By Ken Morse, Citizen’s News
NAUGATUCK — Not all journeys are of the straight and narrow variety. Most are filled with hills and valleys.
With a new coaching staff and a roster full of players with little or no varsity experience, the Naugatuck football team went into a bye week last week at 1-1 on the season.
“We are going to use this bye week to concentrate on getting better ourselves,” head coach Chris Anderson said. “Learning what we need to do in certain situations.”
Through two games, the Greyhounds have performed well in some areas, while other areas need work, but for the most part they have realized that each week will present its own set of challenges.
“We are progressing a little slower than I would have liked,” Anderson said. “But considering that there was no season last year, I’m pleased to see the boys working hard and they are learning what it takes to build a foundation for success.”
The Greyhounds relied on the strength of the guys in the trenches, a bruising running game and a stingy defense to open the season with a 22-0 win over Oxford on Sept. 10. Jett Hall (9-86), Cayden Martin (14-87) and Michael Deitelbaum (12-67) rushed for 240 yards combined.
On Sept. 17, mistakes, missed opportunities and trouble slowing down Torrington running back Sean Clinkscales, who rushed for 169 yards on 24 carries, led to a 27-19 loss.
The Raiders took a 20-3 lead into the fourth quarter. The Greyhounds showed fight and rallied with a 16-point fourth quarter. Naugy cut the lead to eight points with 2:14 left on a 25-yard touchdown pass from Jibree Bartelle to David Bien. Hall tacked on the two-point conversion.
The ensuing onside kick attempt failed and Torrington was able to run out the clock.
Hall led the ground game (16-89) and added a six-yard touchdown run.
The Hounds had some breakdowns and penalties hamper drives, but these are things that can be fixed.
“A new coaching staff coming in, not a lot of depth on the line and players going both ways,” Anderson said. “There is a lot to take in and a lot to learn in a relatively short period of time. It’s going to take some time, and this is a work in progress.”
“The bye week allows us to get back to the drawing board, look at some of the basics again and improve as a team,” he added. “That’s all we are really looking at right now.”
Naugy will host St. Paul on Oct. 1 and head to Municipal Stadium in Waterbury Oct. 9 to face Kennedy, before another bye week.