By NED X. GRIFFEN
Two-platoon football isn't always what it's cracked up to be, but it's working nicely for Norwich Free Academy.
The Wildcats adapted a platoon system this season, and head coach Jemel Davis thought it played a role in last Friday's 39-14 win over Ledyard.
"Being able to go two platoon … you're not spending just one or two days (on it)," Wildcats coach Jemal Davis said. "You're spending three or four days if you have a long week to prepare.
"We've got some guys we feel are still developing, but they're developing in game atmosphere."
NFA (4-0) is the Eastern Connecticut Conference's only unbeaten team.
Ledyard was the ECC's preseason favorite as it returned its entire offensive line and senior quarterback John Rainey from last season's CIAC Class M runner-up. Its running game was going to be the focal point of its offense again.
NFA allowed the Colonels to rush for 97 yards on 39 attempts. It also spent most of the night pressuring or hitting Rainey. The senior completed 13 of 24 passes for 128 yards and a touchdown, but he threw an interception and was sacked three times.
Senior linemen Tyler Beauchesne and Tuzar Skipper and junior linebacker Calvin Green each had sack for NFA. Green also forced a fumble on his sack, which was recovered by senior co-captain Anthony Gomes (linebacker).
The concept of two platoons is appealing as it keeps players fresh and, theoretically, gives them advantage over teams with two-way players. It doesn't always work, however.
Southington, a Class LL school, used two-platoons during Jude Kelly's regime. The Blue Knights always put up points with its then unique passing offense, but often found themselves in shootouts against their top competitors.
Jack Cochran used two platoons when he began coaching at New Britain. He ditched it after a 2002 Class LL semifinal loss to Greenwich, feeling it was better to have his best athletes on the field as much as possible.
The Wildcats returned five defensive starters, and Davis said he's seeing their seeing gradual improvement.
"Anthony Gomes, he was a starter for us last year," Davis said. "Zach Verley, we moved him from nose guard to tackle, and he's a much better player. That's his (natural) position. Steve Makowicki is now playing inside linebacker compared to playing outside linebacker.
"Having guys that are familiar with what we're doing is really helping those young guys come along, and I really felt today that those young guys stepped up. We have a freshman playing nose, J'Von Brown. There's a guy that's learning on the run."
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STORY TIME for YOU:
Brian and Kyle, The NVL Blog: Week 4 Wrap, and Week 5 Predictions
Kyle Brennan, Waterbury Republican-American: Apple Valley Classic teams surging, and, NVL: A muddled mess
Bryant Carpenter, Meriden Record-Journal: Tuesday Morning QB: Wallingford teams decimated by injuries
Ray Curren, Milford-Orange Bulletin: Inside the SCC football, North Haven passes test with big win over New London, and SCC power rankings
Mark Jaffee, Waterbury Republican-American: Lots on offense in NVL
Pooch Diggity Dogg, New Haven Register: Football notebook: Platt Tech off to 3-0 start for first time
Gary Rogo, Hearst Inc.: That's a Wrap: Week 4
Dave Ruden, Hearst Inc.: FCIAC football rewind, Trinity's goal is December football
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DeAngelo Berry ran 17 times for 207 yards and five touchdowns to pace top-ranked Xavier of Middetown to a 49-6 win over Hamden Friday. Xavier also had five sacks in its 30th-straight win. … Frank Bacarella ran 14 times for 132 yard and four touchdowns Friday as No. 6 Masuk of Monroe blitzed Bunnell of Stratford, 63-14. … No. 8 Greenwich scored six times, had six sacks, a blocked punt and a fumble recovery in the first half of Friday's 62-31 beating of Trumbull. Alex McMurray ran 15 times for 145 yards and four touchdowns for the Cardinals (3-0), and Jose Melo threw for 205 yards and two scores.
Mitch Williams completed 8 of 11 passes for 118 yards and three touchdowns and Justin Gombotz ran for 81 yards and three scores as No. 10 Berlin routed Weaver of Hartford Saturday, 47-0. … Mick Pernell scored five times in the first 16 minutes of Thursday's 55-12 win over Sacred Heart of Waterbury. Pernell ran seven times for 158 yards, including his five touchdowns. Naugatuck scored seven first-half touchdowns on 13 plays in four minutes, 10 seconds, according to Kyle Brennan of the Waterbury Republican American. … Bristol Eastern allowed just six yards in Friday's 19-0 win over E.O. Smith of Storrs.
Tyler Burrow scored on two 85-yard kick returns and ran for 199 yards and three touchdowns to pace Bristol Central to Friday's 42-14 win over Fermi of Enfield. … Jake Kasuba completed 15 of 18 passes for 248 yards and ran for 81 yards and a score as Foran of Milford blitzed East Haven Friday, 45-8. … Dan Herbert had three catches for 100 yards and two scores and threw a 30-yard touchdown as Newtown routed Brookfield Friday, 35-7. Drew Tarantino also completed 10 of 16 passes for 213 yards and four first-half touchdowns.
Angelo Genovesi scored on runs of 50 and 3 yards, threw a 60-touchdown and blocked a punt to lead Platt Tech of Milford past Whitney Tech of Hamden Friday, 53-8. … Barlow of Redding's Jack Shaban ran for 170 yards and four touchdowns in Friday's 40-6 win over Stratford. The Falcons ran for 381 yards. … Bullard-Havens of Bridgeport had three 100-yard rushers in Friday's 48-12 win over Cheney Tech of Manchester. John Shannon ran for 140 yards and five touchdowns, Jacqua Solomon ran for 176 yards and a touchdown, and Equan Brooks added 149 yards rushing and a touchdown.
Conor McGuinness' 20-yard field goal with 4.8 seconds left gave Fairfield Warde a controversial 29-28 win over Bassick of Bridgeport Friday. There were 11.2 seconds left when Warde quarterback Max Garrett ran for a five-yard gain … and the clock never started. Garrett spiked the ball on the next play with 10.3 seconds remaining, but the officials then put seven seconds on the clock. The teams also fought after the game.
Derby's Mike Krieger threw for 222 yards and three touchdowns in a 53-14 win over Wilby of Waterbury. Dillon McMahon added six catches for 132 yards and two scores. … Ridgefield reserve Ryan Dunn shined during Friday's 49-14 romp over Wilton. Dunn completed 15 of 16 passes for 201 yards and two touchdowns. He got the start after Connor Rowe was suspended two weeks for an off-field incident. Sam Gravitte also scored on two runs and one catch. … New Canaan's Nick Cascione ran 14 times for 108 yards and three touchdowns and completed 12 of 18 passes for 93 yards and two scores in Friday's 38-14 win over McMahon of Norwalk. The Rams prevailed even after coach Lou Marinelli suspended 10 players, six of which were starters, for violating team rules.
Kenny Jones ran nine times for 194 yards and two touchdowns and threw for another as Farmington downed RHAM of Hebron Friday, 39-12. … Kyle Wing ran 25 times for 288 yards and three touchdowns as the Coventry/Windham Tech/Bolton co-op beat Stafford Friday, 52-22. … Isaiah Thompkins scored Middletown's first three touchdowns in Friday's 41-7 win over Wethersfield. He ran seven times for 60 yards and three touchdowns.
Eric Ryan ran for 161 yards and two touchdowns and scored on an 18-yard interception return as Newington won its first game of the season Friday, 42-26, over East Hartford. … Andre Anderson ran for 135 yards and a touchdown, had eight tackles and an interception as Hillhouse of New Haven blanked Law of Milford Friday, 47-0. … Plainfield's defense allowed North Providence just five first downs Friday in its 28-8 win.
Cheshire's Vin Sansone completed 5 of 11 passes for 77 yards and three touchdowns and ran 15 times for 76 yards and two scores in Friday's 48-13 win over Notre Dame of West Haven. … K'Vone West ran 23 times for 187 yards and three touchdowns as Maloney of Meriden downed Bulkeley of Hartford Friday, 50-14. … John Lippincott ran eight times for 74 yards and three touchdowns and completed 6 of 10 passes for 157 yards and two scores as Gilbert/Northwestern Regional blanked Hartford Sports Sciences & Medical/University Friday, 35-0.
Tanner Kingsley threw five touchdowns for Woodland of Beacon Falls as it bounced Kennedy of Waterbury Friday, 47-0. … Matt Cyr had three catches for 99 yards and three touchdowns as Wolcott handed Seymour its first loss Friday, 48-19. … Dan Silvestri had three interceptions Saturday as Fairfield Ludlowe beat Harding of Bridgeport, 35-0, snapping its 14-game losing streak. … D.J. Byers scored on a 15-yard fumble recovery and 8-yard interception return as Hall of West Hartford beat New Britain last Saturday, 23-8.
Vaya con dios....