BRISTOL - Coming into today’s game against Woodland the message for the St. Paul football team is simple - the loss to Ansonia has come and gone and keeping the confidence level that helped the Falcons get to 5-0 to start the season is essential.
“It’s just bouncing back and getting our confidence back,” St. Paul quarterback Kevin Ashworth said. “Ansonia is a great team and we respect them, but this week we know we have to come back with revenge and get everyone’s head back in it.”
After getting gouged by Chargers running back Markell Dobbs for five touchdowns on eight carries, the Falcons face another run oriented team as the Hawks have run the ball 231 times compared to just 20 passing attempts in the five games coming into last week.
For Woodland, it all starts with Edit Krivca on the ground.
As the leading rusher for the Hawks, Kriva sets the tone, but Woodland has multiple guys running the football, with Ben Nuss and Zach Kabusk also seeing carries.
The trio will be an easier task for the St. Paul run defense than Dobbs and the Ansonia line was last week.
“We take a lot of pride in being able to stop the run,” Falcons head coach Jude Kelly said. “Last week it was an indication that there’s no substitute for speed and it’s hard to defend speed.”
The Woodland offense has been a strong unit averaging 30 points per game this season.
Against the two teams St. Paul has played, Watertown and Sacred Heart, the Hawks are 1-1. Against Watertown, Woodland lost 21-42 and beat Sacred Heart 57-30.
Against the Hearts, the 30 points allowed is a lot as the Falcons shut out Sacred Heart in the first game of the season 38-0.
Defense has been the issue for the Hawks. Woodland has given up 41 points per game this season and in each game the opposing team has scored at least 30.
On the defensive side, stopping the run will be the key against St. Paul, as it is for any opponent matching up against the Falcons.
It all starts at linebacker as the Hawks have a strong one in Carter Amore. Behind Amore are a pair of strong safeties in Kabusk and Mike Farina.
Kabusk and Farina will be key in the back if Woodland hopes to stop the big run plays from St. Paul’s trio of backs and Ashworth.
The Falcons are still a 5-1 football team and matches up well against the Hawks especially with the ground game on offense running the wishbone.
“That one loss hit everybody pretty hard,” Ashworth said. “So getting this win would get all the mojo back and would be a very positive thing for us.”