Hawks playing their best football of the season

BEACON FALLS — There’s no time better than the end of the season to be playing the best football of the year. Woodland High’s young bunch of Hawks has figured that out and is proving it on the field.

Six different players scored last Thursday for Woodland in a 49-12 demolition of Kennedy. It was the Hawks’ third straight victory and moved their record to 5-4.

“The kids did a great job,” Woodland head coach Chris Moffo said. “They believe in what they’re doing and they’ve worked toward it. They practice hard. We’re not the easiest people to work with, but they do a great job. They’ve pushed hard from January.”

The Hawks dominated from the start of last Thursday’s game, before which the squad honored its nine seniors. One of those is lineman and co-captain Jackson Henry, who helped pave the way for five rushing touchdowns on the night.

“We’ve come to practice ready to work. We’re just playing more as a team now,” Henry said.

Matt Mills caught a 2-yard touchdown pass from Tyler Bulinski and Nick Rousseau added an 11-yard touchdown run to give Woodland a 14-0 lead after the first quarter.

Mills also intercepted a pass in the first half, and he laid a key block to spring Mike Farina for a 93-yard interception-return touchdown late in the second quarter.

“Matt Mills has really been practicing hard on defense. We call him ‘Mills Island,’” said Henry, alluding to NFL cornerback Darrelle Revis. “I don’t think Mike Farina is ever going to shut up about that return.”

“Matt Mills, we always kid with him because he has a tough time catching the ball when it’s thrown right at him,” Moffo joked. “But he did a great job tonight. He was just unbelievable.”

Ben Nuss ran for touchdowns of 2 and 13 yards, Zack Cochran tacked on a 22-yard scoring run and Edit Krivca punched in the game’s last score on a 7-yard run. Angelo Kollcinaku was a perfect 7-for-7 on point-after kicks.

Henry attributed the Hawks’ three-game winning streak, which also includes victories over St. Paul and Torrington, to “mental toughness” and the team’s ability to play through injuries. Now, the team is perhaps as healthy as it’s been since the preseason entering the annual Thanksgiving eve rivalry matchup against Seymour, which is set for a 6 p.m. kickoff at DeBarber Field.

The Wildcats have won the last two meetings against the Hawks to take an 8-7 lead in the all-time series. Woodland could potentially keep Seymour out of the Class S state playoffs if the Hawks pull the upset.

“We really have to put in the work,” Henry said. “We know it’s our last game, so we have to leave it all out there.”