PLAINVILLE - Last season, the Plainville High football team rose a four-game winning streak into its annual Olde Canal Cup Thanksgiving Day game against Farmington looking to finish the season with a winning record by beating the Indians, who had entered the game with a 2-7 mark.
That didn’t happen, as Farmington took a 14-0 lead in the first quarter and played even with the Blue Devils the rest of the way for a 21-7 victory. It marked the third straight win for the Indians in the series.
This year, Plainville (6-3) again has a four-game winning streak heading into the contest, but this time the Blue Devils are determined to have a different result against a Farmington squad that is 5-4 and this year is the one looking to finish with a winning record.
“Last year, our thing was we weren’t able to finish,” senior quarterback Frank Griffin said. “And now this year that’s what we’ve been saying, we have to finish every single game. We can’t just start out hot and fade. That’s what coach has been pounding on us. So, that’s the plan, finish this game.”
Bringing the Cup home to Plainville after three straight losses in the series would definitely make for a happy holiday, he added.
“It would be a huge thing. Most of us barely even know what it looks like,” Griffin said. “Us seniors, we want to go out on a good note, and this would be the perfect way to do it.”
Farmington has won six of the seven games since the series resumed in 2011.
“Anything can happen on Thanksgiving,” Plainville coach Tim Shea said. “It comes down to what I say all the time, you’ve got to finish. You’ve got to finish the game, you’ve got to finish the play, you’ve got to finish the season. Thanksgiving is huge. It puts like an exclamation point on your season and it helps jump start the offseason.”
The game was moved to tonight due to Thursday’s predicted frigid weather.
“Whatever day it’s played on, Thanksgiving is special,” Shea said.
Farmington is led by junior quarterback Jacob Conrad, with senior Angel Velez leading the running game. The receiving corps includes junior Niko Bouzakis, senior Zihare Greaves, junior Michael Gregory and senior Aidan Sposato.
“There’s certain things they do well, there’s certain things we do well. It’s going to be a good game, fun game to watch. It’s going to be who can execute and stop people in space,” Shea said.
The Indians run a spread, no-huddle offense, just like Plainville, he said.
“It’s the same thing every week. You’ve got to block, you’ve got to tackle. If we can protect the quarterback, we’ll be OK,” Shea said. “We have to stop the run. They do some things very well throwing the ball with screens and stuff, and we have to stop them.”
While Plainville has been on a hot streak lately, the Blue Devils are taking nothing for granted against Farmington.
“You can’t be content with past results. You’ve got to have goals focused on moving forward. There’s always stuff you could improve,” Shea said. “The kids have been working very hard. They’ve been practicing very well, which a lot of that transfers over to Friday nights. The coaches have done a good job reeling them in, keeping them in, and hopefully we’re ready to go.”
In order to win, he said, Plainville has to minimize penalties, block and tackle.
“It’s going to be who capitalizes on everybody else’s mistakes and who makes fewer of them,” Shea said.
“The kids have been fired up. The kids are pretty focused right now, just like they should be, just like I’m sure Farmington is. They know what’s on the line,” he added. “It’s going to be fun. It’s going to be a fun atmosphere, a lively atmosphere, and we’re looking forward to it.”
Griffin and fellow senior co-captain Brady Callahan agreed on that point.
“We’re all excited. We’ve been working hard all week. We’ve just got to keep our heads focused and just try to do everything coach says,” Callahan said. “It’s going to be definitely an emotional game.”
Griffin added, “It’s the last game of our high school career. We’re all pretty amped up about it.”
He was happy the time of the game got moved so it’s being played under the lights.
“We like night games. That’s a great thing,” Griffin said.
“We got a lot of juice going into it,” he added. “I like the energy we have going into it.”
Paul Angilly can be reached at 860-973-1800 or firstname.lastname@example.org