BURLINGTON – Plainville head coach Tim Shea said the team has work to do after a 25-14 opening night loss to Lewis Mills on the road Thursday night, but they may have a little more on their plate this week after having to replace one of their most important players.
Plainville took the first possession of the game, but it didn’t take long before things began to go sideways for the Blue Devils. On just the second play from scrimmage, Plainville captain and starting quarterback MJ Bakaysa went down with a collarbone injury that will keep him sidelined for quite a while, according to Shea.
Sophomore Dom Abarno stepped in for the captain at quarterback for the rest of the night.
Following a punt on the opening drive from Plainville, Lewis Mills took over just outside the red zone. The Spartans worked quickly to an eventual seven-yard touchdown rush to take the lead.
Plainville answered right back on the ensuing kickoff. Junior wide receiver and defensive back Joe Vasquez ran the kick all the way back for a touchdown to knot things up at 7-7. Vasquez was an All-CCC member last fall and he continued to justify the honor on opening night.
The Spartans saw Vasquez’s kick return and returned the favor on the very next play. Jack Stanislaw took the next kickoff 89 yards to the house. After taking the lead back up to six, Plainville made sure it stayed there for the time being. Senior Blue Devil Jaylen Thigpen broke through on the extra point for the block to keep the score at 13-7.
Lewis Mills gave themselves a chance at redemption and continued to make kickoffs the most exciting plays of an action-packed first quarter. The Spartans recovered their own onside kick after the failed extra point and took over around midfield and a chance to extend the lead.
Just two plays later Lewis Mills found their running back, James Roben, deep for their third score of the night midway through the first quarter.
The Spartans tried to gain the point back they missed out on less than 30 seconds prior but couldn’t convert the two-point try. Lewis Mills sat with a 19-7 lead.
Plainville punted from midfield on the ensuing drive but a muffed recovery by the Spartans allowed the Blue Devils’ special teams to shine once again, recovering their own punt at the 11 yard-line.
The Blue Devils stalled in the red zone after a long sack and a sequence of incomplete passes. The clock ran out on the first quarter as Plainville turned the ball over on downs.
Lewis Mills took over with a fresh 12 minutes on the clock and backed up in their own end of the field. The Spartans methodically marched downfield before a big fourth down conversion to the same 11 yard-line Plainville had faltered at just moments earlier. They ate up more than six minutes of game time before Noah Moriarty punched in a six-yard rush for the score.
The Spartans once again tried to win some points back by attempting a two-point conversion. Plainville snuffed out the try and kept the deficit at 25-7 which was taken into halftime.
Shea said the team let things get away from them early in the contest, but things will get better with time.
The third quarter didn’t see the same amount of action as the first half, but Plainville’s Vasquez came away with another big play in what was a quiet night for much of his team. The two-way perimeter standout picked off Lewis Mills’ Larry Weaver in the opening drive of the third quarter.
The score was frozen for most of the second half until Plainville finally found the end zone with 25 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter after being stuffed inside the five yard-line on consecutive plays.
The extra point made the score 25-14 which stood as the final after a failed onside kick by the Blue Devils
“In the second half we made some adjustments. We did some things a little better, but it wasn’t enough,” Shea said.
Plainville now looks ahead to Bloomfield in the first game in a stretch their head coach called a “bear.” It’s not until Week 4 the Blue Devils get a home game against Platt – not to mention a trip to New Fairfield in Week 3.
“We’ve got to turn it around real quick,” Shea said. “We’ve got to work and figure some stuff out.”