Raiders football gets back to winning with an easy 53-27 win over Sacred Heart.
TORRINGTON: Sure, they played a game on Friday night at the Robert H. Frost and demolished a team they should have disposed of but what mattered most Friday night was how the Torrington Raiders got over the last time they stepped on the gridiron.
Flash back to two weeks ago, to a game against a state powerhouse that didn’t go well and if nothing was learned from it, would not have helped them if and when they get to the promise land, the state playoffs.
Ansonia, as you know, came to Torrington and ruined a perfectly good party thrown for over 2500 fans by routing the home team, 54-14. Heck, it was 33-0 after the first quarter.
Those Chargers sure do know how to break a good tailgating event.
What did the Raiders lean from that humbling experience?
“We knew we didn’t play well (against Ansonia),” senior quarterback Connor Finn said, “I mean, it showed. We had to work on ourselves. We didn’t have a good week of practice that week and it cost us.”
Running through the Naugatuck Valley League to that point, including an inspiring 37-27 win over previously unbeaten Wolcott may have worked against the Raiders who may have been a little too content coming into the Ansonia game.
“It was a wake-up call,” fellow senior Eric Mayerjack said, “We knew we had to come in and really work harder than we did because it showed that we didn’t.”
Step one of the re-focus was easy on Friday night as the home team, on Senior Night, sent the substantially smaller crowd home with a 53-27 win over the Hearts in a game that, like two weeks ago, was over early.
Try 12-seconds in. That’s how long it took sophomore Dylan Myrie to return the opening kick 92-yards for a 6-0 lead on the way to a 40-7 halftime lead that had thoughts of the 50-point rule dancing in the back of your mind.
It wasn’t about this Friday night, though.
It was about how the team reacted to being pummeled in front of a huge crowd, media from all over the state and everything that goes with being in a big game that doesn’t in any way go your way.
It’s critical that the Raiders took something from that Chargers game as they look to finish the season strong, starting next week against a St Paul’s team that scores in their sleep.
The Falcons felt the wrath of Ansonia on Friday night as well, falling 44-6 to drop to 4-4 going into next week in Bristol.
After St Paul, the Raiders get a little extra time off before their annual battle for “The Helmet” on Thanksgiving in Watertown.
Throwing out the records is the norm on Turkey Day, strange things can and do happen that day.
For his part, Raider head coach Gaitan Rodriguez thought his team would bounce back quickly.
“I think we forgot about it fairly quickly,” Rodriguez said, “I think we had to. I think once the game is over, it’s over. You take whatever you can from that, learn from it and try to get better every day.”
On Senior Night, you couldn’t have asked for much more.
“Tonight I’m just happy our seniors get to go out with a win,” Rodriguez said, “All 16 of them. I’m really proud of that group, what they have accomplished.”
If the Raiders find themselves still playing come the twelve month of the year, the will need to learn from the lessons dished out against Ansonia because they will certainly not face any cupcake teams in the states.
Torrington is currently ranked #5 in Class L, the top four teams host first round games.
Four unbeaten teams are ahead of the Raiders. North Haven (8-0) is joined by New Cannan (7-0, Harding (7-0) and Windsor (7-0) in front of Torrington and if the season ended today, the Raiders would be on the road against Windsor.
To get the number four seed and another game at the Robert H. Frost, Torrington needs help.
New Cannan faces LL power Darien on Thanksgiving while Windsor faces Middletown (7-1) the day before Thanksgiving.
First though, taking care of business over the next two weeks needs to happen or it will be a long Thanksgiving weekend for Raiders fans.