WATERBURY — What happens when Greyhounds are pit against Bulldogs? In the case of the Naugatuck High football team, the Greyhounds earn a shutout victory and a fight song in the middle of Municipal Stadium.
After suffering three defeats in a row, Naugatuck entered their bye week seeking to regroup before the second half of their season. Battered and beaten, the Garnett and Grey came out of the bye week and proved there is still gas left in the tank defeating Crosby 14-0 on Oct. 22.
“I thought the guys played good. I thought the guys were anxious to get back out there,” head coach Craig Bruno said. “It was a long stretch without winning a game, but the guys hung in and made some big plays.”
Defensively, the Greyhounds (3-3) were the sturdiest they’ve been this season, particularly against the run. Crosby (1-5) totaled just 41 yards on 15 carries on the night. Even when the Bulldogs were in Naugatuck territory, the defense held strong, thanks in large part to players like junior Tyler Deitlebaum.
“As a captain, I always have to be a leader. These guys got to stick together,” Deitlebaum said. “I felt like we were out there working hard. I felt like I was everywhere on the field today. It’s just one of those games where you’re feeling it and everything goes good.”
At 5 foot 8 and 150 pounds, Deitlebaum put on a stand-out performance, showing his versatility and effectiveness on both sides of the ball
At running back he demonstrated his smash-mouth running abilities, tallying 73 yards on 18 carries, many of which were right up the middle. While on defense, Deitlebaum proved to be impactful at outside linebacker making several tackles and pass deflections. The icing on the cake was a fourth-quarter interception against Crosby quarterback Mike Marshall.
“He was incredible,” Bruno said. “He was all over the field. Everywhere I turned, left and right, number 14 is right here, every tackle, every which way. He played a real, real good football game.”
The Greyhounds scored the only points they would need on their opening drive. Starting at their own 41, Naugatuck opened the game with a strong, run-heavy game plan. A 12-play drive was capped off with a 15-yard touchdown run and two-point conversion by Antoine Sistrunk to give Naugatuck an 8-0 lead.
Sistrunk led the way on the ground with 111 yards on 21 carries. He struck through the air, as well.
After forcing and recovering a fumble in the second quarter, the Greyhounds once again pounded away at the Bulldogs on the ground. Naugatuck then caught Crosby sleeping on a halfback pass. Sistrunk hurled a 45-yard bomb to senior receiver Etty Ilunga with 1:32 left in the half to give Naugatuck a 14-0 lead at the break.
“I just wanted to get in the end zone as much as I could,” Sistrunk said. “I just wanted to get us going. I feel like we played hard the whole game, every possession we had.
The defense took over from there.
Naugatuck has four games left in the season, and a shutout is a great way to kick off the final stretch. While they may bask in victory for a moment, the Greyhounds quickly turned their focus to Watertown (2-4). Naugatuck will host face the Indians Thursday.
“We got to get ready,” Bruno said following the Crosby win. “What I say to [the team] a lot of times is what I would say if we won or lost. We are still going to prepare for our next opponent, so we are not going to get too high or too low. You got to get ready every week. This game is not forgiving.”