Naugy, Woodland playing for Pinho Trophy

Woodland players celebrate after beating Naugatuck last year to win the George Pinho Memorial Trophy. –FILE PHOTO
Woodland players celebrate after beating Naugatuck last year to win the George Pinho Memorial Trophy. –FILE PHOTO

The neighboring gridiron rivalry between Naugatuck and Woodland took on a special tone four seasons ago when they started playing for the George Pinho Memorial Trophy, named in honor of the former Naugatuck graduate and Woodland football coach who passed away unexpectedly in January of 2013.

Friday night at 7 p.m. on Veterans Field in Naugatuck will mark the fourth time the two sides will play for the right to take home the trophy.

The Hawks have an 11-2 edge all time in games against the Greyhounds, and hold a 2-1 advantage since they started playing for the Pinho Trophy.

It should be noted that the home team has won each game the last three years.

Woodland won the first game in this new trophy series in 2013 with a 25-22 win over Naugatuck. The Greyhounds took it to the Hawks in Naugatuck the following year, winning by a wide 58-35 margin. With the game back in Beacon Falls last season, Woodland had an easy time in a 50-24 victory.

“It’s Naugatuck,” Woodland head coach Chris Moffo said. “It doesn’t take much to get these kids up for a battle with Naugatuck no matter what sport they are playing.”

Woodland is coming off a tough 67-28 loss to Sacred Heart-Kaynor Tech last week. The Hawks (0-3) have struggled to make a statement on defense thus far, giving up 41 points to Crosby and 44 to Watertown.

Woodland has enough offense to stay competitive led by senior quarterback Quincy Koch (3 touchdowns), senior running back Isaac Negron (430 yards rushing, two touchdowns) and freshman running back Zach Kabusk (172 yards).

“We may be young and we may be having a tough time of it to start the season, but you can be sure that these kids are going to come out ready to go,” Moffo said.

Naugatuck comes in at 2-1 after a big 52-0 win over Torrington last week. Junior quarterback Mike Plasky ran for two touchdowns and threw for four touchdowns to lead the attack against the Raiders.

The Greyhounds’ offense also counters with senior running back Tyler Deitelbaum, senior receiver Jalen Datil and sophomore receiver Jacob Fazekas.

“It appears that the home team has the advantage with the trophy on the line but Woodland has an 11-2 advantage in this series,” Naugatuck head coach Craig Bruno said. “We certainly are not looking at this as an advantage. We still need to come out and play a football game. We are trying to prepare for this like any other game, but you could feel the kids getting excited for this one.”