NAUGATUCK — As the Naugatuck High football team prepares for tonight’s much anticipated home opener against Wolcott at the new athletic complex and synthetic turf at Veterans Field, Greyhounds coach Craig Bruno sounded like a little kid in a candy store.
“We’re excited being on a brand new field with a beautiful landscape,” Bruno said.
The Naugatuck boys soccer team opened the field Wednesday night.
Game time for the football game is 7 p.m. Prior to the game, at around 6:45 p.m., there will be a ceremony to honor the late Ed Mariano, according to Naugatuck athletic director Tom Pompei.
Mariano, a three-sport standout at Naugatuck and former coach and administrator in the city’s schools, passed away last month at the age of 88.
Members of his family will be present at the ceremony.
“I think the new field is great for the school, our team and the community,” Bruno said. “We’re very appreciative of the opportunity to open the field. It looks and feels great. I think the atmosphere will be awesome.”
But Bruno doesn’t want the atmosphere to be a distraction, stressing to his players to just play hard, no different than what he told his players on the first day of practice on Aug. 19 at Hop Brook School, where the Greyhounds have practiced until this past Monday.
“It has to be business as usual,” Bruno said. “We’re going at it hard all week. We know the importance of the game and know the quality of the team Wolcott has. We need to go hard. Practice is practice and it shouldn’t change too much just because we are on a nice field. We were on a makeshift practice field and we played pretty well in Week 1 (versus Crosby). We enjoy practice wherever they allow us to play. We’re not making any excuses now nor will we ever.”
Wolcott is 1-0 after topping Sacred Heart, 62-6, in Week 1 while the Greyhounds beat Crosby, 39-8.