NEW BRITAIN - The New Britain football team accomplished almost everything it wanted to against Hall Thursday night - start fast, score points and most importantly, push the other team around. It even got some lucky bounces go its way.
But it was the strength of the running game behind a pair a running back and the offensive line that helped the Hurricanes the most. Shawn Robinson ran for three touchdowns and Muhammed Codjoe rushed for two more as New Britain beat the Warriors 43-21, continuing the weekly cycle of wins and losses for the Hurricanes.
New Britain (2-2) had struggled to find any sort of rhythm last week. How quickly things can change. The Hurricanes made an impression from the first time it touched the ball to the last with the first quarter setting the tone for the night in a back-and-forth first half.
After forcing Hall (1-3) to punt on the game’s opening possession, the Hurricanes marched right down the field - with the help of a friendly bounce - on their first drive, going 81 yards in six plays and ending with a 5-yard touchdown pass from Jahfari Newman to Tahje Yopp.
Newman scrambled for 39 yards on a 3-and-10 two plays earlier to extend the drive. Robinson then ran for 19 yards himself around the right side, only to have the ball punched out. But the Hurricanes running back jumped up, ran after and wrestled for the ball 14 yards down the field to set up the score.
The Warriors answered just as quickly. Just two and a half minutes later, Hall capped off a 70-yard drive of its own on a 14-yard halfback pass from Devin Richards to Todd Cravedi to tie the game up at 7-7.
New Britain soon regained the lead after blocking a punt on the Warriors’ next possession. Robinson once again proved to be the workhorse, collecting 25 yards on the ground in two plays, including a 19-yard touchdown as the first quarter expired. A missed point after gave the Hurricanes just a six-point advantage.
And Hall took advantage, once again having an answer for New Britain’s score. Another 70-yard drive resulted in the Warriors taking a 14-13 lead when Andrew Niklas lofted a 25-yard pass to Nolan Tibball.
But as has had been the case of the first half, New Britain retook the lead behind its running game. Robinson got the first three carries of the drive, totaling 52 yards. Codjoe took the next four carries for 16 yards, including a 2-yard run. Newman ran in the 2-point conversion for the 21-14 lead.
Hall had one more chance to tie the game heading into halftime when Hurricanes returner Kaiyon Gunn muffed a punt to give the Warriors the ball on the 4-yard line. But Jayshawn Alexandre bailed out his team with an interception in the end zone.
Compared to the first 24 minutes of the game, the second half was dominated by New Britain.
The Hurricanes outscored Hall 32-7 with Robinson, Codjoe and the running game front and center.
It took until New Britain’s second series of the third quarter, but the Hurricanes were able to pick up momentum behind a drive that belonged to Codjoe. After Robinson got the first carry, Codjoe got the next four, the first one of which went for 26 yards after he stiff armed a defender down running down the sideline and the last going for a 4-yard score.
With the score 27-13, Hall took the next 1 minutes and 15 seconds to score again on a Richards 3-yard run to cut New Britain’s lead to 27-21.
But as the game rolled into the fourth quarter, the Hurricanes offensive line bullied the Warriors, allowing New Britain to begin the process of running time off the clock. Robinson scored twice - a 2-yard run and a 4-yard run -along with two 2-pont conversions in a span of less than seven minutes to put the game away.
The Hurricanes will now have to get ready for a difficult Simsbury team (1-3) on the road next Friday at 7 p.m.
David Glovach can be reachedat (860) 801-5085 or firstname.lastname@example.org
On Twitter: @DavidGlovach