Curry, Maldonado lead Torrington over Derby, 32-13.
TORRINGTON: In their home and season opener a week ago against Woodland, the Torrington football team looked nothing like what their head coach, Gaitan Rodriguez, thought they were going to after an encouraging pre-season.
A 35-0 loss to a talented Woodland team left the Raiders a little on edge with an unwelcome visitor on their chests; an elephant.
“We had a saying all pre-season,” Rodriguez said. “Be the elephant that is pressing on our opponent’s chest. Last week we were feeling it and at times in the first half tonight we felt it.”
On this Friday night though, the Raiders co-captains, Ora Curry and Josh Maldonado did the necessary lifting of said elephant off the team’s chest by scoring 20 unanswered points in the second half of a 32-13 win over visiting Derby.
Curry scored on three rushing touchdowns while Maldonado bruised the Derby defense with 153 yards on 12 carries including a game sealing 43 yard burst down the right sideline in the second half that gave Torrington their first win of the year.
Derby had come in off a 28-18 win over Watertown in their season opener a week ago and brought with them a quarterback that will be haunting many for the next two years.
Sophomore Zerion Mongomery was a handful all night, rushing for nearly two hundred yards and a pair of touchdowns in the second quarter that put his team up 13-12 at the break.
Torrington had gotten on the board thanks to a strip sack by sophomore Aiden Traver that bounced right to senior Xavier Francis who raced 30-yards for the games opening score.
The play, one that nearly led to a touchdown by Derby on a previous drive, was a half back option that had a receiver wide open down field the first time, but the pass never got off.
Traver made sure it would not work this time either with Francis the happy recipient of the fumble.
Montgomery scored on runs of 15 and 45, the latter a sweep that started left but came back to the middle of the field as the speedy tenth grader went untouched the rest of the way.
The Torrington offense had not done much to that point until late in the first half, the Raiders upped their pace.
“We went into what we call Nascar,” Rodriguez said. “It’s a Nascar tempo, trying to score fast and when we made a couple of the plays, it got us going.”
Starting at their own 36 with exactly two minutes to go in the half, Curry connected with Junior Jacob Coleman on a crossing route that went for 46 yards, down to the Derby 18-yard line.
From there, the senior signal caller broke free up the middle for the score, bringing the Raiders within one at 13-12 at the half.
Torrington got the ball to start the second half and after a second down pass that was nearly intercepted was dropped by a Derby defender, Curry ran for ten yards and a first down on a third and ten.
Two plays later, after a Maldonado 17-yard run and a Curry to Rangel Pascual 23-yard connection, the signal caller powered through to the end zone, giving the home team the lead, they would not give back.
Curry’s third touchdown was his most impressive though.
On a play designed as a pass, a Derby defender came on a blitz off the corner and had Curry in his sights until the senior co-captain brought the ball down and broke several tackles on his way to a 26-yard touchdown run for a 25-13 lead.
Derby had a chance to get back within one score as the fourth quarter began and had a first and goal from the Torrington 10-yard line with plenty of time for a comeback.
The home team defense held though as a fourth down pass was broken up in the end zone and Torrington took over.
The game sealing drive started at their own 11-yard line and took seven plays with Maldonaldo breaking right on a sweep that went for 43-yards and a 32-13 lead.
It was a good win for the Raiders, one that removes, at least for the moment, the large animal that was residing on their collective chests.