Balanced attack leads Greyhounds

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By Kyle Brennan, Citizen’s News

Naugatuck’s Jibree Bartelle (12) tries to get through the Watertown defense during a game against Watertown on Oct. 22 at Watertown High School. -JIM SHANNON/REPUBLICAN-AMERICAN

NAUGATUCK — The offensive and defensive weapons that the Naugatuck football team boasts are turning the Greyhounds into a team that nobody in the Naugatuck Valley League wants to play during the final month of the season.

Naugy improved to 4-1 with a 34-12 victory over Watertown on Oct. 22. It was the Greyhounds’ third straight victory and proved the balance that Naugatuck has on all sides of the ball.

The rushing attack racked up 260 yards, led by Jett Hall’s 115 yards on 10 carries. Michael Deitelbaum added 69 yards and three touchdowns on 12 carries, while Syed Ali scored on a 57-yard run in the third quarter.

“We love to pound the rock, and we have some really good backs in our lineup,” Naugatuck coach Chris Anderson told the Republican-American. “We are also trying to be physical. That is who we are right now.”

Anderson added that he’s impressed with the improvement of quarterback Jibree Bartell in facilitating the complex wing-T offense and the offensive line in opening holes for the runners.

Hall has been a particular standout in the backfield. Although he didn’t find the end zone against Watertown, he racked up 105 of his yards in the first half.

“For a sophomore, Jett is very impressive,” Anderson told the Rep-Am. “He’s a real student of the game and has a lot of heart. He’s also a very humble teammate, always praising the other players.”

To that end, Hall praised junior left tackle Justin Ramos, senior left guard Mike Rusin, junior center Kani Burrell, junior guard Jacob Sanchez and junior right tackle Carmine Navarra for the work they’ve done.

“The line is getting better every week, and it’s a great feeling when they create an opening for you,” Hall told the Rep-Am.

Naugatuck’s Michael Deitlebaum (38) celebrates his touchdown run during a game against Watertown on Oct. 22 at Watertown High School. -JIM SHANNON/REPUBLICAN-AMERICAN

Special teams also stood out in the recent win. Cayden Martin blocked a second-quarter punt that turned into one of Deitelbaum’s three touchdown runs and helped to break open the game.

“It was my first touchdown ever off a special teams play,” Deitelbaum said. “Special teams was preached to us in practice, and for us to create turnovers. We know it’s an important phase of the game. It was definitely a momentum changer for us in this game.”

Naugatuck turns its attention to a challenging second half of the season, starting Oct. 29 against Holy Cross. Anderson said he was concerned about depth due to injuries and COVID-19 quarantines entering the home matchup with the Crusaders.

November is full of tests — Nov. 5 at Wolcott, Nov. 12 vs. Woodland, Nov. 18 vs. Crosby and Thanksgiving at Ansonia. Anderson said he knows that opponents won’t care who the Hounds put on the field; they’ll have to find ways to compete.

“You can’t make excuses,” Anderson said. “You have to find a way to get the job done. You tell the kids every week that the standard is the standard, and that is the standard of excellence. That is where we are trying to get. I’m not sure we are there yet, that is what we are working toward.”

The Republican-American contributed to this article.