SOUTHINGTON - The Southington football team hasnât encountered many issues this season.
The seventh-ranked Blue Knights have won six of their seven games, only allowed three opponents to score double-digit points and score 30 or more points themselves five times. If anything, itâs simply business as usual in what has been a typical Southington-like season.
The way the Blue Knights (6-1) look at it, it comes from a mindset that makes its way through the offense, defense and special teams.
âWe want to be the bully every time we come out,â senior defensive back Johnny Carriero said.
For most of the season, thatâs the way games have gone for Southington and its opponents. Simsbury was the latest to learn that lesson last Friday night. The Blue Knights held a Trojans team that was averaging a little more than 213 rushing yards a game to just 77. Oh, and handed them their first loss in the process with a 35-7 rout.
And itâs something Southington, which has won five straight, intends to carry over to Friday nightâs matchup when it travel to Glastonbury (3-4) for their first road game since early October.
âEvery week we want to make sure weâre focused, make sure weâre doing what weâre supposed to do, stay with the scheme,â Carriero said. âWe donât want to get outside ourselves or ahead of ourselves and think playoffs. Each week, itâs, âthis is my assignment, this is who I got and do it to the best of my ability.â Making sure we out physical every team. Thatâs an important part. Itâs who is going to punch who in the mouth first. When a team is playing with less confidence than they usually do, theyâre a different team.â
The Tomahawks, meanwhile, havenât had a lot to be confident about as of late. After starting the season 3-1, the Glastonbury has lost three straight, including to previously winless East Hartford last Friday night.
During their three-game losing streak, the Tomahawks have struggled offensively. Theyâre averaging just 14.7 points per game during that stretch with the high point being the 20 they scored against New Britain two week ago. But the Hurricanes are 2-5 on the season.
Quarterback Greg Perry scored both of Glastonburyâs touchdowns against East Hartford on a pair of runs and along with running backs Brandon Myers and Ethan Taylor, the three make up the majority of the teamâs offensive output. When given the opportunity, Ryan Smith, Matt Daniels and Brandon Valdes can make plays in the passing game.
âWe want to match their physicality. They have a big offensive line, a quarterback can run the ball well and their running back is a big-bodied kid, who runs hard and runs well. We want to make him run east to west and not let him run downhill on us. We have to play gap integrity football and play low.â
For a defense thatâs only giving up 13.1 points per game and has sacked opposing quarterback 34 times, Drury would still like to see the unit take the ball away more. The Blue Knights have four interceptions and eight fumble recoveries this season.
âOur big emphasis is turnovers,â Drury said. âWe want to start creating more of them. Letâs go get the ball.â
Offensively, Southington knows the Tomahawks are going to bring plenty of pressure from anywhere from four to seven defenders of any given play. Thatâs burned them on more than one occasion. Glastonbury is giving up 23.1 points per game and will have to contend with an offense thatâs averaging 37.9 ppg.
But the Blue Knights know itâs going to be important for the offensive line to continue to play well. Southington has rushed for 1,256 yards and 17 touchdowns, while throwing for 1,324 yards and 18 more scored.
âAs linemen, we have to have an awareness of what our responsibilities are on each play and if the defense moves, what those responsibilities then are,â senior lineman Jacob Vecchio said. âThat all comes down to communication, which is 10 times better than it was at the beginning of the season. Weâre talking to each other say, âI got this guy or that guy, saying check, check and identifying guys Thatâs really strengthened our O-line.â
And on Friday, it could lead to another win for the Blue Knights.
âWe just have to keep our confidence up and maintain who we are,â Carriero said.
David Glovach can be reached at (860) 801-5085 or firstname.lastname@example.org