Raiders use 50-point second half to breeze by Greyhounds, 57-26.
TORRINGTON: The glow of their Homecoming bonfire awaited them, but not before one more cheer, one more chance to stay together as the family they had worked so hard to become.
The Torrington Raiders football team gathered around the guy they call “Coach” (Gaitan Rodriguez to the rest of us) after they had come back from down 11 in the third quarter with an absolutely astounding 50 point second half.
Yes, I said 50 points in less than two quarters on their way to a 57-21 win over rival Naugatuck to run their record to 3-0 for the year.
In a game that saw the visiting Greyhounds employ a crazy three-location line formations on one touchdown drive that made you perform like a punch drunk boxer and just hit the one in the middle, it was the home team that took advantage of bizarre special teams play to blow it open.
Have you ever seen three consecutive kickoffs recovered by the kicking team? If you were at the Robert H. Frost on Friday night, you can cross that off your bucket list because it happened.
So, so many positive things to talk about in a game that the road team actually led 18-7 after a 29-yard touchdown pass from Michael Plasky to Jalen Datil on their first possession of the third quarter.
Let’s start with something most might not notice but speak volumes about how far this program has come in the three years head coach Gaitan Rodriguez has been at the helm.
Celebrations are part of any sport but getting too carried away while expressing ones joy can sometimes go too far.
On nearly all of the Raiders eight trips into the end zone, the player who held the rock when the ball crossed the plain did one thing: they handed the ball to the referee and moved on to the next play.
Huge development that shows how far the maturity has come with these Raiders, showing they can act like they have been there before because on Friday, especially in the second half, they lived there, that end zone.
After that Datil score, it went something like this.
Connor Finn to Zack Mancini for 18-yards and a score. Ball handed to ref.
Tyler Marins with the conversion. Ball handed to ref.
This is where it got very surreal for the home crowd and kind of strange for the visitors.
Kickoffs became kryptonite.
One short kick surprised the ‘Hounds and was recovered by Anthony Ryans.
Two plays later, a beautiful pump fake by Finn allowed Mancini a world of time to get behind the defense for a 48-yard score and the lead they would never give back.
Over the past two games, Finn, the senior quarterback has made plays happen by keeping them alive with his feet while his receivers worked to get free.
The next kickoff, I’m not kidding, bounced off the leg of a Naugatuck lineman just 10-yards away and right back to Dylan Myrie for another scoring opportunity, which took just five plays to occur when Mancini caught TD number three and once again, handed the ball to the ref.
29-18. Still a game, especially with the weapons the ‘Hounds had shown in the first half when they went to the break leading, 12-7.
The third turnover of the third quarter, an interception, put the home team in business at their own 16-yard line.
In a blink of the eye and three plays later, Ignacio Reynoso got himself involved when he broke out on the way to a 60-yard touchdown blast.
Scoring 50-points in a half might give one the impression that that team was running up the score but nothing could be farther than the truth.
The Raiders ran plays, the Greyhounds simply were not able to stop them.
Torrington has now scored an out of this word, 151 points in three games.
Derby (2-1) and Oxford (1-2) are on deck for the Raiders, both on the road.
It was the other Raiders (from Derby) that started the Torrington slide a year ago after the team got off to a 3-1 start.
The win also gives the Raiders a leg up in the NVL Iron Division where they are now tied with Wolcott at 3-0 while Naugatuck falls for the first time.