Red Raiders ground Hawks


Woodland's Zach Happy hauls in a pass in front of Torrington's Desmond Langs last Friday night. RA ARCHIVE
BEACON FALLS — Usually, it’s Woodland’s offensive line that does the bullying. Last Friday night, however, it was Torrington’s big guys making the difference.

The Red Raiders broke a 14-14 halftime tie by exploding for five second-half touchdowns and 268 rushing yards en route to a 44-29 victory.

The Raiders’ line opened up holes that allowed Brenden Lytton to rush for 268 second-half yards—every offensive yard the team gained in that half—to help Torrington (4-2, 3-1 NVL Copper) gain its first-ever win over Woodland (4-2, 3-1).

“Those kids committed back in December and got into shape,” Torrington coach Dan Dunaj said of the line. “The offensive line has played very well. We only returned one starter and we don’t look like we’ve missed a beat.”

Lytton finished with 325 yards and five touchdowns on 43 carries.

Phil Bresson scored on a 1-yard quarterback sneak to start the second half and give Torrington a 20-14 lead with 9:33 left in the third. After Woodland went three and out, the Raiders faced a fourth-and-8 at their own 36 and lined up to punt.

But Lytton allowed the Hawks to run downfield before taking off on an 11-yard run. He later scored on a 5-yard run to open up a 26-14 lead.

That deception was a key moment, as the Hawks would have gained the ball with a chance to reclaim the lead. Instead, Torrington opened up its lead and didn’t look back.

“Special teams is a big, big part of the game,” Woodland coach Tim Shea said of the kicking game, which also saw Torrington recover an onside kick. “In that phase tonight, they out-executed us there with the onside kicks and the fake punt. Those are key parts of the game.”

Even though Woodland running back Matt Zaccagnini came back with a 43-yard touchdown run on the ensuing series to cut the deficit to 26-21, the Hawks’ defense was unable to slow down Lytton and the Raiders’ line.

Torrington answered with an eight-play drive ending on a 7-yard touchdown run by Lytton to make it 32-21, then followed with a 52-yard interception return touchdown by Bresson to break open the game at 38-21.

Lytton later scored an 80-yard touchdown run following a touchback on Tanner Kingsley’s second interception before Kingsley hit Anthony Scirpo with a late 17-yard touchdown pass to make it 44-29.

Kingsley finished 16-of-28 passing for 240 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions. Zaccagnini tallied 102 rushing yards on 18 carries.

Shea credited Torrington’s offensive and defensive lines.

“They leaned on us up front,” Shea said. “They have a great back. At times offensively we struggled. We left the defense out on the field for too long and it wore on us.”

Woodland scored two unanswered touchdowns in the first half to take a 14-6 lead. Zach Plourde ran for an 8-yard touchdown to give the Hawks a 7-6 lead early in the second before Kingsley hit Zaccagnini for a 58-yard touchdown on a screen pass.

Torrington’s score on a 48-yard screen from Bresson to Joan Toreibo tied it up at the half.