NAUGATUCK — Naugatuck finished out the first half of the season with a bang last Friday with a 76-6 win over Wilby at Veterans Field.
“It’s all about making progress every week and that’s exactly what this team has done since day one,” Naugatuck head coach Dave Sollazzo said. “They are a great group of guys who bought into the system. They are learning how to win and the key to that is not taking any snaps off.”
The Greyhounds head into the bye week at 5-0 after overwhelming the Wildcats.
Senior quarterback Mike Plasky made the most of his opportunities completing six of eight passes for 200 yards and two touchdowns. Both of those scores came on a 30-yard passes to junior Zach Koslosky as the ‘Hounds quickly built a 12-0 lead.
The running game took over and stretched the advantage to 27-0 by the end of the first quarter. Junior Doreon Chapman (5 carries, 41 yards) scored twice, and senior Nick Boudreau scored on a 52-yard reverse with Plasky punching in the two-point conversion.
Every week the Greyhounds have had someone different step up, and last week it was sophomore Malachi Gatison. Gatison hauled in a pass for 40 yards before hitting pay dirt on a 10-yard touchdown run. On the following series, Gatison took off on a 39-yard touchdown scamper, and senior Efena Onakpoma plowed his way forward for the two-point conversion to open a 42-0 lead.
The defense then took its turn scoring when junior Justin Papp took an interception 85 yards for a touchdown. It marked the third time in five games the Greyhounds scored a defensive touchdown.
Three interceptions and a fumble recovery stalled Wilby, and Naugy closed out the half with senior Jevonte Swierbitowicz running 31 yards for a score and sophomore John Mezzo throwing a 22-yard strike to sophomore Isaiah Williams to open a 62-0 lead at the break.
Wilby got on the scoreboard when quarterback Alexander Gonzalez got it into the end zone on a 1-yard plunge in the third quarter. Naugatuck completed the scoring when Mezzo threw his second touchdown pass to sophomore Jeff Schebell on a 21-yard strike and Nick Airall returned an interception 47 yards for his second return of the season.
Last week wasn’t the first time that Naugy nearly blew the lights out of the scoreboard. In 2013, the Greyhounds put up a 70-33 win over St. Paul.
“We still have a lot to learn,” Sollazzo said. “But we are learning how to play for 48 minutes. I’m very proud of what they have been able to accomplish so far this season.”
The last time Naugatuck started a season at 5-0 was in 2010 when the Greyhounds finished 9-1 and won their last NVL championship. Naugy has outscored opponents 208 (41.6 per game) to 70 (14 points per game) so far.
“We took a huge step as a team heading into the bye week undefeated,” Plasky said. “Every day coach Sollazzo and the coaching staff have been preaching about getting better every practice and every game. That’s what we have done since day one.
“During this bye week we just need to stay focused. We can’t look at being 5-0, we need to keep working and keeping our foot down on the pedal and get ready for a very good Watertown team in two weeks.”
The Greyhounds will be back on the gridiron on Oct. 20 when they host Watertown (4-1) in a key Iron Division matchup.