MERIDEN - After a disappointing loss last week, the Newington football team is looking to get back on track.
The Indians’ focus this week leading up to tonight’s game against Platt was honing in on the mistakes that were made and fixing them.
“We really took some extra time watching the film from last week to identify those areas,” Newington head coach Jason Pace said. “There are things we need to get better at to have success.”
For the Indians, it really just came down to the mistakes and penalties. Both of those issues played a part in Newington being unable to sustain drives and didn’t have a first down until the third quarter.
“We really need to be able to get a few first downs,” Pace said. “Defensively, we just have to eliminate the big plays. We were just really focusing on getting better and what are the things we have to do in order to be better.”
Another takeaway from last week’s loss was that the Indians need to work together, instead of against each other.
“Everyone can’t do their own thing,” Newington kicker Gunner Johnson said. “They have to work together as one unit. If we do that, I feel like we’ll be able to play a tough game and eventually get the win. If you try to do your own thing it doesn’t work out. If you get mad at your teammates it doesn’t help at all. Just staying as one unit will be key.”
When Newington did communicate against Farmington last Friday, it resulted in its only touchdown of the game.
The Indians know Platt will not be an easy feat. The Panthers have plenty of different weapons on both sides of the ball and are particularly fast.
“Their team speed is very impressive,” Pace said. “They’re fast in all aspects of the game.”
Offensively, Platt can make a big play at any time and while on defense, the players tend to run to the ball. Newington needs to be able to limit the Panthers ability to score and limit their speed down the field.
“We have to do what we were taught,” Newington receiver Jordan Alexander said. “We need to try to keep them contained, don’t let them stretch the field.”
One key player that impressed Pace the most was the quarterback, Lorenzo Sanso. The 5-foot-9, 165-pound senior can do a little bit of everything. In his last game, against Bridgeport Central, Sanso was 12-for-17 for 186 yards with a pair of passing touchdowns and running for another in the 35-0 win.
“He’s so athletic,” Pace said. “It’s really hard to contain him inside the pocket. He’s able to scramble and make plays with his feet as well as his arms. He is able to throw complete passes as well so he’s definitely a complete player for them.”
“They’re really good,” Newington defensive tackle Rasheed Patterson added. “They’re a strong team. They like to run the ball but they can throw deep passes too. We have to be able to read what they’re going to do and react.”
That means, the Indians also have to be aware of Platt’s sophomore running back Roberto Salas. After running for 180 yards in his varsity debut two weeks ago, Salas followed it up with 56 yards on 11 carries last Friday.
“He’s a third-string running back, but doesn’t look like a third-string kind of guy,” Pace said. “He runs hard. He hits that hole and he’s not trying to run around people he’s trying to run through you.”
In order to beat Platt, Newington must play up to their potential.
“We need to play like we can play, the best we can play,” Patterson said. “This is the hardest team we’ve played this season and we have to be locked in the whole game and just be intense, the whole game.”
Shelby Iava can be reached at (860)801-5096 or firstname.lastname@example.org