NEWINGTON â€“ The Newington Norâ€™easters might be the most talented 0-2 team in Connecticut, coming off losses against then-No. 10 Southington and a heartbreaker last Thursday against Conard. The Staples Wreckers make their way into Newington on Friday night with a win over the common opponent, Conard in Week 1, and a loss to No. 7 St. Joseph in Week 2.
Newington head coach Jay Pace took responsibility following last weekâ€™s loss at Conard, in which they held a lead until the final minute of the game.
â€śI need to make sure that we compete and be able to finish teams when weâ€™re up a couple scores,â€ť said Pace. â€śWe want to make sure that we put teams away when weâ€™re up and also be able to convert in fourth down situations.â€ť
This game should have no shortage of offense as both sides have shown the ability to be elite passing offenses at points through the first two weeks. Newington quarterback Padraig Brown is armed with weapons like Luciano Corvino and Josiah Ross at running back and wide receiver. That trio combined for four touchdowns at Conard in Week 2.
Even though they were doubled up by St. Joseph last week, Staples had seemingly no trouble moving the ball through the air despite only scoring 21 points. Junior quarterback Caleb Smith passed for 374 yards and one touchdown but two interceptions. He had three different receivers eclipse 96 yards in that game. Senior Michael Nealon finished with 128, senior Tyler Clark had 121 and senior James Hillhouse collected 96 yards and the lone touchdown reception.Â
Against the common opponent of Conard, Newington fell in the final moments by a final score of 36-33. Staples had no issue dismissing the Red Wolves, winning 42-13 in their opener.
This game has the potential for an offensive onslaught and could determine the fate of Newingtonâ€™s postseason aspirations with a third loss looming.
Staples at Newington
When: Friday, 6:30 p.m.
Where: Newington High School
Records: Staples 1-1, Newington 0-2
Last Meeting: Staples 21, Newington 14 (11/30/2004)
Ultimately, Newington is at home, and theyâ€™ll be the more desperate team in this game which may tilt the game slightly in their favor. Itâ€™s only Week 2, but a third loss could completely sink Newingtonâ€™s chances at the postseason, making every game the rest of the way closer and closer to the must-win category. Padraig Brown and company were coasting through the first half of last weekâ€™s game before Conard really slowed the tempo and forced a few turnovers in the second half. These offenses should be able to match each other blow for blow, itâ€™s just a matter of which defense will be able to make a stop when it matters.
Cameron Beallâ€™s Prediction
Newington 41, Staples 37