NEWINGTON - After losing five straight games, Newington's tough schedule continues tonight. The Indians will matchup against No. 26 Maloney.
The Indians have to be more consistent if they want to see another win before the season comes to an end.
“I don't want to say we can’t find an identity,” Newington head coach Jason Pace said, “But, we need to be more consistent. There are times where we play as a team that is getting better and improving and then there are times where we take steps back.”
Over the last three weeks the Indians have been having a difficult time pulling it all together which was seen in the Newington’s latest games against South Windsor, Bristol Central and Middletown.
“It seems when some things go wrong, we just don't react the right way,” Pace said. “We’re really working on that trying to improve and how we handle adversity which has been a common theme.”
Maloney has only one blemish on its 2017 season. During Week 1, the Spartans were shut out 28-0 by Windsor. Since then, the Spartan’s have been on a six game winning streak. Putting up a total of 105 points, the team has been unstoppable.
Laure Graham has been Maloney’s star quarterback all season long. In Maloney’s most previous game, Graham threw three touchdowns and was 15-for-26, on 247 yards.
Spartans’ running back Aden Valentin also had an impressive game against Farmington tallying up 28 carries on 214 yards.
“They’re a talented team,” Pace said. “They are really big as far as size on the offensive and defensive line. Their quarterback is athletic, their receivers make good plays and their running backs are impressive. They do some things defensively to change things up so it’s hard to anticipate what they’re going to do. We need to be prepared; we need to make sure we put four quarters together.”
If the Indians want a fighting chance against Maloney, their offense needs to communicate on the field and be mistake free.
“Overall offensively we have struggled, statistically we've struggled we haven’t put up any numbers and we haven't scored any points,” Pace said.
“One thing we all can fix is staying together as one,” quarterback Robert Sanchez said. “A couple times in a game we kind of like to point fingers here and there.”
Admitting to doing it himself, Sanchez said he tries to avoid doing that but when you lose so often it’s hard to stick together.
“Coach preaches it every day at practice,” Sanchez said, “Stick together, as a family, and it’s something we’ve all been working on.”
The strategy for Maloney is simple, hit quick, quarterback Robert Sanchez said.
“We want to try and take advantage of being able to run the ball, a little bit more than what we have been,” Sanchez said. “Hopefully I can get the run game going and just try to tackle them as much as we can.”
As the season dwindles down, Pace puts emphasis on giving it all.
“I want the seniors to understand that there aren’t many of [games] left,” Pace said. “I don't want them to leave here with any regrets at all. I want to make sure they take every play, every practice, every game, and make sure they give it their all. And that has been our focus all year but really I’m trying to drive it home now because there’s not many of these left.”
The goals for the Indians in the next three games are to finish strong.
Pace asked the seniors, “How do you want to finish this season? How do you want to walk away on Thanksgiving knowing that we finished strong or did we really give it everything we had?”
Maloney and Newington
When: Tonight, 6:30 p.m.
Where: Alumni Field
Records: Newington 2-5, Maloney 6-1
Last year: Newington 21, Maloney 31
BREAKDOWN: It’s no surprise that the Newington football team has been seeing a hard stretch of competitors and this week is no different. Maloney only has one blemish on its 2017 record, a Week 1 28-0 shutout loss to now 10th ranked Windsor. Quarterback Laure Graham was 15-for-26, on 247 yards in their most previous game against Farmington. Maloney also has playmaker, Aden Valentin as it reliant running back. Valentin ran over 200 yards on 28 carries in the game against Farmington. The Spartans offense is averaging nearly 28.3 points per game and Newington will have to play a perfect game if they want to compete on the same level as Maloney.
Shelby Iava’s Prediction: Newington 14, Maloney 34