BRISTOL >> Torrington (0-3) and St. Paul (2-1) aired out their offenses Saturday afternoon in a 52-37 St. Paul win at home.
“We played a lot better than last week,” said Red Raider first-year coach Gaitan Rodriguez, whose first goal is continued improvement from a young team with just three seniors.
“Keep coming to practice and doing the right thing. We’ll put 48 minutes of good football together; then we’ll win,” he told them after the Raiders stayed close in the first half (28-21) for the second week in a row.
Sophomore quarterback Connor Finn (16-for-30/238 yds/Int) threw up four touchdown passes – three to Desmond Langs (11-for-182 yds) and one to Nate Bresson (4-for-43 yds). Sophomore Tyler Marens (16-for-85 yds) added another on the ground.
Still, the Raiders faced a Falcon quarterback, Winsted’s Logan Marchi, who’s headed for UConn next year, plus a rejuvenated Falcon running game.
Marchi (21-for-31/394 yds) matched Finn’s four touchdowns. Junior running back Eli Parks (24-for-129 yds) added three touchdowns on the ground. Marchi himself added another 115 yards on the ground.
In the midst of offensive bonanzas, both coaches looked for improvement by their defenses.
“At crucial moments, we just couldn’t get it, or we’d turn it over,” said Torrington’s Rodriguez.
“We made some clutch stops. It’s hard to believe they scored 37 points,” said St. Paul’s Jude Kelly, celebrating his 40th year as a Connecticut high school coach. “They made some big plays.”
They did indeed.
St. Paul scored first, on a six-year run by Parks.
“Eli has been an emphasis for us,” said Kelly. “We’re trying to get our offensive line better coordinated with our runners.”
Then Finn hit Langs down the right sideline for a 60-yard touchdown.
P.J. Kilmartin’s point-after (5-for-5 on the day) gave Torrington its only lead, 7-6.
“Connor played great,” said Rodriguez. “He really connected with Desmond.”
Marchi, feeling sick all day, was back with a 39-yard pass to Reid Morin.
The shoot-out was on.
Marchi connected with Daija Fitzpatrick for the two-point conversion.
Marens ran it in from five yards for the equalizer with Kilmartin’s kick, 14-14, at the end of the first quarter.
Each coach admired his opponent.
“That’s a great offense,” said Rodriguez. They have a Division I coach and great receivers.”
“Torrington played well,” said Kelly. “Coach Rodriguez is a class act and they’re doing the right things. He’s a keeper.”
The offenses kept making the coaches look good.
Marchi hit Austin Marin for the first of Marin’s two touchdowns, 61 yards down the field, then 48.
“We like to dink and dunk and get the percentages up,” said Marchi. “The deep ball will come.”
Torrington’s Nate Bresson kept the Raiders in it, 28-21 on a Finn pass for 13 yards just before the half.
Torrington’s defense started the second half with its finest moment. Sophomore Nate Manchester pinned the Falcons at their own eight-yard line with a a punt out of bounds. Then a Falcon penalty forced a safety, 28-23.
St. Paul’s Parks was back on the ground to pull the Falcons away again.
“It’s great to be able to count on him when we have third and two, or second and three,” said Marchi.
Parks got another three-yard touchdwon to start the final period.
Finn and Langs connected long again, for a 36-yard score, 44-30.
Then Marchi dinked three yards to Brendan Carroll for St. Paul’s final score.
Finn and Langs had one more in them – a final seven-yard pass play, with 1:16 left on the clock.
Rodriguez counts by games, not minutes.
“The good news is, we play again next week (Friday against 2-1 Wolcott),” he told his players. “We have three home games in a row coming up.”
St. Paul takes on 0-3 Kennedy Saturday at Municipal Stadium.
St. Paul Catholic 52, Torrington 37
At St. Paul Catholic High School
Torrington 14 7 2 14-37
St. Paul 14 14 8 16-52
SP-Eli Parks, 6-yard run; conversion failed
T-Desmond Langs, 60-yard pass from Connor Finn; P.J. Kilmartin kick
SP-Reid Morin, 39-yard pass from Logan Marchi; Daija Fitzpatrick conversion, pass from Marchi
T-Tyler Marens, 5-yard run; Kilmartin kick
SP-Austin Morin, 61-yard pass from Marchi; conversion failed
SP-A. Morin, 48-yard pass from Marchi; Parks conversion, pass from Marchi
T-Nate Bresson, 13-yard pass from Finn; Kilmartin kick
SP-Parks, 2-yard run; Marchi conversion, run
SP-Parks, 3-yard run; Morin conversion, pass from Marchi
T-Langs, 36-yard pass from Finn; Kilmartin kick
SP-Brendan Carroll, 3-yard pass from Marchi; Parks conversion, pass from Marchi
T-Langs, 7-yard pass from Finn; Kilmartin kick
Rushing: T-Connor Finn 1-for-6 yds; Tyler Marens 16-for-85 yds/TD; Dom Phengkaen 2-for-11 yds. SP-Logan Marchi 9-for-115 yds; Eli Parks 24-for-129 yds/3 TDs.
Passing: T-Finn 16-for-30/238 yds/Int/4 TDs. SP-Marchi 21-for-31/394 yds/Int/4 TDs.
Receiving: T-Nate Bresson 4-for-43 yds/TD; Marens 1-for-13 yds/TD; Desmond Langs 11-for-182 yds/3 TDs. SP-Dan Cinnante 1-for-13 yds; Reid Morin 2-for-74 yds/TD; Austin Morin 4-for-200 yds/2 TDs; Deija Fitzpatrick 5-for-42 yds; Parks 3-for-34; Brendan Carroll 3-for-31/TD.
Records: Torrington 0-3; St. Paul Catholic 2-1.