SOUTHINGTON - As the Southington football team took to the practice field, it didnâ€™t take long for the atmosphere to become business like.
Once the players touched the turf, they knew it was time to get to work in preparation for tonightâ€™s game at Hall (1-3). And while the opponent continues to change, the thought process remains the same - to be perfect, especially in what will be the final tune up before the bye week.
â€śWe have to execute out there for 48 minutes,â€ť Blue Knights head coach Mike Drury said. â€śWeâ€™ve been focusing on that this week and trying to be as perfect as we can and taking pride in doing that stuff and taking pride in the daily grind of practice and taking care of all the little things. We know if we do that, thatâ€™ll help us be successful.â€ť
Second-ranked Southington (4-0) hasnâ€™t had much trouble against any of their first four opponents of the season. Heading into tonightâ€™s game, the Blue Knights have outscored their opponents 155-36. It could be more of the same tonight.
The Warriors like to run a 4-4 defense, while using a combination of man-to-man and zone quarters coverages against the pass. But they have been susceptible to big plays, which should work in Southingtonâ€™s favor. On the season, Hall has given up an average of 32.3 points per game, including giving up 42 points twice.
â€śWe have a lot of new guys on the offense, so timing is going to be key,â€ť said receiver Tim Oâ€™Shea, who leads the team with 27 catches for 347 yards and six touchdowns. â€śWe have to get our plays right and everything. No mistakes, hopefully. Coach [Drury] has been preaching perfection, so we hopefully try to be perfect every play.â€ť
Defensively, the Blue Knights will face an offense that tends to be inconsistent at times. The Warriorsâ€™ highest output this season was 28 points against Enfield in Week 2.
â€śWeâ€™re going to see a mixture from them offensively, different concepts,â€ť Drury said. â€śThey like to attack with some of the quick game and use some heavy sets to establish the run game. They have some big guys up front.â€ť
Hall has operated its offense at 50-50 in run to pass plays with a little more success through the air. Nolan Tibball (12 catches, 143 yards) and James Gadue (12 catches, 160 yards) will be quarterback Andrew Nicklasâ€™ favorite two targets on the outside and could provide a good matchup for the Southington secondary, if they can catch the football.
Leo Dionicio and Desmond Richards are the Warriors two lead backs with 30 and 26 carries respectively, although for just 102 and 101 yards. The Blue Knights will also have to watch for a trick play or two Hall has been known to run.
The key, however, is for the defense to continue to do what it has been doing all season long.
â€śWe have to tackle very well and not give up any big-play opportunities to them,â€ť Drury said.
In the end, it should be an easy night for Southington.
David Glovach can be reached at (860) 801-5085 or firstname.lastname@example.org
On Twitter: @DavidGlovach