BRISTOL - After back-to-back blowout losses against Naugatuck and Ansonia, the schedule doesnâ€™t get any easier tonight for the St. Paul football team (1-3), as it hosts Woodland (4-0).
The Falcons have scored 18 points the past two weeks and the Hawks have had a strong defense over their first four wins of the season, allowing 28 points total and putting together a pair of shutouts against Torrington and Wilby to begin the season.
While Woodland comes in unbeaten, the Falcons have played three undefeated teams and the Hawks have yet to face a winning team on their schedule.
Being tested already could be an edge for St. Paul tonight.
â€śWeâ€™re finding out what it takes in order to beat a good team,â€ť St. Paul defensive back John Ivers said. â€śWeâ€™re finding out how these good teams in our league are playing and we know thatâ€™s where we have to get.â€ť
But just like the other teams the Falcons have faced, St. Paul is expecting Woodland to challenge it on the ground, specifically one part of the defense.
â€śI think the biggest challenge is going to defending the run off tackle,â€ť Falcons linebacker Connor Bogdanski said. â€śAgainst Naugatuck and Ansonia, thatâ€™s what they gashed us with every single time. They knew thatâ€™s where they could hit us. So I think thatâ€™s where we really have to strengthen up because Woodland will do the same thing.â€ť
Woodlandâ€™s ground attack has been strong this season, led by Edit Krivca.
He had a pair of big games against Torrington and Derby this season, with 281 rushing yards and four touchdowns against Torrington and 143 yards with three touchdowns against Derby.
Krivca is also part of the Woodland secondary at defensive back and a leader of the defensive unit.
For St. Paul, itâ€™s been a season consisting of mental mistakes on the field. The Falcons have had troubles with turnovers and special teams.
Both have been costly against Ansonia and Naugatuck.
â€śWeâ€™ve learned that we have to start taking everything more seriously,â€ť Bogdanski said. â€śWeâ€™ve got to account for everyone on the field and everyone has to do their job. The little mistakes have been killing us the past few weeks. Thatâ€™s been holding us back.â€ť
St. Paul has been held to two touchdowns or less three times this season and if thatâ€™s the case against the Hawks, it will be a tough night.
While true, the talent is there on the offensive side of the ball with quarterback Kevin Ashworth and tailback Bogdanski.
For the Falcons itâ€™s about putting everything together, something they havenâ€™t been able to do yet against winning programs.
Still, St. Paul was a 7-3 team last year and believes it still has plenty of talent on its side to bounce back this year.
â€śWe have to get out of our own heads,â€ť Ivers said. â€śWe have to get into a winning mentality and figure out what we need to be thinking about and prepare for it in order to get a win.â€ť
It wonâ€™t be an easy game by any means, but with the home crowd behind them, the battle-tested Falcons are hoping for an upset in week five.
â€śItâ€™s going to be good playing back in front of the home crowd,â€ť Ivers said. â€śObviously Woodland is a very good team, but being at home and coming off the games against Naugatuck and Ansonia weâ€™re going to be put in a good position to win and I think the home crowd is going to help that a lot.â€ť