DERBY — The Naugatuck Greyhounds improved to 3-0 on the season with a convincing, 41-18 win at the Leo Ryan Sports Complex in Derby on Saturday. The Greyhounds methodically moved the ball up and down the field, scoring three touchdowns on the ground and three in the air in spite of 16 penalties totaling 155 yards leveled against them.
“That’s the kind of treatment you would expect after what went on last year with the new teams in the league,” said Naugatuck head coach Rob Plasky. “But we came in here making it a point not to get caught up in what went on last season.”
Derby had a plan, but it included having too may men on the field to start the game with a five-yard penalty. That would be one of only three infractions incurred by the Red Raiders, and Naugatuck cashed it in early.
Reuben Berger returned a punt 40 yards to the Derby 24-yard line, and Andrew Cirino rumbled 24 yards for the first Naugatuck score with 9:49 left in the opening quarter.
Marquan Williams busted a nine-yard carry to set up the Hounds with a red zone opportunity. Jake Yourison rushed for 24 yards and then lowered his head, going 5 yards to paydirt and opening a 14-0 lead.
“We have a lot of weapons, and good teams overcome their obstacles,” Plasky said. “We didn’t have good week preparation-wise. This can happen on the road, and we need to stay focused.”
The front line of Nikko Carli, Mike Giugno and Nate Hollie, along with Rob Colucci and Aaron Echevarria, continued to move the pile out in front. Shawn Freeney and Dashawn Wingate barreled ahead for positive numbers as the Hounds’ lead grew.
Freeney pushed his way into the end zone from 18 yards to grab a piece of his 50 yards on the game. Just before the end of the half, the Hounds converted three third-down plays during a 40-yard, 10-play drive.
Tyler Conklin (2 touchdowns) made a circus catch with a one-handed stab as the Greyhounds established a 28-6 lead and quarterback Erich Broadrick (7 for 19, 166 yards) converted a fourth-and-goal pass play.
Derby tried to make a game of it as quarterback Ray Kreiger (12 for 26, 112 yards) connected with Jacob Tomzcak on a five-yard touchdown at the end of the third quarter.
Conklin and Iman Farimani made interceptions on defense and the play of Dan Morton (2 sacks) held the Red Raiders in check. Another third-and-goal pass play to Conklin pushed the lead out to 34-12 at the end of the third quarter.
“Everyone is buying into the fact that this is a team game and it takes all aspects to win a football game,” said Plasky. “We made our share of mistakes with the penalties, but we also saw some things that we can build on. We have the weapons on the ground and in the air. We need to make sure our defense does its part.”
Kreiger hooked up with Zach Salazaar for the last Derby score with 6:29 remaining after converting on a fourth-and-seven pass play. Broadrick did the same on the next series when he hooked up with Berger on a third-and-long that went for 56 yards.
Wingate plowed his way into the end zone from five yards out, bringing the score to the 41-18 final margin.
“One thing we have to realize is that if we lose our focus a little bit like we did today, someone can knock us off and a state playoff bid will be gone,” Plasky said.
Naugatuck will take on Bristol’s St. Paul Catholic on Friday.