New Britain football aiming to keep momentum going following first win

Published on Thursday, 21 October 2021 21:31
Written by RYAN AMES


The New Britain football team returns to the gridiron this week with a showdown against Middletown kicking off the Hurricanes' second-half slate.

A 35-14 win over Manchester served as New Britain's first of the season on Oct. 8. After last week's bye, the Hurricanes will look to pick up where they left off when they host the Blue Dragons at Veterans Memorial Stadium on Friday at 6:30 p.m.

“Winning this game is the only way to get [the momentum] back,” New Britain coach Isaiah Boddie said. “You kind of ride the momentum in practice also. When you win you feel a little different because you have a different taste in your mouth when you win. Practice-wise the kids have a little bit more pep in their step.”

In the victory over the Red Hawks, senior Anthony Calvelli stepped up with two touchdowns at critical points in the contest, but freshman quarterback Donovan Campbell played arguably his best game to date.

The Hurricanes slinger threw two touchdowns for 126 yards and was clean with the ball all game. New Britain's No. 12 has progressed well through the first half of his varsity career.

“He's a natural leader,” Boddie said. “He has a natural savviness about him. Coming from the last time he played football was the Pop Warner level, usually after Pop Warner, you then play freshman football but he's just jumped straight up to varsity.”

The victory at Manchester also counted as a birthday present for Campbell as the Hurricanes QB turned 14 years old the same day.

While New Britain's offense relies on Diego Ortiz and its running game quite often, Campbell's ever-growing confidence under-center will only make the Hurricanes better. Campbell hasn't thrown an interception since committing two during the first two games.

“We're so young, he's not used to the speed of the game, the size of the kids, the strength of the kids, so each week, not only him but the team, is getting better and better and getting used to playing football at this level, practicing at this level. That's huge for Donovan and we're excited to have him.”

Similar to its last matchup, New Britain will welcome a squad searching for answers as Middletown has started the season 0-5. Its closest loss was against West Haven (20-16) on Sept. 24, while its next most competitive game was a 56-34 defeat to Newington a week later.

The Blue Dragons have a solid quarterback in Colin Skene who has thrown for 689 yards and four touchdowns as well as a couple capable receivers in Chase Petgrave and Matt Steuetwald, who have combined for 35 receptions and 469 yards, but its defense appears to be a work in progress as it has allowed 194 points through five games.

New Britain won't be taking any team lightly, however, as it searches for its first home win of the year.

“They're just like us, we're very similar,” Boddie said of the Blue Dragons. “Both teams hungry for a win. They're very similar to our program. I know the coach over there and he's done a great job keeping their heads right and they have some really good athletes over there so we're excited.”

The last time the Hurricanes won at Veterans was nearly two years ago when they beat Glastonbury 36-20 on Oct. 25, 2019.

“Everybody wants to win at home,” Boddie said. “Home field, home turf, it's your domain. We want to win for the city of New Britain, we want to win for our families, we want to put on a good show in front of our hometown. It's very important to us.” Ryan Ames can be reached at 860-801-5094 or on Twitter @_RyanAmes.

Posted in New Britain Herald, New Britain on Thursday, 21 October 2021 21:31. Updated: Thursday, 21 October 2021 21:33.