PLAINVILLE - With three wins in three weeks, suddenly the Plainville High football team is red hot.
The Blue Devils escaped with a narrow 20-16 win at Tolland last week to win their third game in a row, improving to 4-4 for the season - a remarkable improvement after a winless season last year.
But Plainville isn’t done yet. While now mathematically eliminated from postseason contention, the Blue Devils have a chance to finish with a winning record at 6-4 if they can beat Avon (3-5) on the road today (1 p.m., Avon High School) and Farmington (1-7) on Thanksgiving Day.
“We feel pretty good. Our confidence is at an all-time high due to the three wins. It just feels good to start winning again,” Plainville senior Cody Marquis said. “Our team’s been playing good. If we keep playing the way we’ve been playing and fix some little mistakes, I feel we can win out.”
Last week’s victory didn’t come easy, and the Blue Devils are expecting no less of a challenge this week.
“It was a hard-fought victory. All three phases were very challenging,” Plainville head coach Tim Shea said.
The team’s offense stalled and didn’t play well in the second half, he said, but the defense came through.
“They bent, but they certainly didn’t break,” Shea said.
“We’ve been playing pretty consistent on both sides of the ball. It isn’t like one person every week is being the main attraction. We spread the ball around equally,” he added. “It’s a team defense. All 11 guys are contributing.”
Kicker Mason Sarra also came through with key field goals from 40 yards out into the wind and from 37 yards late in the fourth quarter to help seal the victory.
“We are still a long way away from where we want to be, but every week we can take a step, and we’ll see if we take another step this week,” Shea said.
The Blue Devils will face an Avon team led by running back Jadon Folkwein, with senior quarterback Dylan Burgos and Ian Mccutcheon also helping gain yards on the ground. Through the air, Burgos’ favorite target is Ryan Ollestad.
“They’re a big run team with a big, athletic quarterback,” Shea noted.
“We’re not taking them lightly or anything. We know they’re a good team and their record doesn’t really show it,” Marquis said.
Once again the Blue Devils are faced with the task of stopping a good running team, which has not always been a strength.
“If we can stop the run, and if we can move the ball and protect our offense, hopefully good things will happen,” Shea said. “This week, we have to move the ball on offense. We have to score in the red zone. Defensively, we’ve got to make stops.”
A win today would set up the chance to complete a six-win season on Thanksgiving against a Farmington squad that is much weaker than the one that beat Plainville last year. Not that Plainville is thinking that far ahead, at least not that anyone would admit.
“It’s our job as coaches to keep them on task, keep them reeled in and grounded,” Shea said. “Every week there’s new challenges.”
Paul Angilly can be reached at 860-973-1800, or firstname.lastname@example.org