and two down in pretty impressive style. Nobody is claiming that victims Kennedy (32-6) and Seymour (26-7) are this year’s version of Wolcott and Ansonia. Both programs are struggling in the early going with 0-2 records.
Yet, wins are wins and more than subtle hints of better things in the offing are, well, clearly visible.
Let’s start with a little pre-football game attire change. Veronica and his staff were decked out in very sharp Watertown-looking bright orange polo shirts Friday night. Assistant coach Keith Borkowski hasn’t looked this good since his Daveluy Demons softball days from about a century ago.
You couldn’t help but notice the professional attire walking into the Mills complex that seemed to add a down-to-business element to what was going on.
Part of the glow wasn’t just from the shirts, however, Veronneau is an evident presence that you won’t miss as you scan the Watertown warm-up or sideline. The organized, youthful former Crosby offensive coordinator with the calm demeanor has that in-charge aura is well on his way to becoming a worthy successor to Roger Ouellette.
The affable and highly popular Ouellette resigned early this year after two decades on the job and is missed. Most of Ouellette’s staff is still in tow and Veronneau is a fitting replacement. It is a all-encompassing combination of the past, present and future.
It all points to what is happening on the field. That’s where the glow resonates. It starts with quarterback Matt Quatrano. About 45 minutes after Friday night’s game in the dim lights outside the Watertown locker room, Quatrano was talking to a representative of Southern Connecticut State University.
There is a reason – the kid can play and play very well. His career will not end at Watertown. You watch Quatrano and you are wowed. He is one of those players that can do it all. There is an arm that can produce lasers. There are feet that can dance the dance of frustration if you are the opposition. Where is he? Can’t catch him? What direction is he moving in?
Quatrano’s athleticism was on full display against Seymour. His passing numbers weren’t great (3-9-34 yds), despite having one potential TD pass go off the fingertips of a receiver. But the strength of the arm was evident and you can see secondaries having nightmares as the season progresses.
It was the legs on this night that had the multitudes shaking their heads. The numbers were brilliant (10 carries-152 yards, two touchdowns). One run in particular just plain dazzled.
Quatrano rolled around the right end from his own 48-yard line for what would have become a good gain. Suddenly he took a sharp left turn and bolted virtually straight across the field, finally turning right and scoring in the left side of the end zone and leaving a lot of breathless defenders a bit bewildered.
There was another 20-yard romp around left end, but it was the longer scamper that left the lasting image. Seymour coach Tom Lennon was succinct in his post-game comment about Quatrano – “He’s a great athlete.’
Long-time Watertown Town Times sports reporter and friend Jim Dreher said, “It’s early in the season but I think by the end Quatrano will be the best quarterback I’ve seen here in my 16 seasons.”
Through two games Quatrano has 256 yards rushing, four TDS (two by air) and a lineup of frustrated defenders.
You always caution that is early with most of the season to come. But Quatrano just brings a smile to the Watertown camp. Even better, this is hardly a one-man show.
Senior running back Curtis Pomeroy used a good front line to rumble for 208 yards on 25 carries. Pomeroy pounded up the middle with a host of eight-to-20 yard scampers.
There was a team that was pushed at times but showed big-play capability with Carols Arvelo returning a fumble 60 yards for a score and the team coming up with a crucial fumble recovery on its own nine-yard line with the game still in doubt.
Veronneau and his Indians were feeling good Friday night but weren’t over the top. Veronneau made it clear that the results have been good but there is work to be done. He talked about the Indians winning by playing two great quarters against Kennedy and two great quarters against Seymour. He lamented the kicking game that sputtered with three extra points missed.
He knows the Indians need to play four quarters to be where they want to be. There is no illusion here – the Indians have been good, they believe they can and will get better.
The first two games and that promise have produced a major glow around the Indians’ program so far.