Torrington blasts Woodland, showdown with Naugy up next
BEACON FALLS – Is it considered nitpicking if you are frustrated with mistakes in a 31-point road victory?
But good teams and good players are always looking for ways to improve. The Torrington football team is full of solid players and appear to be on its way to becoming a team to be reckoned with.
On Friday, the Red Raiders overcame two touchdowns called back due to penalty (a combined 105 yards between the two), an interception, and a lost fumble in cruising to a 44-13 victory over Woodland.
The Red Raiders (2-0), who will play host to Naugatuck in an early season NVL showdown next week, know they have room to improve, but also know they have the talent to overcome such mistakes. That was abundantly clear in this contest.
“We knew we had some things to clean up, and knew what we had to do to stop it,” said Tyler Marens, who rushed for 195 yards and three touchdowns. “It just came down to sticking with the game plan.”
Marens put on a two-way show in the second and third quarters, sucking the life out of the Hawks in the process.
After Torrington’s second touchdown got called back thanks to an illegal man downfield penalty, the Red Raiders were forced to punt.
On Woodland’s first play of the drive, Marens recovered a fumble, and promptly followed it up with an 80-yard touchdown run to put Torrington up, 16-7.
"That was a big swing in momentum for us," Marens said. "It really seemed to energize the team."
On the Red Raiders’ next possession, he scored on a 15-yard scamper. He then buried the Hawks early in the third, sacking Zack Bedryczuk on fourth-and-six at the Torrington 15. Two plays later, he was off on a 78-yard scoring run, upping the advantage to an insurmountable 30-7 cushion.
How did the 5-foot-6 star feel following that boatload of action?
“Tired. I don’t have the best stamina,” Marens joked. “It’s hard playing on both sides of the ball, but you have to just keep going.”
Torrington coach Gaitan Rodriguez was particularly pleased with Marens’ play on defense.
“Tyler’s a special player. Pound for pound he’s the strongest player on the team,” Rodriguez said. “He’s deceptively strong and is playing the best defense of his career. He’s really bought in on that side of the ball.”
This was far from a one-man show for Torrington, though. The Red Raiders depth was on display with Newton Frias rushing for 115 yards to go along with an impressive tackle-breaking 13-yard touchdown reception from Connor Finn. Justin Egliskis had a 10-yard interception return for a touchdown and Zack Mancini put on his best Odell Beckham Jr. impression, making a one-handed leaping catch in traffic in the second quarter.
Despite the long list of highlights, Rodriguez preached to his team following the game about the importance of next week’s showdown against Naugatuck. The Greyhounds are 2-0, scoring a combined 70 points against Kennedy and Holy Cross.
“This (win) sets things up nicely,” Rodriguez said, “but I’m just focused on Monday’s practice and reviewing film. Ask me how I feel (about the Naugatuck game) on Wednesday.”
He’ll, for the most part, like what he sees on film from this win, but it’s safe to say there will be a few things he won’t. And you can bet that’s what the Red Raiders will be focusing on.
That’s what good teams do - nitpick.