Greyhounds right where they want to be  


NAUGATUCK — The Greyhounds came out of Naugatuck Valley League’s bye week right where they wanted to be, with an unblemished record.

“The key right now is us,” Naugatuck head football coach Dave Sollazzo said. “There is no doubt in my mind that our opponent will show up. The bottom line is will we show up? We are just trying to improve every single day in everything we do. If we embrace the process and come out with passion, we will be just fine.”

Naugatuck (4-0) has shown up on both sides of the ball so far this year. The defense has surrendered just 31 points on five touchdowns, while the offense has scored 175 points and 25 touchdowns.

A stifling defense has been a staple for the ‘Hounds the last few seasons under defensive coordinator Kevin Cretella. Last season, Naugy posted six shutouts.

“The most important thing is our coaches teaching technique and fundamentals, that’s where it all starts,” Sollazzo said. “Kevin is a Naugatuck guy and has experience coaching at the college ranks. So he knows how to break it down and take opponents out of their game.”

The defense has given up 242 yards passing and 252 yards rushing, and has allowed just four third down conversations in 21 attempts.

Herve Tshibamba is the leader up front in the trenches, and quick-hitting defenders Jason Spino, Nick Linton, Charlie Sinotte, Aaron Smith and Denzel Amoako stop opponents in their tracks.

Offensive coordinator Ollie Gray has sparked a unit that has racked up 541 yards passing and 959 yards rushing. The Greyhounds have also converted on 18 of 24 third downs.

“Coach Gray has done a great job with the offense,” Sollazzo said. “Coach Brendan McQueeney has been working with quarterback Jay Mezzo and the development over the past two years has turned him into a leader.

“But it all starts up front, and our line coach Scott Langenheim has these guys playing physical. Our seniors, Anson Lau, Josh Lastra, Ty Dippelhofer and Alex Chacon, have really made a difference.”

Mezzo has thrown for 10 touchdowns this year. Isaiah Williams leads the team with nine catches for 165 yards and four touchdowns.

Jeff Schebell has been a double threat, rushing for 245 yards and five touchdowns and catching eight passes for 128 yards. Paul Marsh is another double-threat with 66 yards rushing and two touchdowns and 175 yards receiving and two touchdowns.

Malachi Gatison, who has rushed for 249 yards and three touchdowns, had a big game on the ground in the Greyhounds’ 43-6 win over Oxford Oct. 11. The senior ran for 171 yards and a pair of touchdowns.

“You can draw up all the X’s and O’s you want,” Sollazzo said. “It still comes down to how hard you play and how smart you play. Isaiah has been catching some balls for us and it was good to get Malachi back, that gives us some balance, but the guy who is playing his best football is Jeff Schebell. He has really stepped up and is doing a great job for us.”

The Greyhounds will be back on the gridiron Friday when they host Kennedy.