PLAINVILLE - The Plainville High football team was looking to see just how good it could be last week against one of the state’s best in Rocky Hill.
The answer was that the Blue Devils still have a lot of work to do.
“There was a bunch of stuff that we needed to do to be successful, and a lot of the stuff we needed to do, we didn’t,” Plainville head coach Tim Shea said of that game.
He noted that his players didn’t stop the run or execute on offense like it needed to do.
“When you play a very good team like Rocky Hill, you don’t do those things, they’re going to make you pay.”
They’re hoping to show they’re capable of taking the next step and earn their second victory of the season when they go to West Hartford to play Northwest Catholic tonight.
The Lions are 0-3, but could pose a threat to Plainville, which is now 1-2 after last Friday’s 42-6 loss to Rocky Hill.
“Northwest is a well-coached team,” Shea said. “We’re not letting their record indicate how good they are.”
Northwest Catholic has a premier running back in senior captain Spencer Merkel, who piled up 166 yards on 27 carries in his team’s first two games of the season.
“He’s a really good athlete and it shows that they like him a lot,” Plainville senior co-captain Cody Marquis said. “They give him the ball a lot. We’re just trying to stop him.”
For a team that wasn’t able to stop the running game last week, though, a player like Merkel could be a game-changer.
“We’ve got to play much better at stopping the run,” Shea said. “They run right at you, a lot of different formations and groupings, and [we’ve got to] hope we’re in the right spot to make tackles.”
Marquis said the team has been working hard in practice to get that coveted second win after snapping a 14-game losing streak two weeks ago.
“We’ve been practicing a lot better than what we did last week, so confidence is definitely up there,” he said. “We’re trying to bring in a whole lot of energy. We seemed really dead against Rocky Hill. We’re just trying to spark up some energy in practice, and hopefully in the game on Friday. We’re confident in ourselves and what we can do.”
He added, “I just hope we can win.”
The Rocky Hill game, if nothing else, may have helped bring the Blue Devils back to earth after the excitement of getting that elusive victory the previous week.
“We were looking to take that next step. I think they realized how hard it is to take that next step,” Shea said. “We’re not there yet. Hopefully this week we get to take it, that step.”
But the whole team now knows that second step won’t be an easy one.
“It’s going to be a hard-fought game,” Shea said. “We’re going to have to play 48 minutes and see what happens. Whoever executes and makes the least amount of mistakes in these types of games usually comes out on top. We hope it’s us.”