Raider football 5-0 for first time since 1984. 34-7 over Oxford.
OXFORD: It must mean something good when a team that has just won a 34-7 decision for their fifth straight victory to start the 2015 season didn’t think they played that well.
“We know we have some things to clean up,” Torrington head football coach Gaitan Rodriguez said to his team after their dispatching of host Oxford that was meant to keep his teams approach very close to the ground even though they have been playing in the clouds.
Keeping this team grounded and focused has been one of Rodriguez and his coaching staff’s greatest accomplishment so far as they prepare for two of the biggest home games in recent school history.
A week from Friday, unbeaten Wolcott makes their way to the Robert H. Frost, followed by state powerhouse and also unblemished Ansonia the following week.
This marks the first time a Raider football team has gone 5-0 to start the season since 1984 and on Thursday night in what could be considered a trap game, the visitors did enough to win handily but also left enough on the table to work on over the next eight days.
The numbers were what you may have expected against a young Wolverine team that gained a total of just 138 total yards on offense while Torrington piled up 404.
Senior quarterback Connor Finn worked more out of the spread offense Thursday night and was deadly, connecting on 16 of 19 passes, good for 194 yards and a touchdown pass of 7-yards to Cam Ceruto who made a great catch in the back of the end zone for the score.
Newton Frias broke the century mark again (15-100) and six different receivers were on the good end of the Finn throws.
Torrington scored the games’ first two touchdowns on a 3-yard run by Ignacio Reynoso and a 23-yard rumble by Tyler Marens that featured, well, Tyler Marens doing what he does best in making people miss.
Twice on the scoring run, Marens seemed to be stopped and nearly down but as usual, kept his legs churning and got out of both jams to find pay dirt.
Oxford scored their only touchdown in the second quarter on a 3-yard run by quarterback Tyler Jacob to cut the lead to 14-7 and for a split second, you may have worried about the trap game but the Raiders would have none of it.
Torrington marched 63-yards on their next drive, punctuated by another Reynoso 3-yard run and a 20-7 lead at the half.
Ceruto and Finn connected in the third quarter and Frias ran in from 10-yards out in the fourth for the final points of the game.
The two upcoming games have loomed large since the schedule came out for the 2015 season and now that Oxford is in the books, the Raiders can begin work on Wolcott.
“We are going to go see them (Wolcott) play on Friday night,” Rodriguez said, “I expect them to be physical with very good skill players. Now that the game is here, we can start talking about it.”
Wolcott takes on Kennedy on Friday starting at 3:30 at Municipal Stadium in Waterbury.
When it comes to areas to clean up, they several the Raiders need to address.
Another touchdown, a long punt return by Mancini, was called back due to a holding penalty away from the play and an unsportsmanlike penalty didn’t hurt them on Thursday night but might in a tight game, something Torrington has not played to date.
In the second half, Rodriguez pleaded with his team to “run to the line” after they broke the huddle, looking to maintain the intensity and rhythm a great offense needs to maintain, even against a lessor opponent.
While their “monster” package is the go-to offensive set, being more than that is important as better teams and lines will look to stack the box against it.
If Finn can continue to distribute the ball the way he did Thursday night, the offense, already the highest scoring unit in the state with an average of 48 points per game.
These are unique times for the Torrington football program.
How they respond the next two weeks will tell the tale of just how special 2015 may become when it’s all said and done.