NAUGATUCK — At one point during the hobbled Greyhounds’ (3-4) 24-14 loss to previously winless Kennedy (1-6) last Friday, head coach Rob Plasky was about to call a play then was forced to change his mind—twice.
“I realized, ‘We just don’t have the personnel to run that play,’” Plasky said Monday. “Then I called another, and [assistant coach] Tom Boisvert said, ‘You can’t run that play either.’”
Already without running backs Marty DeJesus, Dashawn Wingate and Andrew Cirino, the Naugy backfield took two more blows when Jake Yourison and Nathan Holle left the contest. Yourison, a sophomore who barreled through Sacred Heart’s porous defense for 332 yards and five touchdowns in his first start at tailback the week before, sustained a hard blow to his back in the first quarter. He toughed it out for two more quarters, gaining 62 yards and scoring once, but was removed from the game late in the second half when, according to Plasky, “he could barely walk.”
Holle, filling Yourison’s usual spot at fullback, suffered a thigh contusion, an injury assistant coach Mark Swanson jokingly called “contagious” because it already has sidelined DeJesus and Wingate.
Both Yourison and Holle are questionable for Friday’s trip to Woodland (4-3), as are linebacker/tight end Iman Farimani (ankle) and two-way lineman Nick Douglass (knee).
Injuries have plagued the Garnet and Grey since their 2-0 start and were part of the reason the team lost three straight, against Derby, St. Paul and Notre Dame-West Haven. But against the Hearts in week six, it appeared Naugatuck had figured out how to play shorthanded, as Yourison exploded for a dominant rushing performance, and the defense held one of the league’s most potent offenses to only two touchdowns.
“The difference is against Sacred Heart we were banged up coming in and had our adjustments in place,” Swanson explained. “Against Kennedy, we were losing guys during the game.”
The losses were most visible on defense, where the Hounds were unable to contain any of the backs who lined up in the Eagles’ single wing formation. Kennedy attempted few passes, completed none and on most plays snapped directly to a running back. And still, the visitors piled up 296 yards on the ground, 106 by Devon Petty and 141 by Brian Overton, who tallied three TDs.
It was Overton who broke a scoreless tie late in the second quarter, on a 43-yard gallop. Leading 8-0 at the half, Kennedy opened the third quarter with a methodical, 11-play drive that took more than six minutes off the clock and ended with a 1-yard plunge by Overton.
Yourison helped Naugy respond early in the fourth quarter with a 2-yard score and two-point conversion to cut the deficit to eight, but Overton hit paydirt again on Kennedy’s next possession.
NHS quarterback Erich Broadrick tossed a late, 6-yard touchdown to Tyler Conklin, but the Hounds drew no closer.
Despite the TD pass, Broadrick’s starting spot is in question, according to Plasky. When the offense struggled early in the contest, the coach inserted Conklin as signal-caller and moved Broadrick to receiver. The two split snaps for the remainder of the night. Conklin finished 5-for-8 for 43 yards; Broadrick was 8-for-9 for 82 yards and a touchdown.
Asked who will take most of the snaps against the Hawks Friday, Plasky said, “We’ll go with the hot hand.”