By KEN MORSE
The Plainville football team ended the first half of the season last Friday at Tinty Stadium leaving Alumni Field with a less than desirable 42-14 loss to Berlin. Cody Marquis hauled in a 43-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Frank Griffin and Brady Callahan scored on a four-yard run for the 1-4 Blue Devils.
Larry St. Pierre scored the games first touchdown returning a punt 95 yards for the Red Coats to get it started and Alex Halkias (104 yards rushing, 3 TD’s) made sure of the outcome scoring on a 44 yard scamper right before the half to open up a 28-7 advantage.
Giving up the big plays has been something that has hampered the Blue Devils this season and it’s one of the things that head coach Tim Shea wants to focus on during the team’s bye week next week.
“The last three weeks have been tough,” said Shea. “We did face two undefeated teams in Rocky Hill and Berlin. The Northwest Catholic game was a scoreless tie at the half and they are a lot better than their record shows.”
“We prepare every week to win regardless of who we are playing or what their record is. We need to do our part. We need to find some consistency on offense moving the ball.”
The bye week comes at a perfect time giving the Blue Devils a chance to reflect on where they are and where they need to go in the upcoming weeks. Plainville has five games left on the schedule with a realistic possibility that all five could end up in the win column. Success won’t come easy as the team will need to continue to work hard and it all starts at the line of scrimmage.
“It seems like the last couple of weeks we have been playing against ourselves and not against our opponents,” said senior lineman and captain Nick Cianchetti. “We play real good for a stretch and then we end up shooting ourselves in the foot.”
“That is definitely something we need to put our focus on during the bye week. Because the mistakes we are making they are all correctable. Defensively, we need to get back to gang tackling and key on stopping the run.”
Plainville experiences the typical growing pains up front trying to fit in the new guys with the other linemen Mike McGinley and Alec Karal along with seniors Jerimiah Miller and Justin Ciotto.
“At the line of scrimmage we are a work in progress,” said Shea. “We had to replace five starters and three of the five replacements weren’t linemen last season. Nick Cianchetti and Sam Lestini were tight ends and Jason Mills was a running back.”
Junior quarterback Frank Griffin is 65-129 passing for 769 and three touchdowns. Junior running back Brady Callahan has rushed 28 times for 149 yards and two touchdowns while hauling in 19 catches for 210 yards and one touchdown.
“Brady is a tremendous competitor who can run and catch the ball,” said coach Shea. “Griffin is getting better each week and gaining more confidence. He threw five interceptions the first two games and only two over the last three. Sometimes you need to try and get it in there when you need to make a play and he shows the courage to do that.”
“We have been able to get into the red zone but we are not coming away with any points. Against Northwest we were in the red zone four times in the first half and couldn’t score. When you get down in there you need to come away with something it’s as simple as that.”
“We give up a sack, get called for a penalty or just not making plays. We need to find that consistency that got us down there in the first place. You can’t keep leaving your defense out on the field because sooner or later something is going to break.”
Marquis is one of the playmakers on offense pulling in 13 catches for 186 yards and two touchdowns. Senior Ben Root has 14 catches for 163 yards and freshman Christian Collin has added 15 catches for 166 yards.
“During this week, we just need to stay together as a unit and continue to believe in ourselves and each other,” said Plainville senior receiver and captain Cody Marquis. “The last few weeks have been tough. We know we are a better football team than what we’ve showed, it comes down to fixing the mistakes that has allowed big plays.”
“It’s not even down to one game at a time, concluded coach Shea. “It’s one play at a time, one drive, one series, one quarter. We have had little successes now it’s just a matter of stringing them together and gain some consistency. It will come and that’s what we are working hard towards.”
“The journey is taking a little longer than I was hoping it would. But if this is the hardest thing they ever have to face in life these kids are going to be fine.”
Plainville will begin the second half of the season at home against RHAM on Friday, Oct 20.