BEACON FALLS — A few minutes after Woodland’s Black-White spring football game ended last Saturday, Hawks quarterback Tanner Kingsley had but one question.
“Do you think I threw for 1,000 yards?”
Nobody had an answer for sure since stats aren’t recorded in the intrasquad scrimmage, in which the rising junior quarterbacked for both teams. But Kingsley was probably pretty darned close to amassing 1,000 yards of total offense.
Kingsley threw for eight touchdowns and ran for two more as the White Hawks defeated the Black Hawks, 62-38, to conclude Woodland’s spring practice session.
It wasn’t a bad debut for the Hawks’ spread offense, which will be the team’s main formation for the first time since the Jared Katchmar-Alex Dorosh era ended in 2006.
“We feel we have some decent skill and a pretty good quarterback, so we’re going to play to our strengths,” said Woodland coach Tim Shea, entering his fifth season at the helm. “We’re going to chuck the ball around. It’s not complete, but we’re on the way.”
Kingsley will move from being a game manager to a game changer. Last season, he threw for 1,553 yards and completed 60 percent of his passes while tossing 17 touchdowns and nine interceptions.
“There’s going to be more expected out of him,” Shea said of his quarterback. “Last year, he wasn’t here to win games yet. He was here to manage the offense and not make mistakes. Now he’s older and more is expected out of him. He’s eager and he made a pretty good case for himself today.”
Kingsley said becoming a leader is most important to him. Part of that role includes sharing credit for offensive success among the whole team — even if he was the guy mostly responsible for tiring out the chain gang Saturday.
“The line looked great today on both sides of the ball,” Kingsley said. “They gave me plenty of time. The wide receivers made plays on both sides of the ball, too. This offense allows us to have a lot more options this year. We should be looking good.”
Five of Kingsley’s eight touchdown passes went for more than 50 yards while another covered 35. He sprayed the ball all around the field, using a combination of deep balls, screens, and outs.
Among Kingsley’s targets were rising seniors Anthony Scirpo and Brian Reis, rising juniors Brian Zaccagnini, Jack Pinho, Levi Fancher, and Taylor Tucciarone, and rising sophomore Mike Kenney.
Kingsley also ran for a pair of scores — one from inside the red zone and another of the 70-yard variety — to account for 10 of the game’s 14 touchdowns.
Scirpo, Tucciarone, and the Fancher brothers — Joe and Levi — each scored rushing touchdowns during the game. Joe Masulli and Josh Collet also impressed on a number of handoffs.
Shea split up the players to create the teams and most players saw two-way action during the game. That left the first-string defense spread among the two teams and a little tired at times.
“You can look at it two ways: If you’re an offensive guy, it’s great; if you’re a defensive guy, oh boy,” Shea said of the game’s combined 100 points. “I think it’s a little bit of both. Overall it’s a positive experience for us.”
Woodland will start the regular season against two of the most athletic teams in the Naugatuck Valley League. The Hawks will visit Sacred Heart on Sept. 13 and Ansonia on Sept. 21.
“We started putting this in back in January,” Shea said of the spread offense. “We were cautiously optimistic. We wanted to get some simple things accomplished. My biggest fears were that we wouldn’t catch or block well. It looks like we’re heading in the right direction.”