WATERBURY – It took a little longer than Naugatuck would have liked, but the Hounds pulled away from Copper Division rival Kennedy Friday afternoon at Municipal Stadium en route to a 36-13 win.
The Greyhounds improved to 7-0 overall and 4-0 in the Naugatuck Valley League Copper, setting up a colossal matchup with Woodland this week in the borough.
Naugy utilized another balanced offensive attack with three passing touchdowns and a pair of rushing scores while holding the Eagles off the scoreboard in the second half to walk away with a fairly easy victory.
It wasn’t a comfortable game for the Hounds until the fourth quarter, thanks in part to a risky strategy at the end of the first half. Naugy held a 22-7 lead with a couple of timeouts and just over a minute left in the half, so Naugatuck coach Rob Plasky decided to push the offense for a backbreaking score.
The plan didn’t work. On the first play of the drive at their own 23, the Greyhounds tried a double-pass when Erich Broadrick tossed a lateral to Marquan Williams. As Williams searched down field for an open receiver, he was hit from behind and fumbled away, giving the Eagles the ball at the Naugatuck 9-yard line. Brian Overton scored for Kennedy on the next play, cutting Naugy’s lead to 22-13.
Even though the play didn’t work, Plasky defended the strategy.
“In a situation like that, we’re not gonna fold up the tents, take a knee, and walk in,” Plasky said. “We know we’re too good and we can strike quick. That’s the mentality. If I start holding back on these guys then they don’t trust me as a coach. When you have that kind of talent, you have to be aggressive.”
Plasky stuck to his guns when his team got the ball back near midfield with 48 seconds to go in the second quarter, but the tactic nearly ended in catastrophe when Broadrick injured his knee on a rollout to his right. Naugatuck was content to run out the clock after the injury.
But Broadrick came out in the second half and played well, not making any mistakes while leading his team to a pair of fourth-quarter scores—a 6-yard pass to Iman Farimani and a 9-yard run by Dashawn Wingate—to seal Naugy’s seventh straight victory.
“Erich is Erich,” Plasky said. “He’s a tough kid and played banged up today. He made some great decisions. He’s got an MCL strain. I’m not worried about him coming out Friday night and being ready to play. He knows what he’s doing.”
Broadrick did the bulk of his damage in the first half, though, finding Tyler Conklin for a 25-yard touchdown pass to answer an opening-drive score by Kennedy before he hooked up with Farimani for a 16-yard score early in the second quarter.
Broadrick had one of his best stat lines of the season, completing 14 of 18 passes for 227 yards and three touchdowns. But the performance of Conklin—five catches for 121 yards and a score—might be more important to Naugatuck down the stretch.
“He’s been sleeping for the last four or five games and today he woke up,” Plasky said. “That’s what I love about this team. We have so many athletes and I can’t wait until the game where they all come out and play at once. When they do it’s going to be scary, and we haven’t done that, yet, still.”
Naugatuck’s defense played well in the second half after a few difficult halves dating to the Hounds’ shootout win over Sacred Heart. Naugy didn’t allow Kennedy past the Greyhounds’ 45-yard line after the break.
Both the Hounds’ defense and offense will be tested Friday against Woodland in a game that will likely decide the Copper Division champion and give one team the right to play for the NVL title. Plasky says the Hawks cannot be taken lightly.
“I just love the way Woodland’s playing right now. Hats off to Coach Shea and his staff because if you talked to them before the season they probably didn’t expect this. They’re getting better and better every week. The thing I’m going to say to my team is we’ve gotten away the last couple of weeks with some mistakes and not taking care of things. If you do that against Woodland, they’ll beat you.”