Special campaign for Raiders continues in 46-8 blowout of Hearts. WCA up next.
TORRINGTON: Even if you didn’t see the play, one that took place halfway through the third quarter of the Torrington 46-8 shellacking of visiting Sacred Heart, you heard it.
What you heard was a jarring block by two Raiders, Zack Bromley and Jacob Coleman that sealed the sidelines and allowed Conrad Avallone to score his fourth rushing touchdown of the game, this one from 37-yards out.
The two players took a moment to nod to each other as they savored a play that represents what this team has done on their way to a 3-1 start. Play hard-nosed physical football. The Mano-A Mano type of ball that is won on the line with blocking.
Avallone was a one- man wrecking crew with four rushing touchdowns (12, 26, 3 and 37) while throwing another to Lucas Stannard that was created by his ability to avoid the rush, scramble some and find his man in the endzone for the score.
The Raiders defense sacked the Hearts quarterback, Alexandre Gonzalez seven time with four sacks coming from sophomore Logan Kovall and a pair by Aidin Traver. Sophomore Brenden McGowan added a sack of his own in the second half.
Playing at 3 p.m. didn’t seem to phase the home team and kudos to the fans who packed the home bleachers for a game moved from 7 p.m. to the early time as a precaution due to EEE concerns.
The THS band, dance and cheer teams all adapted well to the time change to show their support a team that is building something special this season.
Avallone opened the Raiders scoring after the defense held the Hearts, who had pulled off a successful on-side kick to open the game but were stifled by the first of Kovall’s sacks, a regular sight at THS games right now.
The sophomore has become some kind of pass rusher.
“Logan has become very dynamic,” head coach Gaitan Rodriguez said. “A lot of power and when he pass-rushes with his quickness, he can beat most of the tackles in the league. He’s starting to mature as a player and that’s good to see.”
The Hearts brought a big quarterback in Gonzalez who wasn’t afraid to put the ball up and on the second drive of the game, he connected on a 46-yard pass to Josue Salazar that put the visitors in business at the Raiders 15-yard line.
Gonzalez tried to over the middle on the next play but Coleman, a force himself this year on both sides of the ball, went up high to intercept the pass and returned it 85-yards to the Hearts 10-yard line.
Two plays later, Avallone found Stannard from seven yards out after showing his ability under duress. The senior waited for his receiver to come across the middle on his route and found him for an 18-0 lead at that point.
It was 26-0 after one quarter and 33-0 at the half.
That play by Bromley and Coleman in the second half also gave the folks gathered a sight we don’t see that often; a running clock for the remainder of the game.
Hargrove added a roaming 44-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter to complete the home teams scoring. I say roaming because he started on the right side, went towards the middle, changed directions and completed his journey to six points down the left sideline.
What is it about this team that has folks sitting up and taking notice?
“All summer we were talking about how we could improve from last year,” Traver said. “We went 4-6 and it wasn’t the greatest year but everybody has worked so hard and we have been pushing each other to a higher standard.
The Raiders could be 4-0 at this point. Their season opening 18-8 loss at Woodland was an eye opener for many but one Traver and his teammates thought they should have had.
“The loss to Woodland was heartbreaking,” Traver said. “We wanted to bring it to them and we did but we couldn’t get the job done so we committed to work even harder.”
Traver, a junior, is one of the reasons this team simply beats you at the line of scrimmage, one play at a time.
The defensive line held the Hearts to just 49 yards rushing, just 182 yards of total offense.
Next up for the Raiders is a big test on short rest as they travel to take on Waterbury Career Academy next Thursday in another afternoon game, this one at Municipal Stadium in Waterbury starting at 3:30.
The Spartans bring with them one of the most talented players in the league, running back/defensive lineman Jalen Godie who is a playmaker on both sides of the ball.
It’s a big game for the Raiders who will look to go to 4-1 with Wilby (2-2) and Naugatuck (3-0) coming up after that in Torrington’s last two home games of the year.
Torrington 46, Sacred Heart 8
Sacred Heart 0 0 0 8 8
Torrington 26 7 6 7 46
(T): Conrad Avallone 12 run (kick failed)
(T): Dillon Hargrove 11 run (kick failed)
(T): Lucas Stannard 7 pass from Avallone (Joe White kick)
(T): Avallone 26 run (White kick)
(T): Avallone 3 run (White kick)
(T): Avallone 37 run (kick failed)
(T): Hargrove 44 run (White kick)
(SH): Josue Salazar 36 pass from Alexandre Gonzalez (Gonzalez run)
Rushing: (SH): Gonzalez 8-34, Takai Coleman 9-12 (T): Christian Estefani 5-57, Avallone 12-127, Jacob Coleman 5-14, Hargrove 3-67, Exodus Rosado 1-3
Passing: (SH): Gonzalez: 9-19-132 (T): Avallone 1-3-7
Receiving: (SH) Salazar 5-89, Coleman 1-2 (T) Stannard 1-7
Records: Sacred Heart 0-4, Torrington 3-1