Gilbert/Northwestern roll over Windsor Locks. Big matchup with Stafford in two weeks.
WINSTED: Gilbert/Northwestern head coach Scott Salius is hoping to have to continue finding unique and original ways to celebrate his team’s victories.
He’s done something different each time his team has won over their first four games, including after a 43-6 lambasting of Windsor Locks on Saturday afternoon at Van Why Field.
Salius went into a full-out slide through the middle of his team, who had lined up across from each other in the end-zone, giving their coach a pathway to the celebration that is becoming of a team that may just have something special going this year.
When did it start?
“Muzzy Field, the first game of the year,” Salius said. “It has now become an expectation that I do something different at the end of the victory and they open up the hole for me and I’ve got to come up with something. I’ve done belly-flops, I’ve done the Elvis, I’ve done the slide and hopefully I have six more opportunities to do more.”
Since 2010, the Yellowjackets have made the postseason twice and look to be a squad that has a prime opportunity in front of them to do it a third time.
They are an aggressive, fundamentally sound football program with a defense that is living up to the standard set years ago by this veteran group of coaches.
On Saturday, the tone of the game was set early. A three and out by the Raiders led to a lightning fast touchdown blast from 56 yards out by junior back Billy Komons to put the home team up fast at 7-0 on a play called by a (GN) player.
“That has been a tradition for us,” Salius said. “It goes back to the first play we ran the first year I started (nine years ago). We just randomly pick a senior to pick the first play of the game. Whatever it is, we run it.”
It worked to perfection as Komons was barely touched on his way down the right sideline for the fast score that started the ball rolling.
A second straight three and out by the visitors was followed by a second straight “GN” touchdown drive, ending when Komons (21-155) went in from eight yards out for a 14-0 lead with just over seven minutes off the first quarter clock.
Komons is one of those players who grew up watching this team during the growing and glory years and is now in position to help this team put their signature on a potentially great year that may have surprised some at the outset.
“We were told that this would be a rebuilding year by some,” Komons said. “So we have been using that as motivation. We think that we can be a championship caliber team. We worked hard in the offseason and I think that’s definitely what has given us that boost.”
Having a team that has grown up through the ranks gives that team a special bond and it appears this unit has just that.
“A lot of the guys in my class played together in the Wolverines program in New Hartford,” Komons said. “It think it was our dream to play under the lights on Friday night which we got to do two weeks ago (a 51-6 win over Canton).”
The defense came away with a fumble recovery and recorded five sacks while holding the Raiders off the board until the game was long decided in the fourth quarter.
What has been the key to this fast start from the perspective of the head coach?
“Great chemistry,” Salius said. “This team has a great chemistry and has had it ever since last December when they started the off-season workouts. It’s a great bunch of kids who have just bonded together this year.”
Up next is perhaps the Yellowjackets toughest battle of the year when they travel in two weeks to take on currently unbeaten Stafford on Friday night, October 14.
It’s a battle between two teams who have faced each other so often there won’t be too many secrets but Salius knows there is much work to be done before that game.
“We’ll do our two weeks of preparation and study their film,” Salius said. “We’ll try our best to get to know their offense as much as possible and keep our offense clicking with the running game.”
Is there an area Salius would like to see improvement from?
“Our biggest thing we have to work on is passing,” Salius said. “All year long it’s been the one thing we’ve been drilling. We have to work on the pass offense. Today we had a couple of picks but we didn’t need it to be there because we had the run but that’s one of our focus points for getting ready for the Stafford game and the second half of the season.’
The passing game was quiet on Saturday, junior quarterback Brad Lissy attempted only seven passes, with two of them being picked off.
Finding a better balance will be critical for the “GN” machine as they look to remain amongst the leaders in the Class M ranking where the currently hold the third spot.
Gilbert/Northwestern 43, Windsor Locks 6
At Van Why Field
Windsor Locks 0 0 0 6 6
GN 20 10 13 0 43
(G): Billy Komons 56 run (Christopher Nanni kick)
(G): Komons 8 run (Nanni kick)
(G): Brad Lissy 2 run (kick failed)
(G): EJ Claman 80 run (Nanni kick)
(G): Nanni 25-yard FG
(G): Spencer Green 7 run (kick failed)
(G): Jacob Royer 5 run (Nanni kick)
(WL): Dylan Sheldon 26 pass from Jameson Gill (run failed)
(WL): Tyler Petrunti 17-56, Hunter Couchon 1-2, Dan Cushing 3-19, Gil 4-19. (G): Komons 21-155, Green 3-18, Devin Matthews 1-5, Lissy 3-9, Royer 1-5, Seamus McGevna 1-5, Jake Roth 3-9, Gabriel Schwartz 3-22, Claman 4-112, Todd Holm 1-8
(WL): Gill 6-18-124. (G): Lissy 2-5-19
(WL): Luke DiCioccio 1-25, Dylan Sheldon 1-26, Petrunti 2-17. (G): Komons 1-10, Colton Bossi 1-9
Records: (WL): 0-4. GN: 4-0