Torrington Football breaks camp after solid preseason. By John Nestor
TORRINGTON - The Torrington High School Football team faced some good competition in the preseason to prepare for its upcoming 2012 campaign. Good thing, because they face some tough competition right out of the gate.
The Red Raiders put the finishing touches on their preseason Thursday night when they hosted New London for a game scrimmage at Torrington High. A day off on Friday will be followed by game week preparations for Ansonia, the Class M state champions of a year ago.
After hosting the Chargers on Sept. 14, Torrington then faces Wolcott on the road and hosts Holy Cross the following Friday. Wolcott was a playoff team last year and Holy Cross won the Class S state title.
With a tough slate like that to open the season, the Red Raiders wanted tough games in the preseason and included Farmington (9-1 in Class L last season) and New London (9-1, Class L playoffs) in their preseason slate. It helped coach Dan Dunaj and his staff get a feel for his team and what he had to work with.
"We have had a few injuries here and there but we've had some kids do a good job and win their position battles," Dunaj said. "As a coaching staff, we have a good idea about which 11 kids we are going to put on the field for offense, defense and special teams."
One player Dunaj won't have out there this season is Brenden Lytton, who was one of the top running backs in the state last season and a solid player on defense. Senior Juan Toribio showed signs of being an explosive offensive threat last year and will be called upon to be the main replacement for Lytton.
But the Red Raiders are working on developing balance on offense and will look to senior quarterback Phil Bresson to step up and provide a solid passing attack. Bresson looked sharp for most of Thursday's scrimmage, throwing a pair of touchdown passes in about three quarters of work.
Desmond Langs and Edgar Gonzalez were Bresson's favorite targets Thursday, each hauling in a TD pass and will provide the Red Raiders with good size at the wide receiver position.
The defense had a solid preseason and should be a good compliment to what Dunaj sees as an offense that has the potential to be explosive when it gets all its pieces back.
"Our defense has played significantly better in the preseason," Dunja said. "We played some good teams in our scrimmages, had a goal-line stand against Farmington, which is a good team and we have had a good preseason on that side of the ball. We have some playmakers and we have a passing game, which will make us better overall on offense."
The Red Raiders were down seven starting positions due to injuries for the scrimmage against New London but Dunaj expects at least six of the spots to be filled for the season opener. And as the health of the team improves, he also wants to see the effort ramped up a bit.
"We could have played harder, tonight and in a few spots this preseason," Dunaj said. "We just need to get in the habit of playing harder longer. That will be something on Saturday we'll talk about and I know the kids will come out swinging."