NAUGATUCK — The Naugatuck Greyhounds had their cake and ate it to as they racked up the most points in a game in four years, since hanging up 48 against Wolcott in 2006 during an 8-2 campaign.
On Friday night in front of the hometown crowd, the Hounds gave Coach Rob Plasky a well-deserved 40th birthday present wrapped neatly in a 54-6 rout of Seymour.
There has been a lot of talk in the preseason that Naugatuck could wind up being a contender for a division or league title, and what transpired against Seymour put the Hounds well on their way toward achieving those goals.
“We can’t get carried away,” Plasky said. “It’s only one game, and as well as we played, there are still some areas for improvement.”
Naugatuck, with its full stable of running backs, ran for 145 yards but took it to the end zone five times on the ground. What got the Greyhounds up and down the field in a hurry was the pinpoint passing of senior quarterback Erich Broadrick, who completed 15 of 18 passes for 274 yards and one touchdown.
Seymour came out and went right to the air, but the hard-hitting Naugatuck secondary forced three straight incompletions. Ruben Berger fielded the punt and took it to the house, going 63 yards down the near sidelines as the Naugatuck bench erupted into cheers.
After just three and a half minutes of play in the season opener, the Hounds had made a statement and taken a 6-0 lead.
On the next series, Mike Schebell recovered a fumble and the Hounds were back in business at the Seymour’s 25-yard line.
Dashawn Wingate (six carries, 33 yards) burst into the end zone from five yards out to make it a 13-0 advantage with Mick Pernell providing the extra point.
Seymour looked like they caught a break when they recovered a fumbled punt after the third series, only to have Nick Douglass stall the drive with a sack on the Wildcats’ quarterback. On the next play, Tyree Williams intercepted the rattled Seymour signal caller to give Naugatuck another crack at it.
Jake Yourison pounded out a 25-yard touchdown run but for the second time in the game, the Hounds had a score negated by a penalty. That hardly slowed Naugatuck, as Tyler Conklin hauled in a 22-yard pass to set up a first and goal try.
Shawn Freeney (six carries, 31 yards) took it from there, barreling in from a yard out to open up a 20-0 advantage midway through the second quarter. With 1:07 left before the end of the half, Marquan Williams threw a 57-yard halfback option pass to Berger, sending the Hounds to the locker room with a commanding, 27-0 advantage.
“We have some real good athletes out there,” Plasky said, “and it’s just not the guys carrying the ball, it’s the guys up front in the trenches. We spent a lot of time on special teams and we took two kicks back for scores.”
If Seymour had any notion of getting back into the game in the second half, it was quickly erased when Marquan Williams took the kickoff and brought it back 89 yards to up the lead to 33-0.
Seymour finally broke the shutout when Grabowski hooked up with Mike Fraser on a 38-yard slant pattern to make it a 33-6 game. Yourison (six carries, 41 yards) closed out the third quarter with a four-yard plunge to give Naugatuck a 40-6 lead heading into the final quarter.
Iman Farimani (2 catches, 37 yards) and Anthony Rosato (2 catches, 22 yards) were just two of the seven receivers Broadrick spread the ball around to. Nick Kosa (3 carries, 30 yards) and Freeney broke into the end zone in the fourth quarter to put the icing on the cake, ending a perfect birthday bash with a 54-6 final score.
“All in all, I’m pleased with the win, but we have to come back Monday and be ready to go back to work,” Plasy said. “We have some lofty goals this year, and this is just one game.”
Naugatuck will travel to Torrington on Friday for a 7 p.m. start against the Raiders.