NEW BRITAIN - It was certainly not the way the New Britain football team had envisioned starting out the season.
After an offseason filled with optimism, the Hurricanes’ season opener against Conard Friday night went like many of their games a season - there were too many self-inflicted mistakes to overcome.
Dropped passes, a kick return for touchdown called back because of a holding call, missed tackles all played a factor as New Britain lost 30-22 despite Shawn Robinson’s 19-carry, 172-yard performance and two touchdowns from Kaiyon Gunn.
Both of Gunn’s touchdowns came in the second half, from four yards out or less. Tahje Yopp ran one in as well, but it was with the game out of hand and 15 seconds remaining.
“Offense I felt played well enough to win,” New Britain head coach Tebucky Jones said. “You get down there three times and you’re supposed to win. This loss is more on the defense. The biggest thing that hurt us the most was the scrambling, the long runs and a lot of missed tackles,”
The game, however, was never in the Hurricanes’ favor from the get-go.
Conard opened the game by marching 62 yards in 13 plays that was capped off by a two-yard Jack Moore touchdown pass to Ryan Orlowski. The drive ate up the first five minutes forcing New Britain to play catchup. It was the first of Moore’s three touchdown passes and one of four overall for the senior quarterback. It also proved to be the difference maker.
The rest of the first half was played at a standstill before the Chieftain took over control in the second half, scoring on each of their first possessions of both the third and fourth quarters to all but put the game away.
There were spurts when New Britain was able to move the ball effectively, three of its five first-half drives reached Conard’s 25-yard line with two of those three inside the 10. But the closer the Hurricanes got to the Chieftains end zone, the harder it was for New Britain to move the ball.
Moore connected with tight end Aiden Stabnick from 15 yards out, making the game 14-0, and later found Justin Furze for an 11-yard touchdown pass with 11:52 left to play in the game. Moore then capped off his night with a 7-yard scramble into the end zone with 5:19 remaining.
In between those two touchdowns, Yopp appeared to have returned a kickoff for a score for New Britain, but it was called back because of a holding call.
“We’re going to look at this as Week 1,” quarterback Jahfari Newman said. “We’re not going to dwell on this for too long because of our 24-hour rule and move onto the next opponent.”
The Hurricanes will travel to Manchester next Friday night, looking for their first win of the season.