[local /wp-content/uploads/2010/11/NaugyWoodlandFootball.flv Naugatuck vs. Woodland Football]
NAUGATUCK – Naugatuck’s offense had its way with seven defenses in the first seven weeks of the season. It had no such luck in Week 8.
The Woodland defense held the Hounds to less than 200 yards of offense and just six points as the Hawks beat Naugatuck, 25-6, Friday night at Veterans Field.
Woodland’s defensive backfield, which hasn’t been great this season, limited Naugatuck’s Erich Broadrick the way no team has been able to so far, allowing him to complete just eight of 25 passes for 84 yards.
“We knew that was our weakness,” said Woodland’s Craig Genz of the Hawks’ pass defense. “In practice we were doing pass drills and pass drills and it paid off today.”
The Hounds were in position to tie the game on their first drive of the second half thanks to a 57-yard kickoff return by Reuban Berger. But the Hawks held firmly, forcing a fourth-and-3 at their own 11-yard line.
Then, Jack DeBiase took Naugy’s momentum and turned it inside out when he jumped a quick out-route and returned the interception for a 96-yard touchdown, giving the Hawks a 12-0 lead.
“We do a great job of scouting so I had a couple plays in my head that I knew they were going to run,” DeBiase said. “As soon as I saw the back come out of the backfield I jumped the route, caught the ball, and found the end zone.”
The Hawk forced Naugatuck to punt four times and made three turnovers on downs in eight full possessions. This came against a team that had averaged 44 points per game this season.
“Our defense came together as a team tonight,” DeBiase said. “Our D-line played great, the DBs played great and the linebackers came up when they needed to. It was an overall great team effort.”
The game could have changed late in the third when a bad snap on a punt attempt by Woodland gave the Hounds the ball at Woodland’s 30. Broadrick immediately capitalized, tossing a 30-yard touchdown to Berger to cut the deficit in half at 12-6 with 2:32 to play in the third.
But Chris Williams stopped Naugy’s momentum dead in its tracks as he returned the ensuing kickoff 74 yards to set up a first-and-goal at the Naugatuck 6.
Woodland used all four downs but, punched it in from four yards out on a misdirection run up the middle by Matt Zaccagnini to make it 19-6 at the end of the third.
Woodland’s defense may have saved the game on its first series after DeBiase fumbled the ball on the second play of the game to give Naugatuck possession at Woodland’s 33. But the Hawks forced a turnover on downs at their own 11 to prevent an early catastrophe.
“I think that in crucial times they made big plays,” said Naugatuck coach Rob Plasky. “We ran the ball, we threw the ball. They stopped both of them. We played behind all game. They came after us.”
The Greyhounds won the field position battle throughout the first half, consistently pinning Woodland inside its own 15-yard line. But the Hawks ran the ball well enough through the scoreless first 21 minutes of the game to stay alive.
Late in the second, DeBiase utilized an overload-right formation and took off to the left, scampering 33 yards to set up a first-and-goal at the 6. On the next play, DeBiase bowled over two Greyhounds to give the Hawks a 6-0 edge.
Genz scored the final touchdown with 1:29 left on a 12-yard burst up the middle to seal the upset.
“We like being the underdogs,” said Woodland coach Tim Shea. “Whenever you pick us as the favorite, we get worried. Nobody said we could and we did.”