Bye week beneficial for Greyhounds

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By Kyle Brennan, Citizen’s News

Naugatuck’s Syed Ali (6) picks up yards on a run during a game against St. Paul on Oct. 1 at Naugatuck High School. –ELIO GUGLIOTTI

NAUGATUCK — The first of two bye weeks for the Naugatuck football team couldn’t have come at a better time — or been more beneficial — for the Greyhounds.

The Hounds had the second half of September off after suffering a 27-19 loss to Torrington on Sept. 17. The ensuing two weeks left plenty of time for adjustments, and Naugy responded Oct. 1 with a 54-6 thrashing of St. Paul.

“We definitely had a productive bye week,” said Naugatuck coach Chris Anderson, whose team will also be off Oct. 15 for its second and final bye week. “We went back and looked at some things we were doing as a staff. We went back to the film and reinstalled some of the packages we had. We didn’t feel like we were sharp enough, so we went back to basics.”

Revisiting the building blocks required a lot of time in the film room.

“It’s the fundamentals that ultimately will produce winning teams,” Anderson said. “When you start with basics like footwork, assignments and technique, and you film it — the film is the best teacher because they see it rather than hear it, so it holds them accountable.”

The Greyhounds also spent time during the week off working on line play, and it paid off to the tune of a 41-point lead after the first quarter of the game against St. Paul.

“The offensive line needed work and experience, and we tried to get that through the bye week,” Anderson noted. “The running game is one of our strong areas right now.”

Naugatuck’s running game has been a three-way attack led by Jett Hall, Mike Deitelbaum and Cayden Martin. All three scored against the Falcons, while Aiden Robertson and Chance Conklin also found pay dirt. Kyle Johnson ran back the opening kickoff for a touchdown.

“We have three backs who really carry the ball,” Anderson said. “Fullback Mike Deitelbaum is strong inside, Jett Hall has great speed to the outside, and Cayden is another wingback who is versatile. We felt like having those kids, we need to make sure they’re touching the ball a lot.”

After their Oct. 9 game against Kennedy and the ensuing bye week, there will be plenty of challenges in the second half of the season for Naugy. The Hounds will visit Watertown on Oct. 22, followed by a home game Oct. 29 vs. Holy Cross. Rivalry games against Woodland (Nov. 12) and Ansonia (Thanksgiving) headline the November slate.

With those challenges in mind, Anderson has turned to using a motto he said he hadn’t pulled out since the last time he’d coached youth football.

“Our motto over the last few weeks has been kaizen, which is Japanese for ‘continuous improvement,’” Anderson said. “Each day, we’re looking to be better than we were the previous day.”