NEW BRITAIN - The New Britain football team would like nothing more than to enter its bye week with a win.
It’ll just be which Hurricanes team shows up.
New Britain has had a rather up-and-down first four weeks of the season - inconsistent one week and good the next - resulting in a 2-2 record. The Hurricanes would like nothing more than to shift that narrative tonight when it travels to Simsbury.
“We have to into every game like it’s the start of the season because when we start winning, it gets to people’s heads, they’re not level headed,” Hurricanes tailback and linebacker Muhammed Codjoe said. “We have to stay level headed going forward.”
And by all accounts, this should be the game that offers New Britain a chance to break the trend that has plagued them throughout the season. The Trojans are just 1-3, having lost their last three games to Southington, East Hartford and South Windsor by a combined score of 107-65. Their one win was a 42-7 victory over Hall, a team the Hurricanes beat by 22 points last week.
But as much as New Britain’s offense will have a chance to put up plenty of points, it will once again come down to the play of the defense.
Despite giving up its fewest amount of points through the first four weeks last Thursday against Hall, head coach Tebucky Jones was far from pleased. Simple mistakes and breakdowns led to 21 points for the Warriors.
“We just have to keep working on getting in the right spot and being in the right place, not getting sucked up into trick plays when you’re supposed to be deep, all that kind of stuff,” Jones said.
The Trojans have proven capable of running and throwing the ball effectively at times this season and average 26.8 points per game. Jackson Masters leads the team at quarterback, while receiver Ralph Gilliard remains the primary target on the outside with Jackson Butler as the No. 2 wideout. Mark Bedson and Rafael Nieves are Simsbury’s top two running backs.
Overall, the Hurricanes expect to see some roll outs and plenty of screens directed at both the backs and the receivers.
“Big quarterback, strong arm, a lot of different route combinations so we have our work cut out for us,” Jones said. “You’ll see some deep corner routes. They’ll try to get you caught up in formations. They like to change it up a lot. They like to keep the defense moving.”
Offensively for New Britain, it could come down to how effectively it runs the ball to take some pressure off quarterback Jahfari Newman. Against Hall, the Hurricanes rushed the ball 60 times for 378 yards. Codjoe had 107, Shawn Robinson had 214.
Simsbury likes to run everything from man coverage, to quarters, to cover two and like to blitz when opposing offenses are situated on the short side of the field, meaning the offensive line will need to continue to produce.
“They like to blitz a lot more than other teams than we’re used to,” Codjoe said. “That means as running backs we’re going to have to find the holes, which should be a good challenge for us.”
New Britain will find out if it’s up to that challenge tonight.
David Glovach can be reached at (860) 801-5085 or firstname.lastname@example.org
On Twitter: @DavidGlovach