NEWINGTON - The last time the Newington and Farmington football teams played one another, Gerald Ford has begun his tenure in the White House.
That was 1974. Now 43 years later, the two programs find themselves matched up once again in tonight’s game.
“For me it’s kind of exciting,” said Newington head coach Jason Pace, whose team is looking for its first 2-0 start since 2007. “Actually being able to experience this program, and these teams, it’s a great experience for me because now I’m seeing a whole new type of football. I know we’re bordering towns so you would think that we would’ve played recently”
Last season, Newington had the opportunity to test the waters with Farmington in a scrimmage, but a scrimmage is just that - a scrimmage.
“Farmington has tough kids, they’re big,” Newington quarterback Robert Sanchez said. “We started breaking down film early this week. They’re a typical team. We just have to go out play hard, play your best, win every single play, beat the guy in front of you and hopefully come out with a win.”
Like Newington, Farmington has seen its program take a similar trajectory. After struggling in recent years, it is trying to build its program back up.
Farmington hasn’t posted a winning season since 2013 - Newington, 2012 - when it went 9-3 and qualified for the Class L playoffs. In 2016, it won just three games. In Week 1 of this season, Farmington fell to Platt 42-7.
“The program has had success in the past and they’re trying to get back there,” Pace said. “We think it’s a quality football team. I don’t think the [Platt] score reflects how good the team actually is. For the first few drives, first quarter or so, they’re playing with Platt, they’re right in the game and then it kind of wares them down a little bit, then they have to play catch up, which they can’t do.”
But Newington also knows Farmington has playmakers on both sides of the ball, particularly wide receiver Zihare Greaves, outside linebacker/running back Max Bartholomay and quarterback Dante Colagiovanni.
“Their quarterback, he’s been impressive, he has a very strong arm,” Pace said. “I think he’s a dual threat so we have to make sure we contain that where we have guys that don’t fly too fast to the football. I want to make sure we are aware of where the quarterback is and make those adjustments because [Colagiovanni] can make the plays in both the run game and pass game.”
There were also some things Newington made sure to work on after its Week 1 win over Chicopee (MA), especially when it comes to making the right reads on offense and eliminating penalties.
“Personal fouls we just can’t do it,” senior running back Aveontae Frazier said. “That is the biggest take away. We had three and in a closer game it would have made a big difference.”
Shelby Iava can be reached at (860) 801-5096 or firstname.lastname@example.org