Photo by Ken Moy
Published on Saturday, 21 September 2019 23:30
Written by DAVID GLOVACH
NORWALK — The New Britain football team still has plenty of work to do.
For the second straight week, the Hurricanes let a winnable game slip away. Last week it was against South Windsor. On Saturday night, it was in their Football Alliance matchup against Staples.
Bad drops, bad runs, bad snaps, fumbles all led to a bad result for New Britain.
The Hurricanes tallied 168 yards of total offense as the Wreckers used two big plays from Jake Thaw to hand New Britain a 14-8 loss.
“Our defense did a pretty good job, but we had no offense,” Hurricanes head coach Tebucky Jones said. “It’s called undisciplined. You keep getting stops, stops, stops, stops, but if you can’t do anything on offense it’s hard to win.”
While New Britain’s offense sputtered, Thaw made sure Staples came out with a win.
First, the Staples senior caught a 40-yard over-the-shoulder pass that was thrown over the wrong shoulder to put the Wreckers on the 1-yard line. It led to a touchdown run by Henry Beck in the second quarter. He then returned a Hurricanes punt 70-yards for the deciding score with 7:32 left in the third.
Overall, Thaw did a little bit of everything for Staples (1-1). He took snaps at quarterback and threw for 33 yards, while catching five passes for a team-high 78 yards. There were also multiple pass breakups on defense.
“He had one great catch down the sideline,” Jones said referring to Thaw’s 40-yard grab. “I thought it was overthrown.”
New Britain’s lone score came on a special team’s play as well when Omary Payne returned a blocked punt 30 yards for a touchdown with 4:31 left in the third quarter. Tarik Hetmyer’s run on a 2-point conversion brought the score to 14-8.
Other than that, the Hurricanes’ offense simply didn’t have much of an answer for Staples’ defense, which spent most of the game stacking the box in a five-man front in an attempt to stop New Britain’s running game. Instead, the Wreckers forced the Hurricanes (0-2) out of their comfort zone to try and throw the football. It worked.
New Britain’s longest play from scrimmage was a 21-yard run by quarterback Monte Dickson and had just two others that went for 10 yards or more. There were also the four dropped passes, including one a 4th-and-4 late in the fourth quarter that ultimately ended the Hurricanes’ night, and three fumbles.
“I felt like we didn’t execute like we needed to,” said Dickson, who completed 9 of his 19 passes for 60 yards. “The defense did a great stopping them and holding them to 14 points. As an offense, we need to execute on every possession that we get and we didn’t do that tonight.”
The score could have been worse for the Hurricanes had it not been for their defense.
New Britain held Staples to 185 yards of total offense, forced three turnovers and allowed the Wreckers to convert on three of their 12 3rd-down attempts. But perhaps none of the unit’s stops were bigger than one late in the second quarter and one early in the fourth.
With 5:29 left before the half and Staples at the Hurricanes’ 28-yard line after a Hetmyer fumble, New Britain’s defense forced Jackson Zager to throw four straight incompletions for a turnover on downs. Early in the fourth with the Wreckers driving, the defense forced Beck to fumble the football at the Hurricanes’ 7-yard line and recovered it.
The only problem was New Britain gave the ball back to Staples after both instances. Dickson fumbled as he scrambled out of the pocket in the second quarter, making it back-to-back possessions the Hurricanes coughed the ball up, while the team turned the ball over on downs in the fourth.
“We fought a hard game,” left guard Yasser Vasquez said. “But we need to focus more. Focus more in practice. We have to practice like we want to win and we’re not doing that. If we don’t play like we’re capable of playing, it’s going to be a long season.”
David Glovach can be reached at (860) 802-5085 or firstname.lastname@example.org