Finn throws for three touchdowns in Torrington's 54-14 thrashing of Derby.
TORRINGTON: It was the game a year ago that sent their season rolling in the incorrect direction.
On Friday night in monsoon football weather, the Torrington Raiders made sure that would not happen again and as a result, move out to a 4-0 record following a 54-14 trouncing of the other Raiders in the Naugatuck Valley League, the Derby Red Raiders.
Recall back to nearly a year ago to the day the Robert H. Frost Complex and its brand new turf field opened too much fanfare, including a visit from the LT Governor of Connecticut, Nancy Wyman and other dignitaries.
After playing their first four games on the road and coming home 3-1, the team from the lower valley with the same nickname traveled north and ruined the housewarming party in a 37-7 whipping of the team with the brand new turf field.
That game began a five game losing streak which led to a disappointing 5-6 final mark, disappointing because of how much promise the fast start held with it.
This time around though, a mature and polished Torrington team doled out a slice of payback with a side of defensive dominance for good measure.
Was last year on their collective minds?
“I think it was,” senior quarterback Connor Finn said, “But in a good way. I think we wanted to make up for what happened last year on our home turf and we kind of wanted to do to them what they did to us last year.”
The visitors wasted little time establishing the running game out of their “monster” package that resembles the single wing and is tailor made for lousy weather football.
THS marched 81-yards in a hurry with Newton Frias romping 41-yards on the second play from scrimmage, setting up an eventual 21-yard touchdown pass from Finn to Tyler Marens (three touchdowns, one pass, two runs) on a swing pass on fourth and four that the senior back took to pay dirt.
“The guys came out with a lot of fight tonight,” Finn said, “It was physical, hard-nosed football and it was great.”
Finn would throw for three scores on the night, the second two to a player he has been practicing with for as long as either can remember.
On both scores, one for 42 yards, the other for 18, the pass came out of the monster package with Nate Bresson slipping out from his tight end position to catch perfectly thrown passes that caught the defense off guard.
“He’s a big target,” Finn said, “We have been practicing that play forever.”
For his part, Torrington head coach Gaitan Rodriguez understood his team had kept vivid memories of what happened 53 weeks earlier and wanted to do something about it.
“I think it was on the kids mind,” Rodriguez said, “A little bit. They were just very excited to come out here and play tonight. It’s the northern Raiders versus the southern Raiders. It might be turning into something, who knows.”
So the record moves out to 4-0. Only two other teams remain unblemished at this point.
Wolcott (4-0) and Ansonia (3-0). After a matchup with Oxford (1-2) on the road next week, the northern based Raiders will play those teams at home, in that order.
After their balanced performance on Friday night in the rain, their head coach was understandable happy.
“I was very pleased with how we executed tonight,” Rodriguez said, “Especially on defense. Offensively we were able to run the ball well. We got in our good old wet-weather monster package and it worked.”
What is also evident four weeks into the campaign is that the focus, dedication and maturity Rodriguez has been preaching since he arrived three years ago is on display every time the team takes the field.