In a season fill with more frustrating movements than exciting ones, the scheduled bye week might have come at the best time for the New Britain football team.
While the Hurricanes had their sights set on the postseason before the season began, things have not gone as they had envisioned.
Inconsistency has been the theme for this team at the halfway mark.
Through the first five games, New Britain sits at 2-3, looking good in stretches and equally bad in others.
It isn’t too late yet to turn the season around, but it’ll take some work. A week without having to worry about an upcoming game should give the Hurricanes time to correct some of the issues they have had to deal with so far.
Here are four things we’ve learned about the Hurricanes:
1. New Britain has been consistently inconsistent
Heading into every week this season, the question is always, “Which New Britain is going to show up tonight?” This year’s Hurricanes have effectively been split into two distinct teams - the good New Britain and the bad New Britain - with each trading off weeks.
And that has shown in the results. Out of their first five games, the Hurricanes have alternated between losses and wins. They just haven’t been able to string together a complete performance for consecutive weeks.
Perhaps the most frustrating part is New Britain had the opportunity to win every one of its games in the first half of the season outside of its Week 3 matchup against South Windsor.
Some of it has to do with the offense. In both of their victories, the Hurricanes has scored at least 43 points. In the three defeats, they have scored 22 points or less.
New Britain has been able to move the ball effectively, but hasn’t taken advantage of its opportunities in the red zone, with the prime example being the season opener against Conard, when it made three trips there in the first half and came away with zero points.
Some of it has to do with the play of the defense, which hadn’t given up less than 21 points prior to the 17-7 loss to Simsbury before the bye.
The Hurricanes have playmakers on both sides of the ball, but they have yet to put everything together as they should.
2. Shawn Robinson is the real deal
Despite the up-and-down nature of New Britain’s season, the junior tailback has more than impressed in his first season as a varsity starter.
Robinson has proven he can do a little bit of everything, whether that is running with the football in between the tackles or on the outside as well as catching the football out of the backfield.
More of a shifty running back, Robinson is apt at finding holes and taking advantage of what the defense gives. Simply put, opponents have to game plan for him.
Prior to the Simsbury game, Robinson had 524 rushing yards and five touchdowns, including a 31-carry, 214-yard performance against Hall.
Whether Robinson is able to stay on this pace remains to be seen, especially with some of the opponents the Hurricanes have left on the schedule, but he brings an extra dimension to an offense that has at times looked dynamic and other times struggled.
And with another season still to go, Robinson only figures to get better. A scary proposition for opponents.
3. The defense is not quite there yet
As previously mentioned, New Britain’s defense is still a work in progress and the unit has at various points in the first half of the season drawn out the frustration of head coach Tebucky Jones.
At this point in the season, the defense has given up a total of 110 points, an average of 22 a game. It took until Week 4 against Hall for the Hurricanes to surrender less than 30 points, when it gave up 22.
Discipline, or lack thereof, has been the main culprit. One of Jones’ biggest ires is his players doing something right in practice and not executing once they get to game nights, with New Britain failing to fill the right gap or dropping back to the right zone.
The results have been big plays that have often led to touchdowns and end up putting extra pressure on the offense to produce.
The Hurricanes have been better in the last two weeks. Following the 22 points given up to Hall, they gave up 17 to Simsbury. The defense now has to do it week in and week out.
4. This season is playing out like the last two
Coming into the year, New Britain wanted to break its two-year trend of five-win seasons and in the end, get back into the playoffs. So far, it has not gone according to plan.
With the Hurricanes sitting at 2-3, they can only afford to lose one more game to produce a winning season. And that might be a tough task.
New Britain opens and closes the second half of its schedule at No. 2 Southington (5-0) and against No. 18 Berlin (5-0) in the Wishbone Bowl.
Both will be difficult games. The Hurricanes haven’t beaten the Blue Knights since 2008 and have lost the last two meetings against the Redcoats. Those two games will most likely make or break New Britain’s season.
Southington will be the most challenging, while Berlin could be a tossup.
While the Redcoats are undefeated, they have played an easy schedule at this point.
In between those two games, the Hurricanes will host Glastonbury (2-3) and then will be on the road at East Hartford (4-1) and at Enfield (1-4).
All three of those games are winnable.
It will just be a matter of if New Britain will be the up-and-down team it has been in the first half of the season.
David Glovach can be reached at (860) 801-5085 or email@example.com On Twitter: @DavidGlovach