Torrington: Who says football players don’t pay attention during film sessions?
One player, DJ Williams, was paying close attention to a route run by a Waterbury Career Academy receiver and it paid off big time on Friday night as Williams came up with the game saving interception, preserving the Raiders 18-14 win.
“I knew that route,” William said, “I’d seen it on film, and I was ready for it.”
The key play sealed an important win for the Raiders who improved to 4-2 on the season, a drastic improvement from their 1-9 campaign a year ago with four to play.
“This team is maturing every week and playing as one, it’s a tight knit group and when things are not going right, they come together,” said a happy head coach Gaitan Rodriguez.
The home team had been clicking on all cylinders in the first half, scoring on three of their four possessions but the offense stalled in the second half as the visitors stiffened up on the defensive side of the ball.
In that first half, the Raiders took the opening kickoff and drove 69-yards in 12 plays with sophomore Aiden Hansen scoring from a yard out.
The two-point conversion was no good and Torrington led 6-0.
WCA would drive 63 yards themselves on their next possession, with running back D’Vonte Lane diving in from eight yards out.
The point after was good.
While their first possession may have chewed some clock, the second was quicker as Edwin Rivera turned the corner on a sweep and was gone for a 67-yard score.
On the previous play, quarterback Michael Ahoua had been stopped for no gain but on the next try, the home team found pay dirt.
The two-point conversion failed and THS led 12-7.
The Raiders would stop the visitors on a three and out and continued their offensive prowess with a 65-yard drive on 10 plays with Rivera again going in from four yards out on a fourth and one.
It remained an 18-7 game at the half but a long return on a short kickoff by Torrington had the Spartans in business deep in THS territory at the 22-yard line.
Quarterback Ethan Blaize scored on a draw from six yards out to cut the lead to 18-14.
The teams would trade turnovers; the Spartans recovered a fumble while Ahoua picked off Blaize in a busy third quarter.
Torrington had a golden opportunity in the fourth after WCA tried and failed a fake punt with the pass attempt tipped at the line by Raider Matt Adams.
The Raiders could not capitalize on that good fortune, having a touchdown called back on a holding penalty.
Waterbury Career Academy started their last drive at the Raider 14-yard line with 5:35 left and drove all the way to the Torrington nine before scoring an apparent touchdown that was called back due to an illegal man downfield penalty.
That set up the Williams heroics on a third and goal play that made everyone who called themselves Raiders fans happy Mr. Williams was paying attention during those all-important film sessions.