The Plainville High football team was happy to take a victory last weekend. But the Blue Devils were not happy about not playing after an internal incident at Rocky Hill resulted in a forfeited game.
“You’d like to think they were OK with it, but they are kids, and a few of them have told me … ‘We’re fired up this week, because we lost a chance to play, so we want to make the most of our opportunities,’” Plainville coach Tim Shea said.
Especially for the seniors, the players relish every chance they can get to play under the lights on Friday night - or in the Saturday afternoon sun, as will be the case today at Avon - and they know there’s not many games left to go.
“They want to make more out of the few games we have left,” Shea said.
The good news for Plainville is that the playoff points it earned from the forfeit victory have helped close the gap in the Class S state tournament race. The Blue Devils are currently ranked No. 9 with 640 points, just 20 points behind Waterbury Career Academy, which currently holds the eighth position - with the top eight teams qualifying for state tournament play.
“We can only control what we do,” Shea said. “It’s just win every week, one week at a time, and whatever happens after that happens after that.”
This week, Plainville faces an Avon team (1:30 p.m. at Avon High School) that has been trending in a positive direction despite its 1-6 record. After three blowout losses to start the season, the Falcons have played close games against Lewis Mills (a 26-7 loss) and Northwest Catholic (a 20-17 loss) and defeated the Bulkeley co-op 49-0. Last week, Avon lost 41-7 to a powerful Berlin team.
“Avon is better than what their record shows,” Shea said. “We’ve been in that boat before. We take nothing for granted.”
The Falcons, he said, have a varied offense that includes some single-wing formations, some spread formations and some power formations.
“(The Blue Devils’ defense has) got a lot to prepare for,” Shea said. “We’ve got to be on. We can’t allow any silly mistakes (like) turnovers and penalties. We need to be ready to go when we get off the bus.”
A win tonight would equal the Blue Devils’ total from last year and assure the team of finishing with a winning record, along with keeping Plainville in the thick of the tournament hunt.
“We have a chance this week to equal our win total from last year, and that’s a goal of ours,” Shea said. “That’s the most important thing. We want to win, to show that we’re improving.”
The Blue Devils will close out the season with a pair of home games: against Lewis Mills (5-2 entering play Friday night) next week and Farmington (3-4) on Thanksgiving Day. Neither game is a sure thing, but both are potentially winnable.
“We’ve got to take care of the opponent in front of us, and that’s all we’re focusing on,” Shea said.
Paul Angilly can be reached at 860-973-1800, or firstname.lastname@example.org