Quick strike ignites Greyhounds

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Naugatuck senior lineman Mark Cavagnulo (77) plunges into the end zone for a 1-yard touchdown Sept. 26 at home versus Sacred Heart. Naugatuck won the game, 49-19. –ELIO GUGLIOTTI
Naugatuck senior lineman Mark Cavagnulo (77) plunges into the end zone for a 1-yard touchdown Sept. 26 at home versus Sacred Heart. Naugatuck won the game, 49-19. –ELIO GUGLIOTTI

NAUGATUCK — New Naugatuck football coach Craig Bruno said he was going to make the Greyhounds exciting quickly. He meant that in literally every way — including the trick plays by which he’s started each of his three games this season.

The latest fancy start came last Thursday in Naugatuck’s easy, 49-19 win over Sacred Heart at Veterans Field. On the first play from scrimmage, Kevin Robinson scored on an 82-yard reverse pitch and the ‘Hounds never looked back.

“We come out guns hot,” said Naugatuck quarterback Jason Bradley, who completed five of nine passes for 176 yards and accounted for three touchdowns. “I love it. We’re always ready to come out and excite everybody.”

Robinson scored on a similar play in Week 2 on a 12-yard run against Wolcott, but his 82-yarder on the first play from scrimmage last Thursday — helped by a smothering block on the edge by left guard David Kloc — carried a different vibe.

“There’s nothing like a coach who’s aggressive,” Robinson said. “There’s nothing better. I didn’t think we were going to call that play, but it was just tenaciousness.”

In Week 1 against Crosby, Naugatuck (3-0) started the game with a reverse flea flicker that went for a 47-yard gain. In Week 2 against Wolcott, the ‘Hounds opened the game in a polecat formation and marched down the field. Week 3 was no different.

“I always try to score quickly,” Bruno said. “In a game situation where we felt we had the better team, our guys were a little lethargic. Sometimes when you run a trick play it gets things going. Kevin made a nice run and he was gone.”

The Greyhounds ended the game about as quickly as it started. They scored on each of their seven possessions with the first stringers out there, including five touchdowns in the first 8 minutes, 51 seconds.

Kevin Mariano’s fumble recovery set up Bradley’s 6-yard touchdown pass to Ryne Griesenauer for a 14-0 lead before a three-and-out led to Bradley’s 2-yard keeper and a 21-0 advantage.

Aaron Yourison blocked a punt on the next drive that turned into a 33-yard touchdown hookup between Bradley and Rick Plasky for a 28-0 lead.

Sacred Heart (0-3) finally got on the board when Quincy Williams’ 76-yard kickoff return set up his 3-yard touchdown sneak with 4:38 to play in the first.

Naugatuck’s Kevin Robinson turns the corner on his way to an 82-yard touchdown run on the Greyhounds’ first offensive play Sept. 26 at home versus Sacred Heart. The opening touchdown sparked the Greyhounds to a 49-19 victory. -ELIO GUGLIOTTI
Naugatuck’s Kevin Robinson turns the corner on his way to an 82-yard touchdown run on the Greyhounds’ first offensive play Sept. 26 at home versus Sacred Heart. The opening touchdown sparked the Greyhounds to a 49-19 victory. -ELIO GUGLIOTTI

Naugy scored again to make it a 35-7 game on a 7-yard run by Tom Douty, who led all rushers with 109 yards and two touchdowns.

The Greyhounds’ next series was their favorite of the night. With the ball on the 1-yard line, Bruno called a timeout to set up a running play for senior lineman Mark Cavagnulo, who made it a 42-7 lead with an all-out dive across the goal line.

“It was not necessary at all,” Cavagnulo said of throwing his 6-foot, 255-pound frame into the air. “There was a 3-yard hole and a guy on the ground, so I figured why not? It was great.”

“We all call him Champ, so with Champ in the backfield we were all fired up,” Bradley said. “It was awesome.”

Bruno said the team had talked about the possibility of giving linemen goal line carries if the situation allowed.

“He’s been working hard and I’m glad he had the chance to do that,” Bruno said.

Naugatuck plays its most important game to date Friday night at Woodland (3-0), a contest which could end up determining the Naugatuck Valley League Copper Division champ.