SOUTHINGTON - Over the course of the first three weeks of the season, the formula for Southington football team has been relatively simple - practice every day at game speed, watch hours of film, show up on game day and come out with a win.
Despite the shortened week, the second-ranked Blue Knights have stuck to that routine, looking for another similar outcome tonight against Conard.
“It’s pretty much the same thing, you just have to approach it the same way,” Southington senior linebacker Ryan Montalvo said of the shorter week. “Just get better every day until you get to game day and hopefully by then, everyone has their reads down and everyone knows what they’re doing.”
The Chieftains, as are the majority of Southington’s opponents, will be looking for the upset and come in 2-1. Yet even with the Blue Knights’ string of recent success against Conard, Southington head coach Mike Drury, as he makes sure his team always does, is having them prepared for the opponent’ s best.
“They’re a very well coached team,” Drury said. “They’re going to be prepared. We’re going to be prepared. We just have to go out there and play the game. Each week is a battle.”
As it was last Friday night, tonight’s game will be about the Blue Knights’ defensive unit. Through their first three games, the Chieftains are averaging 41.3 points per game, scoring at least 30 in each. Southington, on the other hand, is only allowing opponents to score 4.3 points per game.
Jack Moore will be leading Conard at quarterback following the graduation of Declan Flaherty and will have a trio of solid receivers around him in Ryan Orlowski, Justin Furze and tight end Aiden Stabnick. But as always, the Chieftains’ offense will be predicated on the run game.
“Their offense is actually kind of similar to ours,” Montalvo said. “They like [run-pass option] a lot, which makes sense because it’s a good offense to run. They do a lot of outside runs and their receivers run really good routes. That’s the thing about them, they know how to get open, especially when the quarterback is scrambling. They know their scramble drill really well - run a fade, get open, have him throw a 40-yard fade, get the first down.
“Their quarterback does a nice job of moving around in the pocket, he never stays still, which is something a lot of kids don’t have in high school. We can’t let him do that and put us in a bad situation.”
Offensively, Southington expects to see much of the same looks it did last year: 3-4, 3-3 stack, some 46 bear as well as man-to-man coverage and deep zones. Despite the variation, it will just be a matter of the Blue Knights executing their overall game plan.
“No. 1 we have to win field position against a team that has shown the ability to drive the football,”’ Drury said. “We have to make them be in long-drive situations. We have to execute and protect the football and score when we have the ball. They’ve shown they can score over 30 points each game and we have to do the same.”
David Glovach can be reached at (860) 801-5085 or firstname.lastname@example.org On Twitter: @DavidGlovach