NEW BRITAIN - As the season enters its final stages, the New Britain football team has one thing on its mind - it needs to get the job done.
With their playoff hopes long gone and two games left on the schedule, the Hurricanes (3-5) are attempting to finish out the season with a .500 record, starting tonight against Enfield (1-7).
But this season has been anything but easy for New Britain, which comes in having lost three of its last four and four of its last six. And to finish off the year with the best possible outcome, the Hurricanes will have to win back-to-back games - something they haven’t been able to do since the start of last season - over the Eagles and then Berlin the week after.
“We know there’s no playoff chance, but we’re still going to play like we still have a playoff chance,” New Britain offensive/defensive tackle Jacob Clark said. “I mean, we’re going to win out. We have to.”
Tonight’s game might just provide the Hurricanes with the best chance to build some momentum. Enfield has only given up fewer than 26 points once this season. But at the same time, the Eagles have been able to score some points, averaging 28.3 points per game with three of their losses coming by five points or less.
“I’ll tell you what, they are the scrappiest team in the league by far,” New Britain head coach Tebucky Jones said. “They play hard every play, I mean 100 percent. They get to the ball.”
Defensively, the Hurricanes’ main focus will be once against stopping the run, something East Hartford managed to do well last week when it collected 162 yards on the ground and three touchdowns.
Enfield’s quarterback, Mason Dumas, will be at the top of the list. By far the Eagles’ top playmakers, Dumas leads the team in rushing with 834 yards and 10 touchdowns on 131 carries. The next closest is Collin Atwood with 336 yards.
Jones said the defense will also have to watch out for the pass as well and expects Enfield to throw the ball more than the 11 times East Hartford did. On the season, Dumas has thrown for 1,243 yards and 12 touchdowns to just three interceptions.
“He’s got a good arm,” Jones said. “We just have to contain in the pocket because he will hurt you, especially if he gets outside, he will hurt you with his legs. But you can’t get sucked up because he’ll hurt you with his arm and hit you with a pass. The biggest thing is when we’re in zone to get in the right drops and when we’re in man to cover their receivers.”
As well as the defense needs to play, the offense will have to do its part.
In the team’s last three losses, the unit is averaging just 11.3 points per game with poor starts often hampering the offense for the rest of the game. In last Friday’s loss, the Hurricanes had just six plays of 10 yards or more.
“[The offensive line] has to block, the receivers have to get off the ball and the running backs have to run the ball,” Clark said. “It’s the same thing every week, we just have to execute.”
David Glovach can be reached at (860) 801-5085 or firstname.lastname@example.org
On Twitter: @DavidGlovach