Greyhounds take a bite out of Raiders, 47-30.
NAUGATUCK: For all anyone knew, the Naugatuck quarterback could have been named Milton Bradley, instead of Jason Bradley.
Why you ask? Simple, the signal caller had nothing but monopolies all over the gridiron on Friday night when his Greyhounds put a 47-30 pounding on the Torrington Raiders in the season opener for both teams.
Hotels, you want hotels?
How about six touchdowns to five different receivers and 290 yards of passing to go along with 69 yards rushing.
Going in, most had thought that the newly created Iron Division of the Naugatuck Valley League was going to be headed by the Greyhounds and considering the pure number of weapons Naugy possesses, they may just be right.
Bradley makes it look easy. After their opening drive stalled following a 12 play, 54 yard drive that ate up more than four minutes, Torrington got a quick dose of Bradley on the Greyhounds first try when he connected with Bryan Coney (5-82 with a pair of scores) for 18 fast yards.
A 16-play drive that covered 99-yards but used up less than four minutes was punctuated by a 9-yard TD pass to Coney.
Both teams came out a bit too ramped up and penalties where flowing on both sides.
Naugatuck can also score quickly, as they did on their second attempt on offense when, after a pass interference call gave them the ball on the Raiders 29, Bradley found his next property (or receiver) for a 29 yard TD pass and the juggernaut was being unleashed.
Torrington got on the board with a 24-yard field goal by PJ Kilmartin who continues to be one of the most consistent kickers in the NVL.
Against a team with the type of offensive weapons that Naugatuck brings, missing opportunities simple can’t happen and when they Raiders misfired on that opening drive, it let the home team get off to a fast start that they never looked back on.
After the Kilmartin field goal, the Raiders had a little momentum going and their defense stopped Bradley and forced a punt, something that didn’t happen very often on Friday night.
They could not take advantage and good fortune turned to disaster when a fumbled exchange on an attempted reverse turned into a fumble which was returned by Chris Quarles for a 20-3 lead after a successful conversion.
Torrington showed heart at this point by showing a bit of quick strike offensive magic of their own when Zach Mancini (15-208) caught the first of two touchdowns he would score, this one a nifty 54-yard scamper on a quick out that he took in for the Raiders first touchdown of 2014.
But wait, here comes that monopoly guy again. Bradley found Coney for 40-yards on the first play after the kickoff and five plays later, another touchdown pass, this one to Maleek Brooks and in an instant, it was 26-10.
That scoring play summed up how tough it is to defend against the senior QB. Bradley rolled out to his right to avoid the rush, saw nothing, ran all the way back across the field to his left and found Brooks deep in the back of the end zone.
Leaving Bradley any time is not something teams who face the Greyhounds will want to do if they can help it this season.
With just 1:38 to play in the half, Bradley needed just 60-seconds of that to throw his fifth touchdown of the day, this one a 27-yard pitch and catch to Etty Illunga.
At the half, the home team was up 34-10 and it didn’t take long for that to increase in the second half when C.J. Wall returned the opening kickoff of the half 90-yards, leading to a touchdown pass from Bradley to Coney.
Any chance the Raiders had to mount any sort of comeback were pretty much gone at that point. The Greyhounds pulled their starters with over seven minutes left in the third quarter.
Finn gained his touch as the game went on and his line, 23-39-276-2 is pretty impressive but the Raiders game plan is not built around the QB throwing nearly 40 times.
“I like the grit our team showed tonight,” head coach Gaiton Rodriguez said. “We never stopped playing.”
Week one is in the books and if the NVL wants to challenge the Greyhounds offensive prowess, it had better start buying up properties, less Bradley and company increase an already enormous monopoly they seem to have on the field.