WATERTOWN — The Woodland defense came into the season-opener with a game plan, then went out and worked it to perfection. The Hawks blanked Watertown by a 24-0 margin last Friday.
“We knew that Watertown had a good running game and a quarterback with some speed so we had our work cut out for us,” said Tim Phipps, who got a win in his first game as head coach for the Hawks. “Chris Moffo, our defensive coordinator, did a great job all week preparing the defense and the kids did a great job executing it. Our kids rose to the challenge and came away with a couple of turnovers to keep Watertown off the scoreboard.”
Sean McAllen got the offense on track hitting pay dirt on a 64-yard scamper in the first quarter. He then punched in the two-point conversion to give the Hawks an 8-0 lead. McAllen went on to ramble for 165 yards on 20 carries and came away with a fumble recovery and two sacks on defense to spark the Hawks.
Mike Kenney had a successful debut as the new Woodland quarterback completing 6 of 11 passes for 60 yards. His first career touchdown pass was to Dylan Abaruza from five yards in the fourth quarter.
Kenney got all the protection he needed in the pocket with Jake Laliberte, Max McSperrin, Will Flormann, Alex Varhol and Dylan Fildago manning the offensive line. The senior quarterback picked up 70 yards on the ground and scored the second touchdown for the Hawks in the second quarter on a 1-yard plunge.
“I was more than pleased with how our line got the job done in the trenches,” Phipps said. “But we still have some work to do. We did turn the ball over twice and we are going to need to take better care of the ball as it will only get tougher from here on. We have a tough opponent next week and we better come prepared.”
Jason Rodrigues (three carries for 17 yards) and Dave Bobbie (five carries for eight yards) also got in on the Woodland running attack. Abaruza caught two passes for 32 yards and a touchdown and Joe Poeta pulled in three catches for 30 yards to complete the Hawks passing game.
“I thought we did a lot of things well,” Phipps said. “Mike had the jitters early on but once he settled in he did a great job in the pocket especially in the second half. I thought he had good command in the huddle and the team responded to his leadership.”
Kenney led a drive down field in the fourth quarter as Woodland clung to a 16-0 advantage. Abaruza came down with the touchdown pass and Bobbie pounded in the two-point conversion for the 24-0 final margin.
The Hawks will host Torrington Thursday at 4 p.m. in a game originally scheduled for Saturday on the road.
“The Raiders scored 30 points against Naugatuck so they can put points on the board. They have a tough running game and real good quarterback with an arm,” Phipps said.
Phipps said the defense will be tested once again against the Raiders.
“Our defense is going to be tested and our line is going to be challenged as Torrington is real big up front,” he added. “If we can stay away from the turnovers and execute our game plan we can compete with them.”