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Bush league game management by Wolcott football head coach goes completely against sportsmanship.

POSTED November 12, 2017
BY Timothy W. Gaffney
Twitter: @TimothyGaffney


TORRINGTON: Shame on Wolcott. Shame on their head coach.

On Thursday night, Senior Night for eight Raiders who were playing their last home game of their careers, they were forced to own a final score that never, ever should have been 88-22.

Yes, 88 points.

There are unwritten and commonly understood rules of how to conduct yourself on the football field once you have taken an insurmountable lead like the one the Eagles had at the half against the Raiders (58-22).

The Eagles, now 5-4, had the game easily in hand at the break against a Torrington team that has had one tough season with just two wins to date against seven losses.

Here's how a typical and classy team would have handled the second half of a game like the one that transpired at the Robert H. Frost that night.

In the second half, you shut down the high-powered, get a play off every 15-seconds offense by taking the full 25 seconds allowed before running the next play, which for the remainder of the game, with a running clock, would consist of running plays only.

If you score 88 that way, so be it. Nobody is going to complain about it regardless of what the final score might be.

After a series or two, with most of the third quarter already almost over, the junior varsity team takes over and you continue to slow things down by keeping the ball on the ground the remainder of the contest.

Again, if you score that way, awesome.

You don't pass or do anything else designed to score quickly because this is high school football and we are supposed to be teaching these student/athletes something about how to act in the future in the real world.

If all those things happened, no a soul at Torrington High School, not Athletic Director Mike McKenna or head coach Gaitan Rodriguez would have said a word or lost a moment of sleep over it.

But that's not what went down in one of the most obvious cases of a coach not giving a damn about anything but his own damn ego as he presented the CIAC with the best-case scenario as to why coaches have to sometimes be controlled with the 50-point rule because they have no sense or right and wrong.

The Eagles came out (reminder, with a 36-point lead) and went right back to work with their starters on offense who continued the offensive onslaught using everything in their arsenal in an attempt to score, score, score.

Which they did at will.

That's their first wrong. No attempt to slow the game down.

In a published report in the Waterbury Republican-American, Wolcott head coach Matt Hove was quoted as saying that, "I have watched it (the film) and to be honest, there was not a whole lot I could have done rather than take knees (beginning) in the third quarter."

This is where the cluelessness starts.

Real coach, you couldn't think of anything else?

How about not passing the ball? How about not running a play every 15-seconds and use the full amount of time allotted for each play.

It's not that hard. There are those boys in the stripes that help the quarterback know when there are just five seconds left on the play clock when they raise their hand.

Do that for each play and keep the ball on the ground. If you score (which you did at will in the first half) so be it.

If that statement rings true that it's going to be hard for you to play teams with a lead down the stretch when you have to start a drive up a score with four or five minutes left and can't possibly slow the "O" down.

That's not in your playbook?

Of course, it is, you just chose not to use it. You chose to hang 88 points on a team to make somebody feel good. Perhaps yourself.

To add insult to injury, you also chose to utilize an onside kick, again up by a huge margin because your special teams had trouble stopping Raider kick returners Tyler Finkler (TD) and Dylan Myrie (a 70-yard return) in the first half.

You were up over 40-points at the time!

Give me a break. 

Lastly, you chose to have a lineman run in a two-point conversion late in the game to the delight of your fan base, without any regard to the team you had beaten into the ground already.

The last second punt return for a touchdown by a young player most can live with although classy and appropriate coaches would have had told the return team not to do so but I can understand that player wanting to make a football play.

Look, Ansonia beats teams by an average of 50-points per game but has everybody but the bus driver on the field in the later stages of the game as they look to humiliate their opponent. 

Tom Brockett runs a championship program and acts like it at all times. The Chargers will score early and often but understand when to take the foot off the pedal. 

What will happen as a result of this?

Will there be any consequences from the administration at Wolcott High School who have always been respected by the same folks in Torrington?

I can tell you for a fact what would have happened to any Torrington coach who allowed this to happen.

If Rodriguez had (which being a man of character and class, he never would have even considered it) done something like this, trust that McKenna would have had him off the sidelines when it became clear what the intention was.

A suspension would have occurred, bet your life on that one.

Coaches are supposed to be in the business of creating young men who will represent their schools and communities with class and dignity during their high school careers and beyond.

Sure, I understand the Eagles are in the hunt for a playoff berth but sometimes doing the right thing is not a popular one but one that needs to be done regardless.

Flash back to two years ago when the Raiders were in the hunt for a playoff spot late in the season and Rodriguez sat some key players in a game against St Paul who had off field issues that he felt needed to be addressed.

A loss to the Falcons would have knocked the Raiders out of the playoffs (they survived in OT) but a message had been sent that was bigger than making the post season.

What Hove failed to realize or didn't give a damn about was that the Torrington team and the eight seniors who went into the night knowing it was their last home game will have to do is live with these 88 points for the rest of their lives.

Hey, how was your Senior Night? Oh. Yeah, you got 88 points hung on you.

They will have to answer to their friends when they return to school on Monday or to knuckleheads who will enjoy rubbing it in whenever they can.

You coach, owe those eight seniors an apology for not thinking at all about how your blatant disregard for sportsmanship led to what happened on Thursday night.

Nothing you can do can erase it but maybe, just maybe, they can take a little solace from the fact that a supposed adult role model was big enough to admit he screwed up.

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