By KEN MORSE
When training camp began two weeks ago expectations were high for the Plainville Blue Devils. Armed with 13 seniors on the roster and a couple of go to guys on offense Plainville was looking to pick up where they left off last season and continue the momentum.
The Blue Devils turned around a 1-4 start ripping off a four-game win streak— a marked improvement for a team that went 0-10 the season before. Plainville finished up the season with a 5-5 mark and has high hopes coming into this season.
Maybe they wouldn’t be a contender for a state playoff appearance but certainly a team that could finish above .500 for the first time in four years. Senior starting quarterback Frankie Griffin has proven himself to be a gamer last season, going 130-241 passing for 1,568 yards and 12 touchdown passes while rushing for 355 yards and eight touchdowns.
Senior running back Brady Callahan is an all-purpose back who can catch the ball out of the backfield and he gained 853 all-purpose yards last season scoring six touchdowns.
A week before the start of the season, the Blue Devils found out that Griffin will be out for a least a month with an illness (mono) and Plainville quickly shifted into the next man up mode.
“This is the senior class year,” said Griffin. “We have been playing together for awhile now and we are all looking forward to this season and I think it will be a great year.”
“It’s the next guy up really. It doesn’t change our perspective on the season at all. We saw our potential last year coming together to win four games in a row and we know we have talented guys on this team. It certainly is not about one player. These are tough guys and the coach knows what he’s doing, we will be alright.”
Callahan will be taking the snaps behind center and the three-sport athlete is up for the challenge. No one figured the season would be a cakewalk by any stretch of the imagination but to start like this will either make the team stronger through adversity or cause the wheels to come off the wagon.
“We have worked hard for situations like this and it’s just the next guy up,” said Callahan. “We just need to continue to work hard, show up and keep getting better every day.”
“The defense is definitely going to play a huge part of our success much like they did last year. If they come to play every day we will have a good chance to win games.”
That defense will look to senior Jason Mills who was a leader last season with 74 tackles. Seniors Alec Karal, Sam Lestini and Mike McGinley up front will apply the pressure
Head coach Tim Shea is of the first theory that the adversity will bring the team together. He believes there is a lot of talent on the team it’s just a matter of reps and getting everyone the experience that will gain some confidence.
“That’s football,” said Shea. “You have to prepare for these things. We have talked about having a plan ‘B’ for a few years and now we have to use it. Brady has gotten reps for three years in practice and now we will need to work him in there.”
“He’s a good athlete and it’s just a matter of time before it starts clicking. We need to move forward, we have a game to play next week, we don’t have time to dwell on it.”
“We had to replace three guys up front and the only ones back from last year on the line are Karal and Lestini. On defense we have to go out there and stop people. It’s a big thing we worked on being opportunistic and make things happen.”
Plainville also has seniors Dom Pedrolini (WR), Brendan Quilter (RB), Alex Hernandez (DB), Marcos Gutierrez (WR), Jared Riback (LB), Rob Politis (DL), and Kanyon Adams (OL).
The Blue Devils will host their first home game on Friday, Sept. 14 at Tinty Stadium taking on Bulkeley at 6:30 p.m.