This Friday Plainville football (5-2) takes on E.O. Smith (1-6) as it looks to bounce back from a 25-21 loss to RHAM last week where the Blue Devils came up just short.
The mental game the last few days has been good, wiping the slate in an effort to bounce back and finish the season strong. Plainville head coach Tim Shea said despite a good week of practice and good spirits, the only way to gauge if the team has really turned the page is when kick off comes Friday night.
"Practice was spirited this week, which helped them and showed we knew what we did wrong and we're ready to move on from it," said Shea. "A good week of practice so far, it looks like we're past it, and there' only one way to find out and it'll be Friday night at 6:30 p.m."
Looking at the film Shea called E.O. Smith's running attack "balanced," with expectations it'll be the main course the offense serves. So far this season the Panthers have run for 645 yards, averaging 3.5 yards per carry. Seven touchdowns have been scored by the run with three coming from leading rusher Connor Ouelette.
E.O. Smith has passed the ball for only 47 completions, totaling 297 yards of offense. The ground game will be the focus point, with three runners into the triple digits and Ouelette leading at 231 yards.
For the Blue Devils, they've been able to provide a healthy mix on the offensive side of the ball to help propel them to a season where they're guaranteed to finish .500 or better.
"We've been 50/50, or close to it. I like being balanced," said Shea on the offensive scheme. "... The big thing we've been doing (this week) is moving things around formation-wise, looking for matchups."
Currently leading the Blue Devils is Michael Bakaysa under center, passing for 1,292 yards and 13 touchdowns through seven games. Justin Emery has been his favorite target, catching 26 passes for 388 yards and three scores. Kyle McGraw provides the running support with 438 yards on 125 carres and three scores.
Joe Vasquez provides another option for Bakaysa on the wing, catching 15 passes with 388 yards and three scores. He's also got five interceptions on defense.
Elsewhere on defense, defensive lineman Alex Santini has recorded 66 tackles with two sacks and two fumble recoveries. Defensive back Jacob Benvenuto has picked off two passes, one going for a touchdown.
With the postseason rapidly approaching the Blue Devils currently sit at 5-2, putting them at No. 6 in the CIAC's Class M rankings. In two weeks they take on potent offense in Bristol Central (No. 5 in Class L) and winless Farmington, a tale of two completely different teams when it comes to opponents.
But right now, the focus on E.O. Smith and winning the week, not worrying about the playoff mix and who is ahead on the schedule.
"The thing with the playoffs, if you deserve to get in, you'll get in," said Shea. "Things have a way of shaking out in the end. If we're in the cards for that, great. ... We've got to take care of business this week, ... E.O. Smith is the only thing on our mind right now. We've got to play it up, and obviously Saturday morning we'll start talking about (Bristol) Central."
Kick from Plainville will come at 6:30 p.m. Friday night.