After playing a fairly tough schedule in the first half of the season, the Plainville High football team begins the second half by hosting RHAM on Friday night at Tinty Stadium.
Like many of the Blue Devils’ second-half foes, the Sachems pose a challenge, but possibly not an insurmountable one.
“RHAM’s a pretty good team,” Plainville head coach Tim Shea said.
The Sachems are led by first-year head coach Robert Rubin, whom Shea remembers from Rubin’s previous days leading Prince Tech.
“He’s a very good coach, and he’s got them believing,” Shea said.
RHAM is led by junior quarterback Callum Redman, who is far more likely to run the ball than pass. He is the team’s leading rusher, but the Sachems have many more running threats, such as Seamus Queen, Evan Rodegher, Dylan Depersia and Brendan Burke.
“They come off the ball fast on D, and they like to run the ball,” Shea noted.
At 3-2 for the season, RHAM has beaten Northwest Catholic (30-20), Avon (26-13) and Bulkeley/HMTCA/Weaver (40-14), while losing to Tolland (10-6) and Berlin (21-14).
Looking at common opponents in comparison, Plainville also defeated Bulkeley/HMTCA/Weaver, but by a more modest 27-14 score, while losing to Northwest Catholic (37-0) and Berlin (42-14).
“RHAM’s a tough team,” Plainville junior quarterback Frank Griffin said. “They played us tough last year and they’ve been playing everybody tough. But it seems like it will be a good matchup.”
During the bye week, the Blue Devils focused on re-establishing the fundamentals for a few days before moving back into their regular weekly practice routine this week.
“We feel good,” Griffin said. “We’ve been beating ourselves up on both sides of the field, but it’s the second half of the season, so it’s looking like we’re fixing up our mistakes and we look good.”
The bye week probably helped, he said.
“I think it refreshed a lot of us, just to get our minds right. We’ve got to focus,” Griffin said.
“We had a tough schedule. We played a lot of tough teams in the first half of the season, and now we’ve got a bunch of good matchups [in the second half], really. All five of these games are really good matchups for us.”
He added, “We’re looking good, so it’s going to be exciting.”
While RHAM may look somewhat better on paper, the home field advantage is one that Plainville relishes, so that should be a factor.
“It’s always nice to play at home. It’s always nice to get some home cooking, as we say,” Shea said. “You got to want to play better in front of your own people … play off the crowd’s energy. We’re looking forward to doing that again this week.”
With a 1-4 record entering the second half of the season, a playoff berth is realistically out of reach for Plainville, but the team still has goals it’s looking to meet.
“We want to get better every day, we want to get better every week and we want to win some games,” Shea said.
Paul Angilly can be reached at 860-973-1800, or firstname.lastname@example.org