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Let the games begin

POSTED September 09, 2012
BY Rick Wilson
Twitter: @scribewilson

                                           Let the Games Begin

            Okay, let’s get the show on the road.

            While Mother Nature has been giving us that endless summer feel despite what the calendar says, school is back in session and teams have several weeks of working their sweat up in preparation for the season. That and 6,281 preseason football stories has us crying for the games to begin. So let it happen.

             A lot of questions and thoughts always abound while everybody is still even in the standings. Let’s start with football. How does Naugatuck handle what the preseason brought?

             In a story that has moved to the news pages as much as the sports pages, long-time coach Rob Plasky resigned for what allegedly amounts to recruiting violations of two players transferring from Sacred Heart.

             There are all sorts of ramifications here, none very good. Plasky, a personable, likeable guy and a good coach, may not coach again. Naugatuck awaits word of CIAC sanctions that could include a $10,000 fine, possible loss of postseason play and probation.

              What about on the field? How will the Greyhounds handle all of this? A new head coach, all the publicity and stigma attached to the scenario.  These are not easy days in Naugatuck for a proud football program.

               Then there are the nagging issues raised here that go beyond Naugatuck. What do you do about out of control booster clubs, apparently a sad part of the affair in Naugatuck? How often does this happen? Only the very naïve would believe this is an isolated incident.

               Nobody wants to be a whistle blower but even in Connecticut, recruiting is whispered about all the time. Most of the whispers are directed at the private schools, but do we really think it isn’t happening with the public schools?

               Getting away from Naugatuck, there is an interesting matchup for Torrington fans to open the season. The mighty Ansonia Chargers and their brilliant running back Arkeel Newsome come to the Robert H. Frost Complex Friday night. 

                A year ago the Chargers handled the Raiders, 49-20, at Jarvis Field in Newsome’s coming out party. The brilliant back who earned national recognition rushing for more than 3,000 yards, ran right, left, up the middle, around and everywhere else while scoring six touchdowns and racking up 346 yards rushing.

               All of this coming with the finest back in Torrington High history, Brendan Lytton, on the other side of the ball. Lytton is gone now, his THS days over and you wonder what is in store for Torrington.

               Raiders coach Dan Dunaj welcomes early season challenges like this and Ansonia will give you a very close look at where you stand. About 9:30 Friday night when the helmet banging concludes Torrington will know a lot more about who they are.

              As the season starts, keep your eyes, both of them on the Thomaston High girls cross country team. Running isn’t the glamour sport that football or even soccer is but what coach Mark Olsen’s program is doing is off of the charts.

              I wrote a column earlier this week on this program but you have to understand the special story it is writing. For a Class S team with maybe 150 girls in its school to be beating most of the schools in Connecticut and qualifying for the New England Regionals is almost unheard of.

              Three Class S teams have qualified for the New England Regionals and two of them wear Thomaston on their shirts. In 2010, the Bears finished 8th in New England and last year were ranked 8th in the East. Just say wow and appreciate.

               In girls soccer, Terryville and Thomaston are co-oping. This fascinates because it is Terryville and Thomaston, two schools with a long, wonderful history of combativeness.

               There has been a really good field hockey rivalry in recent years between Maggie Tieman’s Lewis Mills power and Kathy Brenner’s Nonnewaug team. Last year it was Nonnewaug. Once again expect those two to be playing for a title.

                In volleyball can former Terryville standout  Kaity Craig guide Wolcott to another NVL title or can Woodland recover from a first round loss to Torrington in the NVL Tournament after going through the regular season undefeated, claim gold this time around?

                 The Litchfield boys soccer team made it the Class S championship game a year ago. What’s up for the Cowboys this year. Can Art Nunes and his Naugatuck team recapture their traditional brilliance this season after a subpar year?

                 The questions abound, it is part of the mystery before the season. All even, who knows?

                 Let the games begin.

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