Waterford — Duane Maranda cannot reiterate enough the importance of rhythm, flow and tempo to his offense. And this game, for whatever reason, had none of it.
But if the regular season accomplishes nothing else, it exposes varying circumstances, like nights when things don't always happen like they're drawn up during the week.
So while New London High School's 38-14 win over Waterford on Friday night wasn't particularly memorable, the Whalers learned something about themselves: They can be resourceful.
"I would never had guessed they'd play man/press (man-to-man defense on New London's receivers) and we practiced against something different," Maranda said. "It took some time for us to adjust. Give Waterford credit. We thought maybe a more traditional Cover Two (zone). But they blitzed on every play, daring us to throw."
New London quarterback Ackee Barber spent ample time on his rear end early in the game. But a tweak here and there to the offens eventually produced five touchdown passes: two to Jose Garcia (53 and 65 yards) and three to Caleb Camacho (30, 15, 27).
"Once we got it together," Barber said succinctly, "we got it together."
Orin Parke ran for 106 yards, including gains of 70 and 41 yards.
The Whalers (4-1) suffered their first loss last week to North Haven, prompting assistant coach Tommie Major's pregame speech to include the line, "it's time to get the evil out of us."
New London's defense did that as well, led by Lamont Waites, Leo Clinton and Ahmond Gomez, who had an interception.
"It was a bounce back week," Barber said. "No fooling around at practice."
Waterford (1-4) trailed 25-0 late in the first half when quarterback Seth Hoagland hit Deion Pittman with a 30-yard touchdown pass on the half's final play.
Waterford couldn't ride the momentum into the second half, however.
New London scored a little more than two minutes into the third period when Camacho caught his second touchdown pass of the game.
Hoagland also hit Kyle Willoughby with a touchdown pass late in the game.
"The kids reacted pretty well (to the loss)," Maranda said. "It was a wakeup call. We have to prepare every single week. There's a tradition of winning here. The kids didn't take well to losing."