WATERBURY — Naugatuck took care of business on Saturday in a 38-0 win over Waterbury Career at Municipal Stadium.
The win accomplished one of first-year Naugatuck head coach Dave Sollazzo’s goals for the season: be undefeated heading into the Thanksgiving Day rivalry game with Ansonia.
“It’s been since 2001 that Naugatuck has been 9-0 going into the Thanksgiving Day game,” Sollazzo said. “These guys are doing things that this team hasn’t done in a long time. We are going to enjoy this and come back on Monday and get back to work.”
The Greyhounds’ defense recorded its first shutout of the season, and that defensive effort was needed early as Naugatuck got off to a sluggish start on offense.
Naugy quarterback Mike Plasky found Malachi Gatison on a 15-yard touchdown pass to complete a five-play drive on the Greyhounds’ first possession. Zack Koslosky, who hit on all five extra points on the day, booted a 21-yard field goal to start the second quarter to put Naugy out in front 10-0.
The Greyhounds held a 10-0 lead at the break as Waterbury Career (3-6) was hanging around.
“The defense played rock solid the whole game and that’s what we needed,” Sollazzo said. “Offensively we got off to a slow start, but we really connected in the second half.”
A couple of turnovers stalled the Greyhounds’ offense, and the defense helped spark a 28-0 run in the second half as Jayden Anderson recovered a fumble and Nick Boudreau hauled in an interception.
Naugatuck came right out in the second half and established the running game with Doreon Chapman and Elijah Robinson taking turns churning up the real estate.
Efe Onakpoma scored from a yard out to up the lead to 17-0. Then, Anderson’s fumble recovery set up a 38-yard touchdown pass from Plasky to Koslosky for a 24-0 lead.
The Greyhounds took control of the game and continued to put pressure on Career as Robinson scored on a 6-yard blast to up the margin to 31-0 in the third quarter.
Gatison, who got the ball rolling with the first touchdown of the game, finished it off with a 27-yard touchdown run.
“We were able to establish the line of scrimmage in the second half,” Sollazzo said. “We had some guys step up because we have a few who are banged up. We played together and worked hard and came away with win and I’m very proud of our effort.”
The Greyhounds secured a playoff spot in Class LL with the win and are ranked No. 1 in the class. Naugatuck will now gear up for an NVL showdown against Ansonia on Thanksgiving Day in Naugatuck at 10 a.m.