NEWINGTON - A 34-yard passing touchdown with 31.8 seconds left in the game made all the difference last season for the Newington football team during its Week 2 matchup against Farmington.
Newington walked away with a 26-20 victory that night and is expecting a close game once again.
“I feel like they’re coming in looking to beat us,” Newington linebacker Zach Demarco said. “They’re looking for revenge because we beat them last year. They’re going to come in with a lot of energy and they’ve been working as hard as we have. It’s going to be a bunch of dogs fighting.”
Newington (1-0) will host Farmington (0-1) tonight at 6:30 p.m. in its second straight home game to start the year.
“We heard what [the Farmington players] were saying about us,” Newington tackle Teddy Fravel said. “And it hasn’t been particularly respectful, so tonight we’re really trying to shut them up.”
Looking at it on paper, the two teams are pretty evenly matched. Both teams lost a substantial number of starters from 2017 and began the season with new quarterbacks, running backs and wide receivers.
Farmington, however, did return plenty of players up front, including offensive linemen Nigel DeBrito and Casper Muter, and fullback Max Bartholomay. Aidan Sposato, who was an All-CCC selection as a safety last year, will be in the backfield as a running back with Jake Conrad at quarterback.
Conrad will be filling the shoes of his older brother, Zac, who started the last two seasons for Farmington and led the team with 14 passing touchdowns and six rushing touchdowns last year.
“They’re a tough scrappy group,” Newington head coach Jason Pace said. “They fought the entire game against Platt last Friday. That game was really a lot closer than the score showed (27-7). We know they’re going to be a quality football team. They play hard and I know they’re going to fight so this is really going to be a battle.”
It helps Newington was able to prepare a little better going into this week compared to its season opener against Amistad. The entire team was able to attend Farmington’s game against Platt so it knew what it was in for.
“It’s hard to tell if they’ve improved based off of one game,” Pace said. “Overall, they’re missing a couple key components from last year but most of their players returned, so you see a very similar identity. We know that defensively they’re very aggressive. We at least had something to go on.”
Newington will have its eyes on wide receiver Zihare Greaves all night long. Newington saw some of the things he was able to do on the field, including being able to score whenever he touches the ball.
“Zihare is a tremendous player,” Pace said. “He has the speed and the elusiveness. They give him the ball in different situations so we have to be aware of where he is on the field at all times.”
Fravel added, “Zihare is a playmaker we really have to lock down, but from what we know we’re pretty evenly matched. It’s going to be a tough game.”
Although Newington is still young, it is looking to come out with another win under its belt.
“This season we know we don’t have a lot of people that don’t believe in us because we’re a bunch of new guys,” Fravel said. “But we’re going to prove them wrong the best we can.”
Shelby Iava can be reached at (860) 801-5096 or firstname.lastname@example.org