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Torrington rushes past Watertown to win season finale

POSTED November 30, 2014
BY John Nestor
Twitter: @nestorjdn

"The Helmet" stays in Torrington for another year after the Raiders beat rival Watertown by a 55-43 score on Saturday afternoon. A day after clearing the field, the Raiders ran for 473 yards.

TORRINGTON - The Torrington High School football team ran for seven touchdowns and its defense made just enough stops in a 55-43 victory over Watertown on Saturday afternoon at Robert H. Frost field.

Tyler Marens ran for three scores and Newton Frias added two touchdowns for the Raiders, who finished the season at 5-6 after winning their final two games.

Connor Finn and Ignacio Reynoso added rushing TDs and P.J. Killmartin booted a pair of 35-yard field goals for Torrington, which started the season 3-1, endured a tough five-game losing streak and then finished on a high note by winning the Helmet Trophy for the third straight season.

"It was very important for our program to get the win today," Torrington coach Gaitan Rodriguez said. "We were able to finish 5-5 in the league which is an improvement from a year ago and it's always important to win your last game going into the offseason. It gives you some momentum."

The run game was what gave the Raiders momentum on Saturday as the offensive line continually opened holes and Marens, Frias and company continually blasted through them.

Marens opened the scoring with a three-yard run to make it 6-0 and he added a 47-yarder later in the first quarter to put Torrington back on top 14-7.

"It sets the tone for next year to get this win and it's a nice way to send the seniors out with a home win," Marens said.

Connor Finn wasn't called on to pass often but was effective when he did. He connected with Nick Paniati for 23 yards down to the Watertown 22 and on the next play Newton Frias broke free and found pay-dirt to make it 21-13 with 9:23 left in the first half.

Torrington then seized control of the game in two plays. Killmartin popped the ensuing kickoff up on the right side and Ignacio Reynoso raced to the ball, fielding it on one bounce to give the Raiders the ball at Watertown 34.

On the next play Martens made took a pitch, made one cutback and was off to the races, scoring his third TD of the game to make it 28-13 with 8:52 left in the first half.

Killmartin connected on a 35-yard field goal with 37 seconds left in the second quarter to give the Raiders a 31-13 lead at the break.

Finn scored on a 10-yard run on Torrington's first possession of the second half that was set up by a Watertown turnover to make it 38-13 early in the third.

"Our line did a great job," Frias said. "We were able to pound the ball at them and we had room to run all game."

The scores kept coming for the Raiders as Reynoso ripped off a 64-yard TD run halfway through the third quarter to put the Raiders in front 45-21 and Killmartin's second field goal of the game made it 48-29 with 7:09 to play.

Watertown fought and was able to get its offense going but wasn't ever able to get the key stop it needed to overcome the big early deficit. Frias scored Torrington's final TD with 3:43 to go on a 30-yard run to give the Raiders a 55-37 lead.

"I like the way our offensive line was blocking today and grinding it out and our back ran hard," Rodriguez said. "They had a good offense out there and defensively we got a few stops when we needed them."

The Indians scored to cut the lead to 55-43 with 3:01 to play but the Raiders were able to run out the clock and the game ended with Finn taking a knee at the Watertown one.

After winning three games in Rodriguez's first season, the Raiders improved by two wins. There was a disappointing slide in the middle of the season but Torrington now heads into the offseason coming off a pair of big wins.

Now the next step the program needs to take is building on those wins and improving during the offseason.

"We are heading in the right direction," Rodriguez said. "We started off 3-1, took a dip in the middle of the season and now are on our way back up. I'm really proud of the way the kids finished and now we need to have everyone in the program committed and showing up to our offseason program. We'll start forming our goals and we need everyone hitting the weight room hard and getting it done in the classroom."

In a side note, that the game was even played was a credit to the Raiders, their coaching staff and some volunteers and friends of the program.  

On Friday morning was still covered by about seven inches of snow the annual grudge match between the Raiders and Indians scheduled to be played just over 24-hours later.

Raiders head Coach Gaitan Rodriguez and his player’s skipped practice, putting down the footballs and grabbing shovels to clear the field. Parents and other volunteers also lent a hand in clearing the newly completed 2.9 million dollar turf field.

With shovels, wheel barrels and four or five snow blowers the group went to work clearing the field. Other volunteers brought drinks, snacks and pizza for the workers around mid-day and later in the afternoon, two local supporters, Alfredo’s Deli and Jimmy’s Store in Torrington donated nearly 20 grinders to keep everyone energized for the task at hand.

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