NAUGATUCK — Four different Greyhounds registered rushing touchdowns, the defense made a pair of goal line stands, and Naugatuck won its second game in a row for the first time since 2007, 25-6 over Torrington Friday.
NHS contained, battered and eventually knocked out of the game Red Raiders star quarterback Chris DeBerry, he of the 194-yard, three-touchdown performance in a 39-0 win over Platt Tech in week one. DeBerry’s stat line was solid: 17 carries, 95 yards and a TD. But the Naugy defense was even more so.
After quarterback Erich Broadrich threw an interception on his first pass attempt of the game, the Hounds stuffed DeBerry and the Raiders on four consecutive plays inside the 5-yard line and only succumbed when a Dashawn Wingate fumble on Naugatuck’s very next snap gave Torrington another chance.
“That was just too much to ask [for the defense to stop Torrington again],” Greyhounds head coach Rob Plasky said. “Our defense pitched a shutout, as far as I’m concerned.”
Trailing 6-0, the Garnet and Grey offense held on to the football long enough for senior running back Marty DeJesus to start both a paydirt parade and one of the best individual performances by a Greyhound in recent memory with a 1-yard scamper off right tackle. DeJesus later recovered two fumbles, blocked a punt and added a sack.
The borough boys’ first touchdown seemed to pass the sloppy bug to the visitors. Torrington fumbled back-to-back kickoffs, and Naugy took control for the remainder of the chilly autumn evening. Sophomore Jake Yourison capitalized twice on the first Raiders’ miscue—he fell on the loose ball at the Torrington 24-yard line then muscled 12 yards into the end zone four plays later for his first career score.
The second error was induced by an educated gamble: Naugy surprised Torrington by breaking huddle and squib kicking without lining up in a traditional kickoff formation. The rolling ball bounced off the leg of a bewildered Red Raider, and DeJesus recovered.
“That’s something we practice,” Plasky explained. “We caught ‘em off guard. Coach [Brandon] Hayward felt their up-front was not awake, so we thought we’d try it. Our D was playing well, so we took a shot.”
Another fumble prevented the Greyhounds from taking advantage of their third straight possession, but their defense survived DeBerry’s longest run of the night—a 34-yard burst to the Naugatuck 34—and kept Torrington off the board.
With time running short in the first half, Broadrick hit senior wide receiver Matt D’Agnone on the run, picking up 54 yards and vaulting the Hounds back into the red zone. Junior Marquan Williams, lined up as a wide receiver to Broadrick’s right, curled around and carried the rock the rest of the way for a 16-yard touchdown and an 18-6 edge.
Torrington had a chance to cut into the lead on its next possession, eyeing first-and-goal from the 6 with 15 seconds to play in the half. But defensive end Nick Douglass sprinted through the line almost untouched and planted DeBerry for a 3-yard loss on the final play before the break.
That was the first of three hits that rattled the player many consider the best in the Naugatuck Valley League. In the third quarter, after DeJesus’ blocked punt led to a Wingate touchdown, his third of the season, DeBerry got dog-piled by Ken Jones, Aaron Echevarria and Douglass. He lost the ball and had to be helped to the sideline.
On Torrington’s next offensive play, the left-handed DeBerry was hammered as soon as he released a pass, by defensive tackle Dan Mariano, who somehow wormed his way through the Raiders’ line, despite Naugy using only three down linemen on the play. DeBerry tried to rise then doubled over and had to be escorted to the sideline again, this time for good.
Ever the model of sportsmanship, Mariano urged his teammates to congratulate DeBerry on a good game, after the final whistle.
Mariano also had so much fun during the contest that he didn’t want the night to end.
“Coach, I wish we could play another [game],” he told Plasky.
For the second week in a row, the Greyhounds were an inspired team. In the opener, it was Plasky’s 39th birthday, and the Hounds dedicated the game to injured senior captain Mike Kennedy. On Friday, players told Plasky they were playing for his grandmother, a devoted Greyhounds fan who passed away the day before the game.
“Coach,” volunteer assistant Chuck Rek said Monday, addressing Plasky, “we gotta find someone to play for this week.”