By KEN MORSE
The Plainville Blue Devils took the field at Tiny Stadium last Friday looking to become the first team in 15 years to start the season at 4-0. The road couldn’t get any steeper, as their opponent Bloomfield looked every bit the defending Class S state champion in a 47-0 loss.
“They are fast,” said Plainville head coach Tim Shea. “But that’s Bloomfield. Defensively we were there for the initial contact but we didn’t finish our tackles and allowed them more yardage. We stopped them on first and second down but couldn’t get them off the field on third down.”
Shea said that there are some things to fix before the team takes that next step forward. “We will watch the film, take our medicine and go back to work,” said the coach. “We have a bye week coming up and we can work on cleaning some things up.”
The Warhawks, ranked seventh in the state, came in with a perfect 3-0 mark having outscored the opposition by a wide 149-6 margin. Bloomfield went to work and took over 11 minutes off the clock in their first two drives that went for 13 plays each, converting five out of six third down opportunities, resulting in two touchdown passes.
The first one, a fourth down two yard pass deep in the back corner of the end zone from Daren Bryden to Anthony Simpson. Following a short six play drive that resulted in a punt by Plainville, Bryden was on the mark again hitting Simpson on a 9 yard scoring strike to build a 14-0 lead with ten minutes left in the second quarter.
The Blue Devils almost got back in it when Christian Collin ran a miss direction play and caught Bloomfield out of position, hitting Esteban Torres with a 32 yard pass. Fighting for extra yards Torres was stripped of the ball and Bloomfield was back in business at their own 26 yard line.
It took just two plays for Bryden to light it up again. This one was picture perfect, lofting a pass down the sidelines that hit Jayvon Massey over his shoulder on the numbers with Collin draped all over him, for a back breaking 74 yard touchdown and a 21-0 lead.
That pretty much set the tone for the remainder of the game as Bryden went on to break the Bloomfield school record for career touchdowns lofting six scoring passes on 20 of 27 passing for 361 yards.
Simpson hauled in 9 passes for 144 yards and four touchdowns and rushed for 66 yards on 9 carries. Massey caught three passes for 118 yards and two touchdowns and just for good measure Christian Garcia caught 6 passes for another 103 yards giving Bloomfield three receivers with over 100 yards in receptions.
The Plainville defense had their moments coming up with four turnovers. Dom Chambrello and Tanner Callahan made interceptions with Ryan Barker and Ty Pales coming up with fumble recoveries, but it did little to generate any points on the board for the Blue Devils.
The offense stalled punting seven times, losing possession on downs once and turning it over four times, two interceptions and two lost fumbles. Collin was 5 of 16 passing for 63 yards and rushed 9 times for 43 yards. Mason Sarra pounded the rock 12 times for 23 yards.
The one thing coach Shea was quick to point out was that one game doesn’t define the season. Plainville did come into the contest at 3-0 armed with an offense that has been moving the chains led by Sarra (385 yards rushing, 5 TD’s) who ripped off 239 yards rushing in a win over Northwest Catholic.
Collin has shown he can get the job done in the pocket having passed for 12 of 23 for 168 yards and rushed for 259 yards and 4 touchdowns. Beau Lasher is another threat rushing for 169 yards and 4 touchdowns.
The defense came in having allowed just 4 touchdowns through the first three games with Plainville holding a 98-28 advantage on the scoreboard. Nine turnovers (6 interceptions, 3 fumbles) have stopped opponents in their tracks.
But on a night when sheer speed and the inability to stop the Warhawks on third down, there was just no holding Bloomfield in their tracks.
The glass is still full for the Blue Devils and it will depend on how they respond to this last game. Do they put it behind them and move on or do they let it define the season. If coach Shea has anything to do with it this game will serve as a learning tool to move forward and take that next step.
The only two times Plainville has reached the state playoffs was in 2010 and 1997 and both squads started the season at 3-1. The road only gets steeper from here and if the Blue Devils are up for the challenge the sky is the limit.
Plainville is on a bye week this Friday and will be back on the gridiron next Friday at 3-1 Tolland.