NAUGATUCK — You know it’s a good night when Naugatuck starts kicking extra points, and last Friday was certainly a good night for the Greyhounds as they ran away with a 52-0 win over Torrington.
Naugatuck (2-1) football is known for many things, kicking isn’t currently one of them with head coach Craig Bruno’s penchant for going for two. Nonetheless Naugy fans were in for an interesting wrinkle when lineman Ben Rossi took the field to kick an extra point several times instead of the expected two-point conversion.
Bruno said once the ‘Hounds had a solid 26-point lead it was time to get Rossi in for some extra point reps.
“We always [kick PATs] when we have a lead — whenever it’s comfortable,” Bruno said. “We score less points if we do, so that’s why we [go for two-point conversions].”
Last year, Naugatuck only kicked two PATs, both missing, but that didn’t stop Bruno from keeping Rossi prepared for his next opportunity.
“Coach, all throughout the offseason, told me ‘you’re going to be our guy for PATs just keep practicing,’” Rossi said. “At the end of practice we’d always make them and finally we just started kicking the PATs. Thank God two of them went in.”
The Greyhounds headed into the matchup against Torrington (1-2) with a large chip on their shoulders, having suffered a devastating loss to Seymour the week before and a streak-ending defeat to the Red Raiders last season.
The Garnett and Grey outperformed Torrington on both sides of the ball to secure a blowout victory.
Offensively, Naugatuck dominated with a mix of smash-mouth rushing and strong passing. Quarterback Mike Plasky accounted for six out of eight Greyhound touchdowns.
The junior quarterback showcased his arm, connecting with senior Jalen Datil three times through the air and once with sophomore Jacob Fazeikas, for a quartet of passing touchdowns. Plasky added two scores on the ground.
Plasky said redemption was on his mind as he took the field against Torrington with a purpose.
“I’m happy we were able to bounce back after last week and get one back after what these guys did to us last year,” Plasky said. “Hopefully we can get moving in the right direction now.”
Defensively, the Greyhounds were relentless; rallying behind players like linebacker Hubert Lutzykowski and cornerback Daniel Oladapo, who kick started the defense from the opening drive with a crucial interception that led to Naugatuck’s first touchdown series. Oladapo would go on to dish out some more punishment later on with a massive hit on a Red Raiders’ receiver, jarring the ball loose.
“When I saw that guy caught the ball at the sideline I made the hit,” Oladapo said. “I’ve been trying to get one of those for a while now, and I finally got one tonight. This is our payback for last year.”
Even with the Hounds up 20-0, Bruno could be heard from the sideline reminding his players to “be tough.” Bruno said the message he wanted to convey to his defense was to continue to play with the same intensity throughout the game and throughout the season.
Naugatuck will host Woodland on Friday at 7 p.m. for the George Pinho Memorial Trophy. This will be the fourth time the two teams have battled for the title, and last year the Hawks captured trophy. The Greyhounds will be looking to snag the Pinho Trophy, more payback, and some momentum for the rest of the season.