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Busy time ahead in high school tournament action and at UConn.

POSTED November 02, 2014
BY Timothy W. Gaffney
Twitter: @TimothyGaffney

TORRINGTON: Busy times ahead as the post season begins in high school sports around the state while the UConn men and women’s basketball teams get underway with their exhibition schedule while the Huskies football team tries to keep fans interested with a game in East Hartford on Saturday at noon.

First to the college scene on the gridiron.

The Huskies football team put a bit of a scare in East Carolina nine days ago, falling 31-21 after being a 28-point underdog to the then 18th ranked Pirates who no longer hold such rank because they struggled with a team ranked over the triple digit rank on the offensive side of the ball.

This week for the first time in what seems like an eternity, football returns the Rentschler Field as UCF comes to town.

After losing their first two games this season, the Knights are riding a five game winning streak with three of those wins coming against American Athletic Conference foes, Houston, Tulane and Temple. Throw in a 31-24 win over BYU (who beat the Huskies 35-10 in the season opener) and one can see that this is a team on a roll as November kicks in.

The Knights are led by quarterback, Justin Holman who has thrown for over 1400 yards and 11 touchdowns in his six starts while running back William Stanback has churned out 364 yards and six scores to date.

 For UConn, an offense that looked awful in a 12-3 loss to Tulane the week before it awakened against the Pirates, putting a scare into the home team by going to the fourth quarter tied at 21 apiece.

Quarterback Chandler Whitmer connected on touchdown throw of 32 yards to Noel Thomas in the first quarter and 88-yards to Deshon Foxx near the end of the third quarter.

Whitmer, the fifth year senior, was given about as good a protection as had been seen from the offensive line all year and as a result was able to make plays.

The running back picture has changed over the past month the Huskies have been gone as Max DeLorenzo has lost most of his time to freshman Ron Johnson and Arkeel Newsome who was limited to one series against ECU but is expected to see more time this week.

Let’s face it, this year is lost. Head coach Bob Diaco is looking at who is going to fit into his plans down the line as he works to develop this into his team, which is certainly going to take some time.

It’s Homecoming Day on Saturday and the Jasper Howard statue will be unveiled at halftime of what the home fans will hope will be a positive day at The Rent.

UConn men’s basketball: The trip to NYC on Wednesday was clearly all about the Huskie men and their chances of repeating as National Champions this season.

With a diluted AAC that lost Louisville and Rutgers, there are still a few teams that can give UConn a tough game here and there (Cincinnati, SMU) but the tough outs will come in their non-conference schedule which they will need to do well in if they want to get RPI points that will help them come seeding time for the NCAA Tournament.

Games against Duke (Izod Center), Florida and Stanford on the road will be tough tests for a team now led by senior Ryan Boatright who decided against entering the NBA Draft a year ago in order to go for the top spot in college hoops one more time.

Their regular season kicks off on Friday, November 14 against Bryant at Gampel Pavilion in Storrs.

UConn women’s basketball: The watered down AAC is even worse news for the competitive level of play the Huskies will see night after night. It’s really tough to see them losing any in conference contests this season.

Road games against Stanford in their second game of the year and a road test against Notre Dame in early December will be important, as will home games against Duke and UCLA.

The loss of two key players (Stefanie Dolson and Bria Hartley) will allow several new players the opportunity to step up and try and fill those gaps.

West Chester is first on the exhibition schedule this Sunday at Gampel with the regular season opener scheduled for November 14 in California against UC Davis.

Local high school states: With three teams finishing the regular season without a loss on their record, all eyes will be on the teams from Lewis Mills this post season.

Boys’ soccer, girls soccer and field hockey posted perfect records and begin play next week.

In Torrington, the boys’ soccer team gets their run underway on Monday when they host North Haven at THS starting at 2 p.m. The Raiders are hoping to half midfielder Alex Church back then after he was injured in the semi-finals of the NVL Tournament earlier this week.

The Raiders girls’ volleyball team will take to the hardwood as well on Monday when they host Sacred Heart Academy at 6 p.m.

Wolcott Tech has had a tremendous regular season run that saw them post an 18-2 record and a first round home game against Bolton on Monday night as well.

Who will be the team that takes us the longest way towards Thanksgiving? Stay tuned.

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