NEWINGTON - The team room was silent Friday night.
“It really came down to the mistakes that we made,” Newington head coach Jason Pace said after his team suffered a 28-7 loss to Farmington. “We beat ourselves. If you look at the penalties we had, the mistakes we made, we just can’t stay in football games making those kinds of mistakes.”
This was what Pace and his team of coaches were worried about from the beginning. Although he was worried, he wasn’t blaming the team’s experience for their loss.
“Yes, we have new starters but we made mistakes that we just can’t afford to make,” Pace said. “Some of it is getting game experience but we’re not going to use that as an excuse either.”
Newington and Farmington, on paper, were supposed to be a pretty evenly matched duo. And they were, until three minutes into the second quarter when Farmington’s Angel Velez rushed 21 yards into the end zone.
“We knew this was going to be our first test of the season,” Newington strong safety Keenan Esau said. “Farmington is a substantial program. Last year was a dog fight too. We knew they were coming out for revenge. We just came out too flat.”
Farmington found the end zone once more before the end of the first half. With 2:28 left on the clock Farmington quarterback Jacob Conrad connected on a 9-yard pass to Aidan Sposato to increase its score.
Newington didn’t generate its first, first down until midway through the third quarter. But once it did, it was finally able to move the ball down the field. Newington started its possession at the 8-yard line; 14 plays and 92 yards later, it was in the end zone.
Newington quarterback Nick Pestrichello connected with Jordan Alexander for a 33-yard passing touchdown with two minutes left in the third quarter.
Once Newington found momentum, Farmington took it right back. With just 14 seconds left in the quarter, Conard connected with Niko Bouzakis for a 71-yard passing touchdown.
“I feel like this was a very big game for us,” Newington receiver Izayah Ciarcia said. “This was a big part of our season. Coach even warned us that they were going to come out strong, looking for vengeance since we beat them last year. We just didn’t come back hungry enough and they put it on us.”
Farmington capitalized once more. After five plays, Sposato scored his second touchdown of the evening, a 46-yard drive with 4:12 left in the game.
“I thought and still think we’re the better team,” Ciarcia said. “We did not play up to our potential. I know how we can play and we did not do it. We need to work hard in practice and not get lazy. We need to know our assignments and know what we have to do on the field.”
Pace could not agree more.
“There were times where [the team] just didn’t do their jobs,” the head coach said. “We’re going to put our focus on those mistakes that were made and how to fix it.”
Newington will have one week before it’s tested once again, but this time against Platt.
Shelby Iava can be reached at (860)801-5096 or firstname.lastname@example.org