Looking to turn things around coming off a winless season last year, the Plainville High football team faces a monumental task in its opening game tonight - trying to find a way to defeat an always-tough Bloomfield squad.
The Warhawks will also be entering the game hungry for a victory, after having a 23-game winning streak snapped as they were upset by Cromwell/Portland in last year’s Class S state quarterfinal round. They had entered the playoffs 10-0 after winning the state title in 2015.
“[Bloomfield coach Ty Outlaw] does a great job up there,” Plainville head coach Tim Shea said.
The Blue Devils are itching for their first victory since 2015 and are looking at the Bloomfield contest as their first chance to show what they can do.
“It’s not going to be easy, but we’re going to try to fight and hopefully walk out of there with a win,” senior Cody Marquis said.
Many of Bloomfield’s top players from the past couple of years have graduated, but some key players are still in place and the Warhawks rarely have an off year. A CCC Division III West team like Plainville, Bloomfield did stumble to a 5-6 record as recently as 2014, but was 9-2 the year before and other than that one year, has won at least seven games every season since 2010.
“It’s Bloomfield,” Shea noted. “They’ll have tremendous skill, they’ll have big, physical linemen.”
Those big, physical linemen will be matching up against the smaller, inexperienced linemen for Plainville. Yet Shea believes his players can match up.
“We are pretty strong. We did work hard in the weight room,” he said. “Size is, a lot of it is just a mind-set. If these kids play hard football, hard-nosed football, and they’re technically sound, they’ll be OK.”
The Blue Devils also have focus.
“Right now, I’m just concentrating on week one, and whoever we got that week,” senior Nick Cianchetti said last week. “We’re going to be a lot more improved from last year.”
“We’ve been working hard in the off-season,” junior Brady Callahan added. “We’re not looking back on the past, just moving forward all the time.”
Teamwork will be a key factor in Plainville’s ability to succeed, he added.
“Don’t get down on each other. It’s a full team effort, everyone’s got to contribute,” Callahan said. “Just stick together and play as a team.”
One thing Plainville and Bloomfield may have in common this year is some youth. The Blue Devils have many players in new positions - some playing positions they’ve never played before, Shea noted.
“We’re trying to put the best 11 on the field for every phase,” he said; but added, “We’re not going to use that as an excuse. There’s plenty of other young teams out there.”
One advantage Plainville has is that it’s a home game. Shea said athletic director Chris Farrell is pushing to make the Tinty Field facility a place that will favor the home team.
“Our goal is ultimately … we’re trying to build a home field advantage, knowing that if you come here, this is what you’re going to get,” Shea said.
“[Farrell has] been tremendously helpful with everything we need here,” he added.
Win or lose, the Blue Devils will be ready to play.
“We’re going to give them everything we’ve got,” Shea said. “We’ll prepare. Coaches are ready. They’ve been looking at how they want to do some things against [Bloomfield] and we’re going to come out Friday night and play football.”
Paul Angilly can be reached at 860-973-1800 or firstname.lastname@example.org