SOUTHINGTON - If Southington head football coach Mike Drury had his way, the Blue Knights would be playing tough opponents in every game.
At least on paper, that is what the Southington’s Week 1 opponent in Glastonbury provides.
“We’re excited about playing them,” Drury said. “They’re a good team and you always want to play quality opponents every single week.”
On the field tonight, however, it might be a little bit of a different story. The Tomahawks did not provide much of a challenge for the Blue Knights a season ago, a game in which Southington won 35-0. The year before in 2015, the Blue Knights won 61-41.
But Glastonbury does come in with some momentum from the previous season. After being blown out by Southington, the Tomahawks finished out 2016 by winning five of their last six games to finish 6-3. That’s part of the reason why, as they do week in and week out, the Blue Knights are treating every opponent as though they are getting ready for a playoff game.
“We are so pumped as a team [to get started],” said senior Will Barmore, who is entering his second season as the team’s starting quarterback. “We’re just really dialed in and we know what’s on the line here. Glastonbury, new turf, Week 1, it’s going to be fun.”
A team on the younger side a year ago, the Tomahawks return almost all of their playmakers. Drew Daniels, the head coach’s son, returns for his second year under center, while the Blue Knights will also have to keep an eye on running backs Julice Same and Matthew Tenney, along with a trio of receivers in Carson Mascheck, Garrett Frick and Ryan Milinari.
Drury, though, is excited to see his defense play in a meaningful game after looking stout throughout training camp and the preseason. Linebacker Ryan Montalvo is returning from a torn ACL that cost him the final seven games last year.
“Their quarterback makes good decisions and he can run,” Drury said. “They have some playmakers at the skill positions that we have to account for. We have to make sure we have 11 guys running to the football. We have to make sure we’re in a good position to defend the run and then we have to be in good position to not allow any big pass plays on us. Everything is gonna have to be crisp Friday night.”
Offensively, the Blue Knights will have to contend with a Glastonbury defense that likes to bring pressure, which will be an important test for an offensive line breaking in three new starters as well as first-time starter Brandon Kohl at tailback. He will be replacing the school’s all-time leading rusher in Vance Upham.
“They’re a really good man-to-man team and that’s always tough in Week 1 for a quarterback, an offensive line,” Barmore said. “They have a good defense. They’re really well coached and they bring the house. They have a really good D-Line. They use their hands really well. They’re smart too. They throw O-linemen round and attack the gaps. Their safety is their running back too and he’s really quick, he makes plays on the ball.”
But Southington is confident as the matchup draws nearer. The team just has to play what the Blue Knights like to call their brand of football. After all, Drury has been talking about it all week in practice.
“Big key for us is executing,” Barmore said. “I know it sounds cliché, but our coaches have a perfect game plan every week. We just have to get our jobs done.”
David Glovach can be reached at (860) 801-5085 or email@example.com
On Twitter: @DavidGlovach