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Raiders senior defenders hit hard and often in big win over Watertown.

POSTED November 27, 2010
BY Timothy W. Gaffney
Twitter: @TimothyGaffney

TORRINGTON For the second year in a row, the Torrington Red Raiders football team came away with a huge Thanksgiving Day win over rival Watertown, by a 34-7 score.

It is the Raiders third straight win in the “Helmet Bowl”, with the last two being unexpected blowouts.

The all-time series now stands knotted at 22-22-1, but what the past two seasons big wins on the final day of the year signified was just how far the Raiders have come in three years under coach Dan Dunaj.

Remember, it was just four short years ago that Torrington went 1-9.

That freshman class, that took the field on Thursday for the last time as a team, was one of the biggest reason why this program has put down real roots that start way before the season starts. It all started in the weight room, a discipline Dunaj brought with him form Seymour three years ago.

It has paid dividends ever since, and a look at what transpired on Thursday, sums up how much it has worked.

Start with Will Quarles who but a huge hit on Curtis Pomeroy after the running back caught a swing pass from quarterback, Matt Quatrano for a four-yard loss on the Indians first play from scrimmage.

That hit set the tone and his teammates where more than willing to take part in the defensive effort.

Fellow senior Dominic Sansone stopped Watertown on a fourth and one to set up the teams second score of the first quarter.

Brenden Lytton (39-242) had broken a 60-yard touchdown run on the Raiders fourth play from scrimmage to give the home team a 7-0 lead in less than two minutes.

The defense though, would continue to do great things to set up the offense, which was as diverse a unit as was seen this season on Thursday.

Seniors, Joe Lorenzo, Walter Lewis and Dominic Alfano each came up with huge sacks on Quatrano, who had no time to throw most of the game.

Sansone also recovered an onside kick to start the second half and one play later, Lytton hooked up with Quarles on the half-back option for a 43 yard score that was the dagger in this one.

Demetrius Daily (Double D, as he is known to Raiders fans) thwarted a drive with an interception early in the second quarter.

Dean Tsopanidies had the Watertown quarterback on the run all game long and played a tremendous game to cap off a great career in a Raiders uniform.

Then their was Zack Schebell, the running back who missed part of the season to a broken jaw he suffered when he tackled Lytton during practice.

It took the hard charging, emotional leader of this team, several games to find his game but over the past three weeks, teams have seen the Schebell of old.

Fresh off a four touchdown effort against St Paul a week and a half earlier, Schebell found his legs and the end zone again, late in the second quarter.

On a play that emulated what this senior captain brought to the program four years ago, Schebell took a handoff from mid-field, looked stopped twice, before rambling his way to a 50-yard touchdown run that gave the home team a 19-0 lead going into the half.

Schebell ended the game and his career at THS with 128 yards rushing, a sack and a near interception.

Want to keep a high powered offense from scoring? Keep them off the field and that’s exactly what the Raiders did to the Indians in the second half when they ran 36 plays to the visitors 16.

Add in allowing just 35 yards rushing and 26 yards passing and it’s safe to call that a dominating performance by a team and program that is heading in the right direction.

In 2011, the seniors who led this resurgence will be gone but several key elements remain.

Lytton, who finished a potential All-State season with 2362 yards rushing and 29 touchdowns, returns along with quarterback Jason Abbott, who had a solid game in the finale, connecting for a touchdown with senior Franklin Sosa in the first quarter.

Torrington finishes the season with the 7-3 record, good for 13th place in Class L, the toughest division in the State this season.

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