Naugatuck blanks Woodland to claim Pinho Trophy

NAUGATUCK — The Greyhounds would not be denied the George Pinho Trophy as the rain fell and the temperatures dropped last Friday night.

Even with kickoff time moved up 15 minutes, Naugatuck took the field with a familiar fire that led the Greyhounds to a shutout victory, 39-0, over Woodland to earn to right to hold the Pinho Trophy.

“Any time you can beat [Woodland] it feels good,” Naugatuck head coach Craig Bruno said. “It wouldn’t matter whatever the situation, but it’s an important night. It’s been a rivalry, and we were like 1-10 (versus Woodland) when I got here, so we’re feeling good.”

For four years the Greyhounds (3-1) and the Hawks (0-4) have battled for the George Pinho Memorial Trophy, named in honor of former Naugatuck High graduate and Woodland football coach George Pinho, who died unexpectedly in 2013.

Naugatuck’s offense put on a banner performance; kick starting the scoring from the first drive when quarterback Mike Plasky found Jalen Datil for a 54-yard touchdown.

Plasky and Datil proved to be a dynamic duo, as the pair connected on two more touchdowns in the first half.

Showcasing his speed throughout the night, Datil (4 catches, 189 yards) beat defenders to the ball on several occasions and provided a target for Plasky. Datil had only one thing in mind while running his routes.

“Every time I get the ball I just try to score and put points up for my team,” Datil said. “I can’t do it without them. We wanted to come out here and prove to everybody that we are one of the best teams here, if not the best team in the league.”

Plasky picked apart the Woodland defense through the air, going 12 for 18, tallying 272 passing yards, and three touchdown passes.

The junior captain felt that coming off of a rout against Torrington the week before gave the ‘Hounds some much-needed momentum.

“It fired the whole team up for sure,” Plasky said “We just wanted to keep that shutout going and reach eight quarters and keep it rolling offensively.”

Efe Onakpoma also scored in the second quarter on a 1-yard fourth-down run to give Naugatuck a 27-0 lead at halftime.

Jacob Fazekas tacked on a 44-yard touchdown run in the third before the defense put its stamp on the game.

Defensively, the ‘Hounds were on another rampage, and have played eight consecutive quarters of sound football and yielded no points.

Senior Daniel Oladapo tallied another two interceptions. The first came after Naugatuck’s first score and led to another scoring drive for the Hounds.

His last interception sealed the deal. With less than 4 minutes in the third quarter, Oladapo snagged the ball out the air, bobbed and weaved through defenders and hustled down the field for a 64-yard pick-six to push the lead to 39-0.

Woodland head coach Chris Moffo, who is in his first season at the helm, said the Hawks fought the entire night.

While it was his first time coaching in the George Pinho Memorial Trophy game, the importance of the night was not a mystery to Moffo.

“I got the opportunity to coach both [Pinho] boys, and it was a great opportunity,” Moffo said. “I got to know George. It means a lot for our program, and that family did a lot for us and did a lot for the school. Those boys, I love them both.”

Naugatuck looked to continue its winning ways Thursday against Wilby.

Woodland will hit the road Friday to take on Oxford at 6 p.m.