MERIDEN - It was a new week, but the same story: The Newington football team comes out flat on offense early and never really gets anything going.
The Indians suffered their worst loss since 2016, a 38-0 shutout to Platt (3-0), on Friday evening. Last week, Newington also faltered in a 28-7 loss to Farmington.
Head coach Jason Pace knew his young team full of inexperienced players would eventually come to a halt. But he also expected his team to learn from their mistakes so it wouldn’t happen again, but that was not the case.
“We have to get things going offensively,” Pace said. “The second half we were able to run the ball a bit more but still, we have to sustain drives.”
Now for the second consecutive week, the Indians have made no strides forward.
“I think we came out a little bit flat in the first quarter,” Newington tackle Wyatt Bernard said. “We tried as a team the entire time but the effort wasn’t constant and I think that was our biggest issue.”
Playing the entire four quarters has been an issue for Newington, both this year and last. The only difference compared to last season was the Indians would come out strong in the first and second quarter, but once halftime was over the team lacked energy and intensity. This year, Pace is having trouble getting his team to play the entire game.
“I think we should have learned from Farmington,” Bernard said. “The way we came out wasn’t the right way, that was really what we took away from that game. We didn’t take any steps forward and that really didn’t help us.”
“I just think we didn’t bring anything at all,” Newington quarterback Nick Pestrichello added. “Last week we came out so flat in the first half and [Friday] it was just flat the entire game.”
The Indians were back to the drawing board early Saturday morning. But Newington believes if it doesn’t have a good week of practice that it will translate into the game.
“We really need to work hard through the week,” Pestrichello said. “We always have bad practices and this week we really can’t afford it. We need to work on route running, focusing on what our job is, and linemen have to work on when I’m dropping back they have to protect me a little more.”
The Indians also need to lean their focus on having one constant effort, whether it be in a game or at practice.
“We have to be giving it our best efforts,” Bernard said. “And I know that sounds cheesy but that’s really what we need. The way we can get that is to have leaders step up, because the coaches can only do so much. The coaches’ word doesn’t mean everything. When it comes to reaching a player, it has to be our own.”
Newington is lacking leadership, but not because they’re lacking in seniors. Bernard said anyone can be leader, not having enough seniors just hurts the Indians at the experience level.
“We have to get more leadership,” Bernard said. “The bottom line is that we have leaders that are trying to emerge, but they’re not making their voice heard all the time. That’s a step forward we have taken, people are starting to talk, but we need more.”
The Indians will try to turn things around next Friday at South Windsor (0-3).
Shelby Iava can be reached at (860) 801-5096 or email@example.com