By KEN MORSE
The 1974 number one hit song “Taking Care of Business” Bachman-Turner Overdrive may be a bit outdated for this young group of football players, but that is exactly what the Plainville football team has been doing over the past three weeks.
Working overtime as the song suggests, is what the defense has been doing in the process allowing just five touchdowns (33 points) over a three game span turning around a 2-3 season into a 5-3 contender.
Along the journey, senior quarterback Frankie Griffin has been busy rewriting the record books and now has a place in Plainville football history as the single game rushing leader at 323 yards against East Catholic two weeks ago and last week in a 31-12 win over Tolland broke the career passing mark with 3,605 yards.
“It’s a great feeling to have set these records,” said Griffin. “It means the world to me to have accomplished something like this in my career. But I couldn’t have done any of this without the rest of the guys on this team.”
“My parents (Shawn and Lindsay) are so proud of me and to have my mom here for this game was just so special. Coach is always telling us just to go 1-0 this week and for the past three weeks we have been taking care of business.”
“Our two senior captains Brady (Callahan) and Jason (Mills) have been leading the defense and it has been taking a lot of pressure off our offense. We are just taking this one game at a time.”
Plainville spent a majority of the Tolland game moving the ball up and down the field. The Blue Devils picked up 19 first downs on 254 yards rushing and 190 yards passing with the defense coming up with two interceptions and a blocked field goal.
Griffin rushed for 111 yards and two touchdowns while going 17 of 27 passing and throwing a touchdown pass. Brendan Quilter ran for 113 yards and a touchdown with Callahan hauling in eight catches for 71 yards.
Dylan Hall had five catches for 56 yards with Dom Chambrello pulled in two catches for 37 yards and Christian Collin two rushes for 20 yards and two catches for 28 yards to pace the attack.
Xavier Pastor and Callahan made interceptions with Collin blocking a field goal to help the defense stay in lock down mode forcing four punts and causing the Eagles to lose the ball on downs twice.
“When the defense is getting the job done it makes things a lot easier on the offense,” said Plainville head coach Tim Shea. “They work hard in practice and it’s showing. We are playing really well these past few weeks.”
Tolland was stopped for minus yards on back-to-back plays forcing a punt and it took Plainville just five plays to get on the board. A 12-yard pass to Callahan got it going and a 24 yard over the shoulder grab by Hall got the ball deep in Eagles territory.
Collin blasted his way ahead for a 12-yard run to set up a first and goal before Griffin pounded his way into the end zone at 6:34 left in the opening quarter. Mason Sarra (4-4 extra points) split the uprights to open up a 7-0 lead.
After the defense forced a three and out, Griffin lofted a 36 yard touchdown strike to Chambrello to up the margin 14-0 at the 4:18 mark. With 7:20 left in the first half Quilter took a handoff straight up the gut for a 58 yard jaunt for a touchdown, which pushed the advantage to 21-0.
Griffin entered the game needing 127 passing yards to get past R.J. Anderson who held the career passing mark of 3,544 yards set in 1996. The Blue Devils were knocking on the door again late in the first half when Griffin fired a nine-yard pass over the middle to Callahan that set the new record.
Moments later Griffin barreled in from two yards out for his second rushing touchdown upping the advantage to 28-0. Tolland did manage to get on the board on an eight yard touchdown pass from Aidan Clark to Ali Diaby with just four seconds on the clock.
Tolland did manage to come away with three interceptions but it did little to spark their offense, it only served to keep the Eagles within striking distance. Tolland closed the gap at 28-12 when Diaby hit Ryan Carlson with a 20 yard touchdown pass at the end of the third quarter.
The Blue Devils put their final points on the board with seven minutes to go as Sarra drilled a 34 yard field goal through the uprights for the 31-12 margin.
“We still need to finish out games,” said Shea. “Penalties (7 for minus 80 yards) are another thing we need to fix. We still have some things to work on. But the goal every week from here on out is to go 1-0.”
“We have done that the last three weeks and now we focus on Avon. We can’t look ahead and we can’t look back. We can only focus on what’s in front of us and that is Avon our next game.”
The Blue Devils will celebrate senior night this Friday at 6:30 p.m. at Tinty Stadium taking on the Falcons of Avon. Plainville is 5-3 in the CCC Division III and 3-1 in the Div III West Region and ranked 16th in Class M.