Raider football primed for memorable season in 2015.
TORRINGTON: This could shape up to be some kind of season for the Raiders gridiron gang who scored points in bunches a year ago but need to step things up on defense a bit so they do not end up in shoot-outs at times.
It’s the final call for a group of seniors who have playing (and winning) together since they dominated for the Warriors (the Torrington youth football program) and put together an undefeated freshman season that included a beating of Ansonia for years ago.
The team is led by senior quarterback Connor Finn who has held the spot behind center the past three seasons and has himself an arsenal of offensive choices at his disposal.
All Raider fans need to know is that 12 days before the opener at home against Crosby is that this offense looks really, really good at this point and is (knock on wood) healthy at the moment.
Running back Tyler Marens will garner a lot of attention from opposing coaches but all the elusive senior back needs is a crack in the defensive line and he’s into the secondary before they know what hit them.
Small in stature but large in heart and muscle Marens is also a threat out of the backfield for Finn.
“Ground and Pound” may be the emphasis of the Raider offense but don’t fall asleep or Finn will find any number of talented options to beat you in the passing game.
Nate Bresson, who was lost for the season a year ago on the second play from scrimmage with a foot injury, is back and primed to have a break out year and is also a formidable blocker in the run game and one of the leaders at linebacker on defense.
Now, you can’t do much on offense if the boys up front don’t clear a path and this year, the “O” line is loaded with highly motivated upperclassmen.
Look no farther than Kobe Covington is you want to start talking about domination on both lines.
During early season practice sessions or scrimmages, Covington could be seen simply destroying runs coming at him or stopping defenders in their tracks as they tried to make any kind of play when attacking the Raiders running game.
Covington has plenty of help on that line though, starting with another senior who has been helping open truck-sized holes for Marens or one of many running backs the Raiders can throw at opponents.
Stephan LaForge is one highly motivated young man as he prepares to open his last campaign as a Raider on both sides of the ball.
This line has been working together for more than seven years in some cases and they know each other very well.
One senior who takes on a new responsibility but is picking it up very quickly is newly appointed center Keanu Meniola who has one of the most important jobs on the field for any team as he starts the engine every snap.
When Finn looks to throw, the cupboard is certainly full with Bresson, Marens, Zak Mancini, Nick Pinatti and others.
There has been a healthy competition since the Raiders opened camp on August 17 after choosing not to partake in spring practice with any number of positions still up for grabs.
One slogan heard many a times at practices over the past two weeks stressed holding onto the ball.
“Ball Security Equals Job Security”.
A slogan ever team subscribes to is they look to be healthy in the turnover column.
It all starts in a dozen days and ends before they know it.
Here’s hoping the Raiders seniors enjoy every minute of the ride.