NEW BRITAIN - As the New Britain football team trickled off the field Friday night, the players broke out in chorus.
“All gas, no breaks,” the Hurricanes sang out in unison after their 30-7 win over Simsbury to move to 4-0 for their best start since 2008.
In a season that has been about gaining respect and returning a program that was once at the top of the Connecticut high school football landscape to those lofty heights again, the phrase has become New Britain’s motto. Take it to opponents early, with no intention of easing up.
But through the first four weeks of the season and all the talk of “all gas, no breaks,” there has been a subtler motto the Hurricanes have been using. And while they aren’t saying it out loud, opponents are becoming all too familiar with it: “pick your poison.”
“We have so many weapons,” quarterback Tahje Yopp said.
There are a lot.
Run down the list and there’s Shawn Robinson, Kaiyon Gunn and Tyrik Hetmyer at running back, Yopp at quarterback; and even receivers Chris Moldando and Dashawn Clark - on a team that has only thrown the ball just 42 times this year- have made plays.
Over the first four weeks, New Britain has had three different players finish as the team’s top rusher. If opponents key in on Robinson, which happens quite a bit, there’s Gunn. Should teams focus in on Gunn, Yopp is more than capable of gashing defenses both up the middle and on the outside.
“It’s the next guy up,” Gunn said. “We have some special players.”
It happened Friday. With Robinson being held out for much of the game with a shoulder injury, most of the carries went to Gunn and Yopp. The senior tailback carried the ball 19 times for 168 yards and a touchdown, while the signal caller ran 12 times for 102 yards and three touchdowns.
On the season, all three have run for more than 330 yards and at least four touchdowns. Gunn currently leads the Hurricanes with 483 rushing yards and has eight total touchdowns. Robinson has rushed for 350 yards and has five total scores, while Yopp has collected 336 yards and five touchdowns of his own on the ground.
Hetmyer has scored twice, with Mondaldo scoring once as well.
“Shawn and Gunn go both ways, so when we need to give them a break, we have Tyrik,” New Britain head coach Tebucky Jones said. “[Against South Windsor], we put our other quarterback in and put Yopp in as a runner and he’s a great runner too. We just try to keep them as fresh as possible. It’s great. I can’t complain about that.”
So far, there hasn’t been much to complain about for Jones or his team.
The win against the Trojans marked the fourth time this season the Hurricanes have scored 30 or more points, with Friday their lowest output of the season. Last year, New Britain put up 30 or more points five times, and only managed to do that in back-to-back weeks once at the end of the season against Enfield and Berlin.
It was also the second time in three weeks the Hurricanes had rushed for more than 300 yards and they have now racked up 1,547 yards of total offense on the season.
“Last year, the most points we put up was 62 against Manchester,” Yopp said. “This year, we’re scoring 30 a game and it shows how talented we are. We’re not just having one or two people touching the ball. We have so many guys we can rely on.”
New Britain will need to rely on those players, especially with the schedule about to get more difficult beginning with No. 10 Southington (4-0) this Friday. The Blue Knights have won 11 of the past 12 meetings between the two schools, but the Hurricanes have no intention of seeing their win streak come to an end.
After all, who are opponents going to stop?
“There’s athletes all over the field who can make plays at any given second,” Robinson said. “Whatever you need, they got. It doesn’t matter who.”
David Glovach can be reached at (860) 801-5085 or firstname.lastname@example.org