SOUTHINGTON - Under head coach Mike Drury, the Southington football team hasnâ€™t found itself in this position very often - in fact, it has been four years.
For the first time in 41 regular season games - a 49-37 defeat against Hall back in 2013 - the Blue Knights come into a Friday night following a loss after falling to East Hartford 27-20 last week.
â€śOur preparation has been the same,â€ť Drury said. â€śWe came in 8 oâ€™clock Saturday morning did our yoga, lifted, watched the film, evaluated it and got to work on this weekâ€™s opponent. You canâ€™t dwell, losses are going to happen. You have to move forward and itâ€™s about how you respond.â€ť
In 2013, Southington responded by going on to win the Class LL title and while that is still a ways off for this yearâ€™s team, the Blue Knights have a chance to get back into form tonight against Enfield.
Since joining Southingtonâ€™s division last year, the Eagles have won just two games and are just 1-6 this season. But despite its record, Enfield has found itself competitive in games this season with three of its losses coming by five points or less, two of which were by a single point.
â€śTheyâ€™re always running really hard,â€ť Southington linebacker Joe Koczera said. â€śTheyâ€™re always trying really hard so we have to know our assignments.â€ť
That will be particularly important with the Blue Knights seeing another mobile quarterback in Mason Dumas. Enfieldâ€™s top playmaker, Dumas has helped the Eagles make up for a defense that has been prone to giving up an average of 39.4 points per game.
While the senior has shown the ability to make plays with his arm at times, throwing for 12 touchdowns to just two interceptions, his biggest asset is his running ability. Dumas has rushed for 772 yards and 10 touchdowns on 115 carries (6.7 yards per attempt) this season.
â€śWe have to be able to cage him in and make sure when he drops back to pass he doesnâ€™t get a big conversion running the football,â€ť Drury said. â€śThey have a lot more designed quarterback runs and things like. Heâ€™ll run the ball to close to 20 times a game. Weâ€™re going to have to tackle him well.â€ť
Southington will also see plenty of screens and quick passes. Outside of Dumas, receiver Xavier Copening (21 catches, 358 yards, 2 touchdowns) and tailback Collin Atwood (66 carries, 316 yards, 5 touchdowns) are the Eagles other two main contributors on offense.
And while their defense will be key tonight, perhaps just as important will be the Blue Knightsâ€™ ability to take advantage of Enfieldâ€™s porous defense. Held to its season-low in points scored last week, Southington generated just 364 yards of total offense and failed to score more than once in a quarter after being shut out in the first.
â€ś[Enfield is] going to bring pressure,â€ť Drury said. â€śThey like to vary it up and sell out at times and we have to do a good job of seeing that and anticipating that. We have to win the battle upfront and play tough. We have to convert on third down on offense and win the turnover battle, 100 percent. We have to.â€ť