SOUTHINGTON - Coming into the season, Southington football head coach Mike Drury wanted to see how his team’s defense would perform.
Through the first two weeks, the unit has done plenty to impress, giving up a combined total of 196 yards and two touchdowns. Tonight, the third-ranked Blue Knights will face what might be the most quality opposing offense - in terms of being able to score points - in the first half of their schedule in Manchester, which comes in averaging 42.5 points per game.
For Southington to be successful, it must stop the Indians’ passing game, which often involves quick passes. That means priority No. 1 will be stopping Manchester’s top offensive threat in receiver Jevin Frett. Last week against New Britain, Frett caught eight passes for 86 yards and two touchdowns. He also returned two kicks for scores.
“He’s a stud,” said Southington corner Sammy Thomson, who will most likely be matched up with Frett throughout most of the night. “They throw him the deep ball, he’s always there making the catch. Even the short catches, he’s quick. He came in fourth in 400 for Nationals [in track], something like that. We were able to catch him last year, but it was a rain game so they didn’t pass as much, but he’s probably their best player.”
The Blue Knights will also be seeing a new quarterback and running back. Gone is Edison Galan, who is now at Central Connecticut State. Logan Tomlinson is now the signal caller for Manchester with Eli Ford as the tailback. But like any first-year quarterback, Tomlinson is prone to making mistakes. He was intercepted three times last week.
And the Southington defense has been taken advantage of its opportunities this season. Through two games, the Blue Knights have five sacks, a forced fumble and four interceptions - three of which belong to Thomson.
“We just have to fly to the ball every play,” Thomson said. “They all have speed so you never know. They could break a tackle and the next minute their guys are gone. Everyone has to pursue to the ball.”
Offensively, with Southington having little trouble scoring itself, it will be about taking what the Manchester defense gives it coverage wise.
The Indians usually play with their defensive backs situated seven yards off the ball or deeper providing plenty of space for the Blue Knights’ receivers and running backs to find open space in the passing game for quarterback Will Barmore to operate. That should only pose issues for Manchester. Still, Drury expects to see a multitude of looks.
“Sometimes they’ll play man coverage and bring pressure,” Drury said of the Indians’ defense. “Sometimes they’re going to play over the top and not get beat downfield. They’re going to play some even fronts, some odd fronts, various looks. We just have to be able to play with tempo, play with speed, execute, not put ourselves in situations with negative plays with turnovers or penalties.”
If everything goes according to plan, it should be another easy night for Southington.
David Glovach can be reached at (860) 801-5085 or firstname.lastname@example.org