After a miserable 0-10 season last year, there was universal agreement before the season that the first goal for the Plainville football team this year would be to win a game.
That goal was accomplished in a Week 2 victory over Bulkeley/HMTCA/Weaver.
Yet that was hardly the only goal for the Blue Devils this season, and they have struggled to take that important next step toward becoming a competitive team week in and week out.
Plainville sits a 1-4 at the halfway mark of the season as it and the rest of the CCC have a bye week with no games to play this weekend, yet the Blue Devils will still be working hard toward taking some more steps forward in the second half of the season.
Here’s four things we’ve learned about this year’s Plainville High football squad so far:
1. The Blue Devils are better than last year
It’s not just the one victory over the Hartford co-op that has demonstrated Plainville’s improvement. The Blue Devils have also scored 60 points this season. That may not seem like a lot, but it’s three more than they scored all of last year.
Also, by the midseason bear last year, the Blue Devils had allowed 199 points (on their way to allowing 410 for the season). This season, they’ve given up 153 - still not good, but a noticeable improvement.
But, of course, the importance of that victory over Bulkeley/HMTCA/Weaver can’t be overstated. It snapped a 14-game losing streak and gave some hard-working players a taste of victory, some for the first time.
2. Plainville’s quarterback of the future is already here
Junior quarterback Frank Griffin has been solid to exceptional all season, even in the team’s losses. But he really showed his stuff in the victory over Bulkeley/HMTCA/Weaver, passing for 220 yards and rushing for 53 more, including two rushing touchdowns.
With a full year’s experience behind him after taking over the starting job as a sophomore, Griffin has proven to be a confident leader under center. And he should only get even better by next season, when he’ll be a well-seasoned senior surrounded by other experienced veterans.
Whatever Griffin and the Blue Devils accomplish this year should only be setting the table for a much more successful 2018 season.
3. The offense sputters in the red zone
In its most recent game, against undefeated Berlin, Griffin connected with Jailen Lindey on a 42-yard pass into Berlin territory on its opening possession, but couldn’t take advantage.
In a blowout 37-0 loss to Northwest Catholic the previous week - a game that was scoreless at halftime - four first half trips into the red zone for the Blue Devils did not result in any points. It was a similar story the previous week against Rocky Hill.
For a team whose defense is giving up an average of more than 30 points per game, opportunities like that cannot be squandered. The Blue Devils have shown they have an offense that can move the ball, but they need to be able to translate that into points on the scoreboard.
4. Plainville should win another game or more in the second half
While no one would mistake the Bulkeley/HMTCA/Weaver co-op as a quality opponent, that team does own a win over East Catholic this season - one of the final five teams Plainville has remaining on its schedule.
The week after Plainville beat Bulkeley/HMTCA/Weaver 27-14, that Hartford team defeated East Catholic 28-22.
East Catholic (0-5) has been outscored 198-30 this season. Last weekend, it lost 56-0 to Bloomfield, a team that Plainville had been leading in the fourth quarter of its season opener at Tinty Field before suffering a narrow 18-13 defeat.
The Blue Devils host the Eagles on Oct. 27.
Plainville will also face winless Farmington (0-5) in its season finale, while its other three opponents - RHAM (3-2), Tolland (3-2) and Avon (2-3) - are all teams that the Blue Devils should be able to stand a chance against if they’re playing to their full potential.
Paul Angilly can be reached at 860-973-1800 or firstname.lastname@example.org