No quit in ‘Hounds

Naugatuck falls to South Windsor in quarterfinals

Naugatuck’s Elijah Robinson (6) gets to the outside past South Windsor’s Dylan Hodge (55) for a first down during a quarterfinal game of the Class LL playoffs Tuesday at East Hartford High School. South Windsor won the game, 35-13. -JIM SHANNON/REPUBLICAN-AMERICAN

EAST HARTFORD — The Naugatuck High football team would not quit Tuesday night.

The fifth-seeded Greyhounds saw their deficit to No. 4 South Windsor grow as the game stretched on. Even as the offense struggled to gain yards in the second half, Naugatuck left it all on the field. Mike Plasky connected with Zack Koslosky for a 53-yard touchdown with 9 seconds left in regulation in a 35-13 loss in the Class LL quarterfinals at East Hartford High.

“They kept fighting,” first-year Naugatuck coach Dave Sollazzo said. “Plus on a long run (on the previous South Windsor drive) Ricardo Montanez ran the guy down and then we stopped them. … We didn’t quit. We didn’t play well, but we didn’t quit.”

“They came out and they took it to us,” Plasky said.

Fate appeared to be on Naugy’s side at the start when South Windsor fumbled the opening kickoff, setting the Greyhounds up 25 yards away from the end zone. But the South Windsor defense held firm, and Koslosky just missed a 24-yard field goal attempt.

On the ensuing drive, South Windsor (10-1) pinned Naugatuck (9-2) deep in its own territory. The Bobcats pushed the Greyhounds even further back, forcing Plasky to punt from his own end zone.

The punt was blocked back through the end zone, putting South Windsor on the board with a safety midway through the first quarter.

After South Windsor went ahead 9-0, Naugy responded with a 13-play, 60-yard drive to get back within two.

Plasky, who was 7-for-20 passing for 121 yards, lofted a pass to Montanez for a 23-yard gain on third-and-16 from the South Windsor 40 to keep the drive alive. Plasky capped the drive four plays later with a 3-yard touchdown run.

A couple big plays before and after halftime cost Naugy.

Naugatuck’s Jonathon Vincent (22) celebrates after Naugatuck recovered a fumble on the opening kickoff against South Windsor during a quarterfinal game of the Class LL playoffs Tuesday at East Hartford High School. South Windsor won the game, 35-13. -JIM SHANNON/REPUBLICAN-AMERICAN

Down 15-7 with 44 seconds left in the first half, Sollazzo was looking for some momentum and called a couple of passing plays. But Plasky’s attempt on second down was picked off by South Windsor’s Ronnie Pinkard and returned 25 yards to the house.

“It wasn’t a good decision on my part,” said the senior quarterback, who was the only player on the Naugy roster with any postseason experience. “I just had to go get one back after that.”

South Windsor recovered an onside kick to start the second half and marched down the field. Pinkard finished the drive with an 8-yard touchdown run to extend the Bobcats’ lead to 27-7.

South Windsor will play No. 1 Greenwich in the semifinals at 12:30 p.m. Sunday.

Naugatuck, which opened the season with nine straight wins, will look back at a successful season that had its first playoff trip since 2014.

“I’m just thankful to make it back again, especially with these guys,” Plasky said.

“We ran into a little bit of a buzz saw the last two games, but no one expected us to win nine games this year,” Sollazzo added.