Martin helps lead Naugatuck football to victory over GNH

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BY KEN MORSE
CITIZEN’S NEWS
Winning a league championship on the gridiron is tough enough. Gearing up to make another run at it certainly is not for the faint of heart. The Naugatuck football team finds itself in an unusual position of trying to win back-to-back NVL titles for the first time since 1981-1982. Hold on to your excitement, because there is still a season to play and no game and no opponent is a given. There will most certainly be some bumps and bruises along the way before anything gets decided.
The Greyhounds came up short the last three times they were in this position as defending champions in 1994, 2002 and 2012. They won back-to-back Thanksgiving Day games in 1985-1986 but neither produced an NVL championship.
This season started out well with a 21-6 victory over Gilbert and the defense didn’t allow an offensive score as the lone touchdown came on special teams. On the first play of the game, Jett Hall scampered 54 yards and went down with a knee injury. The good news is that the injury to Hall is not thought to be as serious as it could have been and there’s a chance he will return this season.
“Jett is a very important player for us,” said Cayden Martin. “Hopefully we will get him back soon. Not to downplay it, but it’s the next man up mentality and Jaylen (Martinez) did a good job for us in the backfield. I knew I had to step up my game and the line up front made it happen.”
Martin took up the cause, rushing for 118 yards and two touchdowns. Michael Dietelbaum added another 91 yards on the ground with Martinez carried the rock eight times for 16 yards.
“Cayden has a low center of gravity and is very strong,” said Naugy coach Chris Anderson. “He’s very intelligent and understands the schematics of football. More importantly he’s a really great kid and a hard worker.”
Carmine Navarra, Kani Burrell, Jacob Scianna and Alexander Teixeira moved the pile up front allowing Blake Stone to show off a passing game that garnered 76 yards in the air.
“I thought Blake did a real nice job operating our offensive system,” said Anderson. “We did have more pass attempts than we had in the past. We are getting there.”
“It was a really great feeling to be out there leading the way,” said Stone. “Our line is just phenomenal. I’m going to help the team in anyway that I can. Whatever the coach calls, we have some very talented people on offense.”
Defensively, Naugy took advantage of the Gilbert mistakes. Sheldon Barton and Derrick Moore intercepted passes. Jacob Sanchez made two tackles for a loss of yards while Vin Ferrucci recorded a sack. What will certainly come in handy along the way is the kicking of Dominic DeSousa (31-yard field goal) and the consistency of the offense on third down. Naugy went 7 of 10 on third down and had 17 first downs in the game.
The defense needed to be leaned upon on Sept. 16 against league contender Seymour the aerial assault of Caden Drezek, who threw six touchdown passes in the first game of the season against St. Paul. The Greyhounds play Wolcott on Friday.