Fortifying the trenches key to Hawks taking step forward

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Woodland football captains, from left, Edit Kriva, Joe Shea, Joshua Hassan and Carter Amore will lead the Hawks on the gridiron this season. –ELIO GUGLIOTTI

BEACON FALLS — The Woodland football team enjoyed a four-win improvement last season from the season prior. If the Hawks want to take another step up this fall, it will come down to their ability to replace the big guys up front.

Woodland lost four starting linemen — three of whom were captains — from last year’s squad that went 5-5 with a largely ground-based offensive attack. Only senior center Josh Hassan and senior tight end Joe Shea return from that unit in the trenches, and head coach Chris Moffo is relying on them to help get the new linemen up to speed.

“Those guys are doing a great job of coaching those young guys up and getting them ready to go,” Moffo said.

Among the players expected to fill in on the offensive line are Alek Tolboe, Jason Hicks, Pete Rosato and Ryan Knobel.

“We’re looking for a lot of young guys to step up and contribute this season and become major role players,” Moffo said. “Those guys have been working hard in the offseason, and we’re looking for them to contribute heavily this year.”

The offensive line will be a major key to any offensive success the Hawks will have this season. They’ll have one of the league’s top returning running backs, Edit Krivca, chasing them down from behind.

Krivca posted a strong junior season in which he ran for 1,185 yards (6.8 yards per carry) and 20 touchdowns. He also earned All-Naugatuck Valley League honors as a defensive back.

“Edit brings toughness and speed to our team,” Moffo said. “When he’s running in the open field, he’s hard to bring down. He went through some growing pains as a sophomore, but we also knew he would play a key role in our program moving forward.”

“The key for me is to stay humble,” Krivca said. “You need all 11 guys to be successful. I’m not looking in the past. I’m thinking only about the future for the program.”

Krivca won’t be the only weapon in an offense led by junior quarterback Tyler Bulinski. Of the other four players who scored at least three rushing touchdowns last season — Zach Cochran, Zach Kabusk, Nick Rousseau and Ben Nuss — only Nuss graduated.

Moffo felt that last season taught many of the returning skill players resilience — “being able to understand the game, learn from their mistakes and execute,” he said.

When asked what would be the key to Woodland’s success this fall, Moffo uttered a simple phrase: “execution, execution, ball security and execution.”

The Hawks will open the season Friday at Torrington before their home opener Sept. 14 against Wilby.

The Republican-American contributed to this story.