Nightmarish first quarter dooms Raiders. Ansonia rolls, 54-14.
TORRINGTON: Name something that could have gone wrong over a 12-minute span for one football team and I might be able to document it for you after watching what the machine that is Ansonia football did to their hosts from Torrington on Friday night before over 3000 fans.
The Chargers shot out to an astounding 33-0 lead over the Raiders in lightning fast style, stopped from scoring even more in the frame because of some rule that states you have to stop after a dozen minutes.
Those minutes seemed like years for Torrington, who could not have scripted with the help of Alfred Hitchcock himself, a more terrifying opening quarter.
Here’s the quarter in a nut shell.
After the home team won the toss and elected to receive, Newton Frias had the ball knocked out his hands while trying for extra yardage, giving the visitors the ball on the Raiders 40-yard line. The first play Ansonia ran was to Tajik Bagley who went 33-yards before scoring two plays later from three yards out and less than two minutes in, six were on the board for the Chargers.
On the ensuing kickoff, Dylan Myrie fielded a ball that appeared to be going out of bounds at his own nine yard line and proceeded to step out right there, giving his team the ball 26-yards deeper in their own territory than if he had let it go out of bounds.
Torrington went three and out and after a Tyler Bailey returned the punt to the Raiders 27, it took just three more plays before Bagley turned the corner and found the end zone from 16-yards out. 12-0 and we were still just 4:05 into the game.
If you were looking for optimism, you would be hard pressed to find it as Bagley created another scoring chance for himself when he tipped then intercepted a Connor Finn pass at the Torrington 39-yard line.
It took the now unbeaten (6-0) Chargers four plays this time to find pay dirt and if you guessed Bagley on the score, you win the grand prize.
18-0 with 4:32 still left on the clock.
Torrington would achieve their initial first down on the next drive when Frias went for 16 yards but the drive stalled.
Stefan LaForge would pin Bagley and company on their own two-yard line with a terrific 49-yard punt, shifting field position for the first time in the game.
98-yards, no problem for the team in blue and white, not in this first quarter. On second and six from their own six, Bagley went over the left side for 39-yards and would score four plays later from 16-yards out. 25-0 after the extra point.
But six seconds remained in the opening frame, what else could possibly happen to ruin that little time?
How about another fumble on the kickoff, this time by Myrie that bounced and was scooped up by Joshua Parks and returned 31-yards for a score as time ran out on the longest 720 seconds of football in Torrington history.
The rest was academic.
You simply can’t spot a juggernaut like Ansonia 33-points in the first quarter and expect anything good to happen afterwards.
When you look closer at what makes the Chargers so good, it goes far deeper than the two talented running backs.
On the defensive end, Ansonia blitzed Finn early and often while taking away one of his favorite targets, Zac Mancini on the slant.
Several times early on, Finn looked for the play that had been a critical part of their offense over the first five games.
On Friday though, a defender jumped the route nearly every time, making Finn look elsewhere and by the time he did, it was usually too late.
On sweeps to either side by Frias or Dom Phengkaen, the back side defender for Ansonia had the speed to catch up with the play before it developed, often causing tackles behind the line of scrimmage.
Even when something positive occurred for the home team, the visitors responded immediately.
LaForge would bull his way in from a yard out for the Raiders first score but Parks returned the ensuing kickoff 80-yards for a touchdown.
In the third quarter, Bailey returned another good punt by LaForge 91-yards. Anything that could go wrong, did go wrong for the Raiders who got their second touchdown on a Finn to Jordan Henneberry 10-yard pass on the first play of the fourth quarter.
Head coach Gaitan Rodriguez summed it up after the loss that knocked Torrington out of the top spot in the Class L State rankings with a 6-1 record.
“You just can’t give a team like that more chances,” Rodriguez said, “They will make you pay every time.”
NOTES: It was a terrific scene at the Robert H Frost complex on Friday night as the City of Torrington came out to support the Raiders.
All parking areas around the school were filled and cars were also lined up deep into the practice field behind the grandstands.
The 130 piece THS Marching Band was on hand and put on a stellar half time show, per usual.
The number being thrown around was over 3000 on hand.