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Torrington blasts Watertown, 34-7

POSTED November 26, 2010
BY Timothy W. Gaffney
Twitter: @TimothyGaffney


TORRINGTON - Torrington Red Raider senior running back Zack Schebell had a feeling he was going to touch the ball a few more times in his last game in uniform.

When he got the chance, he didn’t waste it, rushing for a back-breaking 50-yard touchdown run with just 22 seconds left in the first half of his team's 34-7 destruction of the Watertown Indians.

The win ends the 2010 Raiders campaign on an incredibly high note as they finish the year with a 7-3 record.

This one was about defense as much as a offense. The Red Raiders came out with a more diverse attack than at any other time in the season.

Sure, All-World running back Brenden Lytton scored on a 61-yard touchdown burst down the left side just 1:48 into the game and rushed for 242 yards, giving him a total of 2,362 in a remarkable junior year.

But it was the defense that set the tone from the start though, shutting down a high-powered Indians offense led by quarterback Matt Quatrano, who had come in with over 2,000 total yards in offensive production himself.

“We just wanted to come out and punch them in the mouth from the opening snap,” senior Dean Tsopanidies said. “We knew they were a great offense but we just had to take it to them early.”

The Indians didn’t post a first down until late in the second quarter and by then, the Raiders had gone up 13-0.

After the Lytton score, sophomore quarterback Jason Abbot, who has not been asked to do much this season aside from hand the ball to Lytton, crossed up Watertown when he connected with Will Quarles on a 34-yard reception on the Raiders' second drive of the game.

Quarles was wide open down the right sideline as the Indians corner played towards the inside, looking to cheat in for the run.

It would not be the last time a run-fake would work in the 45th meeting of these two rivals, who are now knotted at 22-22-1 in the all-time series standings.

Torrington is currently riding a three-game winning streak in the “Helmet Bowl”, which went into effect seven years ago with the Raiders now up 4-3 on that scoreboard.

How dominant was the Raiders defense?

Here are some scary statistics. Torrington held Watertown to just 35 yards rushing and 26 yards in the air. 61 totals yards of offense. If not for a third quarter errant pass from Abbott that was returned 55-yards for a score by Curtis Pomeroy, this would have been a shutout.

Schebell finished his stellar career in Torrington by bruising for 128 yards, often carrying defenders with him as he went.

“What a way for Zack to finish,” Raiders head coach Dan Dunaj said. “He worked hard to get back and had a great game last week and today.”

His 50-yard burst late in the quarter was set up by a gutsy fourth down call by Dunaj from his own 28 that rang true when Lytton gained seven on fourth-and-one.

A gambler almost all season, this one led to a 19-0 halftime lead two plays later.

Schebell took the handoff on the counter and appeared to be stopped twice on his way around the left side but kept fighting, eventually breaking free on a superb one-man effort tough to him long ago.

“I have always been taught to keep my legs going hard and high the entire play,” Schebell said. “It worked.”

As did most things the Raiders offense did on Thursday, a trick play drawn up during the extra preparation time between games even worked.

After Dominic Sansome recovered the second half on-sides kick at the Watertown 43, Lytton took a pitch and headed right on a sweep, but came up throwing.

He found a streaking Quarles all alone down the right side for an easy 43-yard scoring pass and a dagger.

Torrington would put up 460 total offensive yards (370 rushing, 90 in the air) on their way to their second easy win in the past two Helmet Bowls after posting a 30-7 win a year ago in Watertown.

That turkey always tastes better after a win and a program that just four short years ago posted a 1-9 record, will be enjoying every last bite.

NOTES: 1,072 fans were on hand to take in this game on a perfect Thanksgiving Day football Morning.

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